Teachers + MySpace = Bad Idea?

Maybe...The Boston Globe reported that one local school district is at least drafting a policy advising against inappropriate conduct or communication via social networking sites.

Maybe...The Boston Globe reported that one local school district is at least drafting a policy advising against inappropriate conduct or communication via social networking sites.  While this is hardly earth-shattering, the head of one Boston-area teacher's union said:

"We just want to make teachers aware that when they post something on a public domain the world can see it...Whether it's on their personal or private time, it won't stay private for very long."

This represents a shift in approaches to communicating with students as more young teachers who have used IM, SMS, and social networking for much of their adult and teenage lives bring this technology to the classroom.  Most acknowledge that this shift is not bad in and of itself, but brings with it a new set of potential liabilities.  

Quoted in the article, Paul Toner, vice president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association,

"...cautions teachers to be aware of their role in the community because people can misinterpret the actions they take online. He noted that the line between a teacher's public and private life is often unclear."

What is also unclear is how this plays into recent court decisions requiring greater degrees of accountability for electronic communications involving staff at public schools. 

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