The line between student and teacher relationships online - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/25/10

The line between student and teacher relationships online

Posted:
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

By Tiffany Pelt - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – With social networks continuing to grow some local school districts are creating policies to limit teacher and student relationships online and outside of the class room.

Frenship ISD is one of the latest to ban teachers from becoming friends with students on their personal social networks like Facebook or Myspace. "We frown upon it. Even though it's outside of school they still represent our school district, so we implemented that policy to remind them they are accountable and responsible for their actions on social media," FISD public relations director Andy Penney said.

There are exceptions to the new policies created a few months ago. If teachers wish to use sites like Twitter or Facebook for educational purposes they have to create a "professional" page outside of their personal one and it can only be used to supplement their teaching.

"In some educational stand points we're trying to use that as an instructional tool because now social media is kind of the norm," Penney said "It can be a great instructional tool for certain lessons that teachers might want to interact with their students".

Lubbock ISD and Lubbock Cooper ISD have also implemented new policies discouraging teacher and student relationships on social sites, put in place to protect both the students and school employees.

This hot topic has also caused quite the stir on KCBD Newschannel 11's own Facebook page.  In less than an hour more than 50 viewers left comments debating where the line should be drawn between students and teachers.

One viewer left this comment, "It could lead to very poor decisions for students or even worse teachers being accused of sexual problems. There are boundaries that should not be crossed, this being one of them".

While others disagree like this viewer, "it's a new era and social networking is today's way of communication. It's a great way for teachers and students to talk about school and life in general outside the professional setting of a school".

One thing is for sure; as social media continues to grow more schools will be putting stricter limitations on how teachers and students can interact over the internet.

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