What's the Limit? Teachers and Social Media

By: Bryan Anderson Email
By: Bryan Anderson Email

School Board Chairman Jerry Register has been a part of Bay County's education community for years, and never has he had to consider a policy provision like he will on January 8th. At that meeting, the board plans to discuss school district employees' relationships with students.

"I always have felt like teachers are beyond reproach. They set the example," said Register.

Register told NewsChannel 7 it's unfortunate cases like former Bozeman teacher William Crews who's in prison for allegedly molesting his students that've forced the district to crack down.

District officials also want to add specific restrictions preventing school district employees from having relationships with certain co-workers or their bosses. Back in 2011, again involving Bozeman, former school principal Bill Payne ended up resigning amid an investigation into an alleged inappropriate relationship with another administrator.

"We have just a few folks who have stepped out of line, and we have to get them back in line," Register said.

And it's not just physical relationships but online ones as well. Included in the provisions is wording that discourages employees from friending or following students on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets. It also warns district employees they will be held responsible for anything inappropriate they post on the internet, public or private. And if you think the district's not serious? It said violators could be fired and face criminal charges.

"We have to make sure that the professional and the personal agendas are separated. We're not trying to tell people what to do, but they have to make sure that what they do is they're not infringing upon other employees or students," said Register.


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