School ICT Policies Thread, AUP Social networking sites in School Administration; Has anyone included facebook, bebo advice/restrictions in both staff and pupil AUPs? We've had a few pupils (with false ages) ...
18th May 2009, 12:04 PM #1
AUP Social networking sites
Has anyone included facebook, bebo advice/restrictions in both staff and pupil AUPs? We've had a few pupils (with false ages) asking to be friends with staff, the head is now wondering if we should be advising staff on use of social networking sites which could lead to 'difficulties' with pupils and/or parents?
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18th May 2009, 12:07 PM #2
If people are using these inside of school then yes, i'd most certainly include something. Outside of school it's really not your 'problem'.
18th May 2009, 12:12 PM #3
No it's worse than that. IANAL but if you, a public institution, attempt to 'control' what people do out of school in this fashion IMHO you will fall foul the Human Rights Act, in particular the section on 'Freedom of Expression'.
Originally Posted by DevilsAdvocate
18th May 2009, 12:14 PM #4
Lancsngfl block them all and I would advice you to do the same. If you are advicing staff on how to use them at home on school equipment this would be placed in the AUP. If its not on the school equipment it can only be given as advice as you have no control over personal home use.
18th May 2009, 12:45 PM #5
SWGfL block them all as well - when you ask!
I would advise the same.
Staff should certainly be advised about use of these sites but as has been said, you can't control their home use.
If they are accessing these sites on school equipment then I suppose there could be a case for something in the AUP, but I would have thought it was something that the head needs to talk to the staff about and that perhaps should be in a staff handbook or contract or something.
18th May 2009, 03:59 PM #6
We do not address their use in our AUPs but we do have very clear guidance for staff in our Staff Code of Conduct, which is based on County guidance.
- The section on 'Social Contact' states that staff should never give out personal details such as home or mobile phone numbers or private email addresses. Given that this is the sort of info on Facebook, etc, that should make it clear that staff should not be interacting with students in this way.
- Just in case our staff don't have their brains engaged, we then state again under our Internet use section that staff should specifically never allow students to access staff personal information on social networking or similar sites.
Arguments about not being able to tell people what to do outside of school don't wash with me. Teachers and other school workers are already governed by strict rules (and in some cases hard laws) that set them apart from a non-school worker. The most obvious example of this is that school workers are not permitted to have personal relationships with students, and I challenge you to find me an employment tribunal (or jury) who thinks that rule doesn't extend outside the school grounds.
In practical terms, I highlight this guidance in our new staff IT inductions, and point out that in the eyes of the law, we are considered to be in a "position of trust", and as such, all contact with students is considered in terms of that trusted, professional, relationship. Basically, the student is not your friend. They are your student, and you should act as a professional. I also point out that this guidance is for their protection, not just because I feel like being a hardass. They can ignore it if they want but it's them who will be worse off when there's an allegation of professional misconduct by a parent.
As for fake staff profiles created by students, the approach we take is to educate staff on how to spot them. I recommend not accepting an invite from a member of staff until you've checked with them in person that the invite is genuine. I also recommend not accepting on the basis that 5 other members of staff already have, since those 5 could well be idiots. I also teach staff how to ensure their profile privacy is set to 'Friends only' on everything (including photo albums, which always default to Public).
My school is also unusual in that we don't block access to social networking sites. Our rationale is that they will be using them at home anyway and we would rather be able to monitor it and educate than pretend that it's not our problem. We have caught several instances of out-of-school cyber-bullying when the bullies made the mistake of accessing the sites in school. We would not have been able to catch those people if we blocked the sites, and that was enough to convince our SLT to leave them accessible.
Last edited by AngryTechnician; 18th May 2009 at 04:04 PM.
2 Thanks to AngryTechnician:
chrbb (18th May 2009), GrumbleDook (15th June 2009)
18th May 2009, 05:47 PM #7
- Rep Power
In our AUP for both students and staff there's mention of not using the network for personal use - including social networking.
Outside the school, we don't say/advise anything re: social networks - I think SMT said something along the lines of "don't be friends with current students on them" though this doesn't stop at least one management member being friends with a few students.
18th May 2009, 06:19 PM #8
In our school, we've just had a memo with regards to contacting pupils out of work time and it's simply a warning so that staff understand. As has been mentioned, if it's school equipment then you can lock it down, and I think most places do lock down social networking sites now (I know lancsngfl do as someone else mentioned).
Outside of the school time/equipment, all you can do it offer best practice advise to the staff and hope they follow it. So, as again has already been mentioned, advise on spotting fake profiles, not adding other staff until you've checked with them in person that they have added you, etc.
It's a tough one, but it's better to offer advise to them and then should a problem arise you're job is a lot easier in the fact you can say, well we warned you then it's on their heads. It's a bit harsh, but you don't want to be the first school to try out a new legal case should it get that far! lol
18th May 2009, 06:29 PM #9
Thanks everyone I found some good info on Kent's ngfl site. I think our AUP will contain a carefully paragraph of 'advice'. We're also going to advise staff on security settings for their facebook site, all staff are quite happy for this.
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