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New Hanover School Board says teachers, students can't be 'Friends'

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Teachers in New Hanover County will no longer be able to "friend" their students on Facebook. The school board voted to add this policy to the district's Code of Ethics.

According the New Hanover County School Board, Facebook and other social media outlets can be an easy way for teachers to cross the line of a professional relationship with students.

According to the New Hanover County School Board's amended Code of Ethics approved Tuesday night: "Though such sites are becoming engrained in the social fabric of our society, the board believes few reasons exist for teachers, school administrators and all other employees to communicate with students on personally administered pages of social networking sites."

Some students we spoke with think the policy is a good idea, but one parent we spoke with disagrees.

Connie Lee Cummings has a son at Myrtle Grove Middle School. She says Facebook is a great tool for her son, who has Asperger's, to keep in touch with his teachers outside of school.

"They make sure he's on top of what he's reading, and they do it through Facebook to make sure and communicate with him so he knows how to make sure everything is done when he needs to have it done," Cummings said.

Teachers are also not allowed to get in touch with students through other social media outlets like Myspace and Google+. However, teachers can request an exemption to the rule from their principal, which would be handled on a case by case basis.

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I've also heard that this

I've also heard that this policy is supposed to somehow prevent bullying-I don't understand that. I have yet to hear a report of teachers bullying students via facebook. If anything, I would think teachers would see students using facebook to bully each other and hopefully be able to intervene before the situation became too serious.

What about students from

What about students from previous years? Can students "friend" a teacher they've had in the past? Where is the cutoff-can you friend request a teacher you had last year, five years ago, ten? They need to be specific about this rule, and from what I've read online, this is not addressed. Also, what about other staff members-librarians, coaches, substitute teachers?

Other issues arise when you realize how many students know their teachers/staff members for other reasons. What if their best friend's mom happens to be their science teacher? It happens pretty frequently. Now they can't use facebook as a way to share pictures of a vacation they took together? That doesn't seem fair.

I personally think it can be fun to reconnect with someone who taught me years ago, and as a teacher, I am thrilled to see what my previous students accomplish as they age (I do not allow students to "friend" me until the school year has ended so that I will not get messages about homework, tests, etc, because I don't think that's fair to those who do not have a facebook). Some have used facebook to contact me as a sort of mentor. I keep my facebook very clean, but I also use strict privacy settings that are specific to my students, who I have set in a separate group so that I can easily designate anything that I do not want them to see. It's easy to set up and I think it would be a much better idea to require this than to ban facebook friends completely. I also know teachers who have set up separate facebook profiles-one for friends and family, another for their students.

I understand that this is supposed to be a way to protect students. However, I think it is more important to teach students more about internet safety and to impose harsher punishment on teachers who violate policies such as having relationships with students (hearing about teachers simply being placed in another school system after a sexual relationship with a student sickens me. Revoke their license; don't just make them move). There are certainly people, including teachers, who will take advantage of teens, but far more teachers will use the internet to the students advantage. In an educational world that promotes 21st century skills, we have to teach students how to be safe on their own online.

teachers

GOOD ! Teachers are NOT friends, they are authority figures and educators.

Facebook and other sites

Facebook and other sites similar, are pretty much open so everyone can read what is being said. I didn't hear a word about teachers and students being prohibited from e-mailing one another. There is a lot more privacy in e-mailing than social sites.

Pretty sad...

That they have to make this a rule. The teachers should already know this is inappropriate and unprofessional to engage in this type of behavior. I think the teachers could also be using it to violate privacy for other purposes that make the situation even worse.

Finally, a good step to keep professionalism in teaching at the forefront.

If there is a real need for extracurricular contact...

...do it through the parents and allow the parents to direct the student. It is amazing how many of us got through school without the need of a "social network" where "friends" help you get your homework completed. Simply amazing how dependent and lazy we become with comforts.

Parent AND teachers at times have similar roles, bur neglect to perform them. The first and formost function of the parent and the teacher is to provide guidance, knowledge and training to these young people. It is NOT to be "friends" with the child.

Any teacher that goes beyond the basic acedemic requirements and contact during and after school is begging for trouble!

This is a very good policy.

This is a very good policy. Brunswick County schools should follow suit. And before anyone says BC already has this policy in place, then someone at the Central Office should investigate and see all the teachers who have students as "friends".