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e-Safety Thread, social networking policy for staff... any ideas...? in School Administration; Being sent on a course next week "Social Networking for schools and staff" and I'm in two minds about this ...
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    DocHouse's Avatar
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    social networking policy for staff... any ideas...?

    Being sent on a course next week "Social Networking for schools and staff" and I'm in two minds about this as I can see a valid case for both sides:

    1. Schools want to protect their image, students and reputation same as any large organisation would and I agree this makes sense.
    2. Teachers and employees have a right to a life outside of school and the employee should not be dictating how employees conduct their private lives the gtc used to really get on my nerves with regular emails dictating how teachers should live their private lives.

    So the problem as I see it is how do I write a policy that doesn't dictate to staff what they can and can't do outside of school but also keeps the slt happy and protects the image of the school? Also in the event of a incident occurring who is responsible for policing it?

    My original thoughts where to show staff how to use Facebook, twitter, etc appropriately (private profiles, not making friends with parents / students, reminding that profiles are often public and images can be accessed, manipulated and used maliciously one y6 boy got an image of an SLT member a few years ago at a christmas do that still gets bought up when we do esafety training :-) .

    Beyond that I'm concerned that I'm going beyond the remit of my job and the role of the school...

    Help...!

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    I think you have summed it up pretty well, it's very similar to what I did when I had to outline to staff the dangers of "friending" pupils/parents. I did also point out that they should be very careful about what they write about the school on Facebook/Twitter etc., just because you had a crappy day, you shouldn't broadcast it and certainly not name names. I also pointed out the private sectors approach about bringing a business into disrepute and that schools are a workplace and should not be treated any different.

    To illustrate how misconstrued the Internet can be I even set a few teachers up on on of the ratemyteacher websites to which they felt pretty smug about how students felt about them until I pointed out that I had written the reviews!

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    A question...Staff Member A is related to Pupil B...Pupil B sends friend request to Staff Member A...what do you do in this instance?

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    DrCheese's Avatar
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    Do it? My sister was a student at the school I worked at, I was hardly going to not friend my sister on FB for "protection". How on earth could you get into trouble over that?
    It's different if you start friending their friends of course.

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    The answer from FB to folk at eSafety Live was that this is what friends lists are for ... to separate out the different parts of your life so that they only overlap where you want them to. The alternative that a number of others use is to have 2 separate accounts and to try to keep things segregated that way instead (which FB don't like as they want to know *everything* about you ... work, home, education, what you had for breakfast, etc).

    Personally (and outside of the day job) I advise folk to carefully think how they will keep sections of their life separate (if they want to) and explain some of the consequences to themselves, their employers, their professional reputation and also their family / friends if things don't go well.

    The UK Safer Internet Centre do have some resources around this and should be available on the eSafety Resources sticky in the eSafety forum.

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    DocHouse (20th May 2012)

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    witch's Avatar
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    Ask elsiegee40 - she has a brilliant document that goes into the settings on facebook in great detail and it also gives reasons that will make sense to the teaching staff

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    I'm coming late to this, sorry. There was the small matter of Luton Town v York City to watch in the Conference play off final and an 'as it happens' account to send over to the Luton fan on a train in India. (Luton lost )

    Teachers and other school staff, just like everyone outside the school environment, need to protect their professional reputation. It's in their own interests if they wish to continue to be paid.

    Back in the old days, this meant not talking too loudly down the pub... and not getting caught doing something unspeakable in town on a Saturday night and getting your name on the front page of the local rag on the following Friday.

    Today, a reputation can be ruined in minutes. All it takes is photo posted on facebook or twitter, or posting something inappropriate, or an accusation of inappropriate behaviour with a minor. The alleged misconduct does not even have to be accurate... it's very hard to undo it and restore the damage. A life ruined in seconds.

    You'll notice that I've put this all from the point of view of the employee, not their employer or the children they're responsible for. This is because it is probably the single biggest reason for anyone to do what they can minimise the risks of what they do or say being used against them.

    Unfortunately many people are simply not aware how easily what they do or say can become public knowledge. This where training comes in.

    It's all very well for schools to have a Code of Conduct stating the obvious:
    - thou wilt not do anything that might bring the school, its employees, students or anyone else associated with the school into disrepute
    - thou wilt not be friends with any current or former student under the age of 18 on social networking, gaming sites or similar
    - thou wilt have appropriate privacy settings on the internet
    - thou wilt think before thou post
    - thou wilt restrict friendship with parents to those who are your closest friends

    However, the school must also take responsibility for ensuring that everyone understands why these rules are there... and what the staff can do to help themselves.

