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.
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