I just came across a fascinating article reporting that New York City's Department of Education has published new social media guidelines for its faculty in an effort to retain proper boundaries between professional and social interactions with their students, or as phrased by the DOE,

"In recognition of the public and pervasive nature of social media communications, as well as the fact that in this digital era, the lines between professional and personal endeavors aresometimes blurred, these Guidelines also address recommended practices for use of personal social media by DOE staff."

In essence, while allowing DOE staff to interact with students using professional social media, the interaction on a personal level, e.g., becoming "Facebook friends," is prohibited.

Although the author of the article suggests that teachers fight these guidelines, I must respectfully disagree; I have to commend the DOE for not only doing the responsible thing, but making allowances within their guidelines for using social media on a professional level - which can be monitored by the school, to use these media for useful, educational purposes.

Quite frankly, in light of the numerous stories in the news documenting inappropriate contact between educators and their students, doing anything less might be deemed negligence.
Jonathan Cooper
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Non-Compete, Trade Secret and School Negligence Lawyer
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