I caught this on Boots and Sabers, and thought it was a very interesting case study of the new millenium. It seems the West Bend School district is considering a new board policy on social networking. A key takeaway from the article:
If the policy is approved in West Bend, teachers will be prohibited from using personal social accounts to connect with students, which to some staff members seems extreme.
“What is the difference between Facebooking a student and running into them at a coffee shop?” said Jason Penterman, president of the West Bend Education Association, which represents the district’s teachers. “The reason this policy was adopted is because nationally some teachers made bad choices.”
Valley Elliehausen, administrator of human resources, noted that the limitation to social networking does not apply in cases when a staff members are parents connecting with students who are their children.
The question is how much influence does the school district have over the teachers personal life? It is one thing to ban it from the school computers and quite another to dictate what they do at home(although it was nice of them to allow the teachers to “friend” their own kids). Finally, if I am not mistaken, the West Bend School District was recently taken over by a new right wing board, how will that play in the picture.
My take on this is, teachers are professionals and can “friend” whoever they choose to “friend.” I do not think the school/board has any business telling them who to socialize with after hours or who they can talk to. It is none of their business what a teacher does when not in school. That being said, if the West Bend District recently elected a right wing board, I fully expect them to pass the strongest social networking policy that they can. The Republican nanny-staters in action.