    At my school, every member of staff receives this training as part of their induction... and where there's a grey area it is discussed and possible solutions to reduce risk are discussed. (for example a teacher who has children who are pupils in the school, or a member of staff who is friends outside the school with a student and their family)

    EDIT
    Social networking is covered in both our AUP and our Code of Conduct. We don't have a specific policy for social networking.
    Last edited by elsiegee40; 20th May 2012 at 06:43 PM.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    A question...Staff Member A is related to Pupil B...Pupil B sends friend request to Staff Member A...what do you do in this instance?
    I know what you mean. There is a student starting at my school soon. I have known him for years, i was at his christening. He is also a relative of my girlfriend and good friends with my younger brother. He isnt on my facebook yet but not to sure what will happen in the feature.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FN-GM View Post
    I know what you mean. There is a student starting at my school soon. I have known him for years, i was at his christening. He is also a close relative of my girlfriend and good friends with my younger brother. He isnt on my facebook yet but not to sure what will happen in the feature.
    It's not your friend you need to be wary of... it's his friends. Make sure your settings are very tight and that his friends definitely don't get to see what you've posted.

    That said, they could read over his shoulder, so it's probably safer to say 'sorry, but No'... or have two accounts (one for family and people like him and one for your mates)
    Last edited by elsiegee40; 20th May 2012 at 08:04 PM. Reason: apostrophe abuse! gah!

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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    It's not your friend you need to be wary of... it's his friends. Make sure you're settings are very tight and that his friends definitely don't get to see what you've posted.

    That said, they could read over his shoulder, so it's probably safer to say 'sorry, but No'... or have two accounts (one for family and people like him and one for your mates)
    My settings are pretty tight at the moment, no friends of friends can see stuff. I have managed to lock it down so its hard to find me on there, although many times this has made it hard for people i actually want on there! ha ha

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    Ah i may see you there or i may go to the one in June.

    I've just had to put a Social Networking policy together as we have had an incident recently that wasn't really showing us in a positive light. I didn't dictate what they could and couldn't do and made sure that they understood we weren't saying they couldn't use it. It was to make them aware of what they were saying in public and to be careful.

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    Give me a wave if your there in may, I'm in hospital in June so this was the only one I could go to

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    The key is to frame the policy in the right way. I recall a quote somewhere along the lines of "don't write policy to stop people doing their job, write policy to stop people LOSING their job." I go to great lengths to point out that the policies we have are there to protect staff and their professional reputations.

    No-one is going to get fired just for not following the policy (for example, we won't tell staff not to have relatives on their friends list), but if they royally f*** up and it was BECAUSE they didn't follow the policy, then it's their backside on the line. Basically, treat it like the Highway Code, which has this in the introduction:

    Failure to comply with the other rules of the Code will not, in itself, cause a person to be prosecuted. The Highway Code may be used in evidence in any court proceedings under the Traffic Acts (see 'The road user and the law') to establish liability. This includes rules which use advisory wording such as ‘should/should not’ or ‘do/do not’.

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    Follow three stringent procedures:
    NEVER add current work collegues regardless of you being in education or not.
    NEVER add anyone under the age of 18 under any circumstances (family or not).
    KEEP ALL your privacy settings to friends only.

    There is just something wrong and creepy about having children as friends on facebook. A complete no no for me. My lad who is 11 keeps banging on about it just because all his friends have one, I have put my foot down and told him he can have one at 13 and will be monitored, but I will delete his friends requests for any social networking until he's 18 (which I think is the age that should be the minimum).

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    We have recently been sent a policy about social networking from our LA. It is several pages long, but the general summary accounts to the following points:

    1) Don't write about anyting to do with activites at work or work colleagues' activities at work on social networking sites. This includes identifying yourself as a representative of the school, mentioning the school by name, and anything that could be taken as unfavourable about the school. (ie it's fine to write "Eurgh, today was a long day" but it's not fine to write "Eurgh, today was a long day, my class kept playing me up all day" or "Eurgh, today was a long day, had [member of staff] viewing my lessons")

    2) Don't add pupils or parents as friends; ex-pupils have to be 19 before you can add them (them being out of compulsary education for 3 years is the limit)

    3) Don't assume that anything you post is private; even with strict 'friends only' security on your account, a 'friend' could show anyone else anything by logging into their account, screengrabbing, reading over shoulder etc.

    4) If you post a picture of anyone [adults] from work, it must a) not show them in an unfavourable light (ie drunk off their a$$, that a parent might not thnk is acceptable for someone teaching their child) and b) you must have permission from EVERYONE in that photo before you post it (and that is for EVERY photo you post)

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