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Internet Issues

The world is not the same as when many of us started teaching.   Today everyone can write, photograph, or video anything about anyone and publish it electronically for the whole world to see. The trend of increasing scrutiny from politicians, licensure boards, and the community, combined with the ubiquity of online networking opportunities, both social and professional for teachers, can lead to very useful connections or disaster depending on how you and those you “friend” behave.  It is important for us to be aware of the hazards and protect our digital and professional profile. Here are a few suggestions to help keep you out of trouble:

1) If you use social networking sites, don’t use it with your students.  There needs to be some professional distance between teachers and students, this is the first place to start.  This is similar to “don’t transport students in your vehicle” for the computer.  When you do either of these things, you open up yourself to risks that could lead to losing your license to teach.  (It does not make a lot of sense to "friend" administrators either)

2)  Make your social network sites private.  Every site has settings that control the privacy of your site.  You do not want to have a site that is wide open.  Some districts have gone as far as prohibiting teachers from having these sites.  Even though our district does not appear to be interested in this approach that seemingly violates 1st amendment rights, our Union believes that it makes sense to be prudent about our online activities.

3)   Don’t put something in an email or post online unless you want everyone in the world to be able to read it.  Once on the internet it is impossible to take it back.  This is especially true if you use district email – which is subject to public records laws.  You should only use your school email for work and have a separate email account for personal communications.

4)  Try to monitor what other people post about you.  If your old college buddy posts pictures of you doing something illegal when you were in college, it could haunt you now.  It is unlikely to lead to discipline, but could lead to some very uncomfortable fact-finding meetings.  You can’t control what other people post, but you can ask for them to be removed and print and disclaim in writing anything that is inaccurate or untrue.

Special thanks for media specialist Kathy Lawrence, for her help in putting this information together.

Listed below are a few good resources to read through if you want more information.

Ari Klein
CHTU President

updated 7.17

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