- Union County Public Schools
- Board Policies App Example
5-22 - Social Media
5 - Chapter 5 - Instruction
5-22 Social Media
Revisions History: 09/05/2019; Approved 10/07/2014
Related Policies & Documents: 5-22 AG (a)
The Board recognizes the importance of incorporating current technology tools, including new methods of electronic communication, into the classroom to enhance student learning. It further recognizes the importance of employees, students, and parents engaging, learning, collaborating, and sharing in digital environments as part of 21st Century learning. The Board strives to ensure that electronic communication tools incorporated into the school curriculum are used responsibly and safely. As practicable, the Board will provide access to secure social media tools and approved technologies for use during instructional time and for school-sponsored activities in accordance with policy.
The Board is committed to ensuring that all stakeholders who utilize social media technology for professional purposes, including staff and students, do so in a safe and responsible manner.
a. Social Media. Social media is any form of online publication or presence that allows interactive communication, including, but not limited to, social networks, blogs, Internet websites, Internet forums, and wikis. Examples of social media include, but are not limited to, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and Flickr.b. Professional Social Media. Professional social media is a work-related and district established social media activity that is either District-wide, school-based or departmental.c. Personal Social Media. Personal social media use is a non-work-related social media activity.
2. Professional Social Media Use
a. Communication on a professional social media space should be handled in the same manner as communication in a classroom and/or workplace. The same standards expected in UCPS professional settings are expected on professional social media sites.b. Employees shall exercise caution, sound judgment, and common sense when using professional social media sites.c. Professional social media communication must be in compliance with existing UCPS policies and applicable laws, including, but not limited to, prohibitions on the disclosure of confidential information and prohibitions on the use of harassing, obscene, discriminatory, defamatory or threatening language.d. No personally identifiable student information may be posted by employees on professional social media sites.e. The Board reserves the right to direct the removal of postings and/or disable a page, of professional social media sites that do not adhere to the law or do not reasonably align with the goals of the district.f. Communication with students shall only occur through professional social media sites and shall follow these guidelines:
1. Professional social media sites that are school-based should be designed to address reasonable instructional, educational, or extra-curricular program matters;2. Each school year, schools will notify parents about the professional social media activities their children may participate in.3. Employees using professional social media have no expectation of privacy with regard to their use of such media. The district will regularly monitor professional social media sites to protect the school community.
3. Personal Social Media Use
The Board recognizes that some employees may choose to post personal information on the Internet through personal websites, blogs, chat rooms, uploading content, or by making comments on other websites or blogs. The Board values the employees’ creativity and honors the interest in engaging in these forms of personal expression on their own time, should they choose to do so. However, problems can arise when a person posting identifies or appears to be associated with the district, or when a person posting violates the rights of the district, or the rights of its employees.
a. Communication with UCPS Students
In order to maintain a professional and appropriate relationship with students, employees shall not communicate with students who are currently enrolled in schools on personal social media sites. UCPS employees’ communication with UCPS students via personal social media is subject to the following exceptions: (a) communication with relatives or friends and (b) if an emergency situation requires such communication, in which case the employee should notify his/her supervisor of the contact as soon as possible.
4. Any postings, on professional or personal social media sites, of the following nature are prohibited:
● Creates a harassing, demeaning, or hostile working environment for any employee.● Disrupts the smooth and orderly flow of work, or the delivery of services to the staff or students.● Harms the goodwill and reputation of staff, students or the community at large.● Erodes the public’s confidence in the district.● Involves any kind of criminal activity or harms the rights of others, may result in criminal prosecution or civil liability to those harmed, or both.
5. Social Media Use Policy Agreement
The Superintendent will ensure that staff receives a copy of this policy annually and that a Social Media Use Agreement is signed.
Legal References: U.S. Const. amend. I; Children’s Internet Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. 254(h)(5); Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. 2510-2522; Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. 1232g; 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq.; 20 U.S.C. 6777; G.S. 115C-325(e) (applicable to career status teachers), -325.4 (applicable to non-career status teachers); 16 N.C.A.C. 6C .0601, .0602; State Board of Education Policy EVAL-014
UNION COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION