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A model social media policy

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As an educator in Missouri, I was going to have to live under the thumb of SB54, now known as SB1, which Gov. Jay Nixon just signed into law. The new law eliminates the provisions that were offensive to so many teachers and First Amendment advocates in SB54, but still requires districts to enact some sort of policy by March 1, 2012 regarding employee-student communication.

So, at the urging of John Bowen, I have written a model social media policy for educators in our state. The text of it is below. I wrote this bill based off the following premise: that educators who fail to use social media as a teaching tool are not serving the best interests of their students or themselves.

Social media is so pervasive amongst our students that to ignore teaching students how to use it in forthright ways is tantamount to not properly doing our jobs as educators. Interacting via social media is a form of communication that should be governed just as any other communication an educator has with their students. Discussions in the classroom, after class, in a hallway or on Facebook, should be governed by the same rules, end of discussion.

Here is the policy. I’ve included a link to a Google Doc. If you find things you disagree with, let’s talk. If you have resources I don’t – and let’s face it, some of you do – then please share and add them to the doc. Social media moves so quickly; this Doc must continue to evolve with it.

If you believe this is a policy that would be useful in your school district, please feel free to share it with the powers that be in your district. I only ask two things if you do. First, please let me know you intend to do so (I’d like to keep a record of where this is going). Second, be passionate about the impact social media can have in our classrooms and upon our students. Don’t just offer it up to your principal. Persuade them to your point of view.

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