Personal Technology and Social Media; Usage and Conduct
Purpose of This Policy
The Board of Education recognizes that electronic communication, including communication via social networking sites, may be useful for parent/guardian/student/staff member communication regarding District matters. However, electronic communications also have the potential of creating a disruption in the school environment. This policy is intended to minimize that disruption and ensure that electronic communications between employees and students, between employees and parents/guardians, and between employees are appropriate and within the goals and policies of the District.
Includes –Means “includes without limitation” or “includes, but is not limited to.”
Social media – Media for social interaction, using highly accessible communication techniques through the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue. Examples includes Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Snapchat, Vine, Edmodo, Twitter, and YouTube.
Personal technology – Any device that is not owned or leased by the District or otherwise authorized for District use and: (1) transmits sounds, images, text, messages, videos, or electronic information, (2) electronically records, plays, or stores information, or (3) accesses the Internet, or private communication or information networks. This laptop computers (e.g. laptops, ultrabooks and chromebooks) tablets, (e.g., iPads®, Kindle®, Microsoft Surface®, and other Android® platform or Windows® devices), smartphones (e.g., iPhone®, BlackBerry®, Android® platform phones, and Windows Phone®), digital cameras, and other devices (e.g., iPod®).
Electronic Communication – For the purposes of this policy, forms of electronic communication include communication via telephone, text messaging, electronic mail, facsimile, instant messaging, blogs, and social networking sites.
Use of Electronic Communications for School-Related Matters
Employees who communicate electronically with students and parents/guardians about school-related matters must use District-approved or District-hosted electronic accounts and applications. This paragraph is not intended to prohibit a teacher (or other staff member) from using his/her personal telephone or mobile phone to speak with a parent/guardian after work hours if the parent/guardian is unavailable for a telephone conference during the teacher’s (or other staff member’s) work hours.
Use of Personal Technology
All District employees who bring personal technology to the workplace and/or who use personal technology and social media to communicate electronically with other employees, students, or parents/guardians shall:
- Adhere to the high standards for appropriate school relationships required by Policy 5:120, Ethics and Conduct at all times, regardless of the ever-changing social media and personal technology platforms available. This includes District employees posting images or private information about themselves or others in a manner readily accessible to students and other employees that is inappropriate as defined by Policy 5:20, Workplace Harassment Prohibited; 5:120, Ethics and Conduct; 6:235, Access to Electronic Networks; 7:20, Harassment of Students Prohibited; and the Illinois Code of Educator Ethics, 23 Ill.Admin.Code §22.20.
- Choose a District-provided or supported method whenever possible to communicate with students and their parents/guardians.
- Exercise the same discretion and high standards in communicating with former students and parents/guardians of former students that employees exercise with current students, parents/guardians, and employees.
- Report instances of abuse or neglect discovered through the use of social media or personal technology pursuant to a teacher’s obligations under the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act
- Use such communication in a manner that does not interfere with or disrupt the educational or working environment, or the delivery of education or educational support services.
- Not disclose student record information including student work, photographs of students, names of students or any other personally identifiable information about students via electronic communication or social media in compliance with Policy 5:130, Responsibilities Concerning Internal Information.
- Refrain from using the District’s logos without permission.
- Follow Board Policy 5:170, Copyright, and all District copyright compliance procedures.
- Use personal technology and social media for personal purposes only during non-work times or hours. Any duty-free use must occur during times and places that the use will not interfere with job duties or otherwise be disruptive to the school environment or its operation.
- Assume all risks associated with the use of personal technology and social media at school or school-sponsored activities, including students’ viewing of inappropriate Internet materials through the District employee’s personal technology or social media. The Board expressly disclaims any responsibility for imposing content filters, blocking lists, or monitoring of its employees’ personal technology and social media.
- Assume all risks associated with the use of electronic communications with students, parents/guardians, or other staff members that are not in compliance with this policy.
- Be subject to remedial and any other appropriate disciplinary action for violations of this policy ranging from prohibiting the employee from possessing or using any personal technology or social media at school to dismissal and/or indemnification of the District for any losses, costs, or damages, including reasonable attorney fees, incurred by the District relating to, or arising out of, any violation of this policy.
The Superintendent or designee shall:
- Inform District employees about this policy during an in-service on educator ethics, teacher-student conduct, and school employee-student conduct required by Board Policy 5:120, Ethics and Conduct.
- As necessary, develop guidelines for the use of electronic communications with students, parents/guardians, other staff members, and entities related to the District.
- Direct Building Principals to annually:
- Provide their building staff with a copy of this policy, obtain each employee’s signed acknowledgment that he/she read, understood, and agrees to comply with such policy, and maintain a copy of such acknowledgement in the employee’s personnel file.
- Inform their building staff about the importance of maintaining high standards in their school relationships.
- Remind their building staff that those who violate this policy will be subject to remedial and any other appropriate disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
- Build awareness of this policy with students, parents, and the community.
- Ensure that no one for the District, or on its behalf, requests of an employee or applicant access in any manner to his or her social networking website or requests passwords to such sites.
- Periodically review this policy and any procedures with District employee representatives and electronic network system administrator(s) and present proposed changes to the Board.
Adopted: September 29, 2014
Revised: May 23, 2016