NYC Teachers Can’t Friend Students On Facebook

By Julie D. Andrews 

Since the bold emergence of social media, school officials nationwide are ever tussling over what to do about the surge of social networking that actively engages school-age kids and digital tools in the classroom on which they are readily accessed.

From cyber-bullying to inappropriate teacher-student interactions, there’s no shortage of new foibles to try to prevent from occurring in the largely lawless digital age.

In an effort to keep one form of possible social-media misuse under wraps, new guidelines were released by the New York City Department of Education that define how teachers can and cannot use Facebook and other social networks, The New York Times reported.

According to the new rules and regulations, New York City public school teachers are not allowed to directly connect with their students on Facebook and other social networks.

The resources put into the completion and release of the guidelines pinpoints a trepidation on the part of school officials about the possible dangers of the immediate, unscripted, knee-jerk communication that social networking can prompt. It is no doubt an effort to curb arrests that have been made with regard to sexual offenses involving teachers and students making inappropriate contact.

Teachers are not prohibited from using Facebook and other social media networks. Rather, connecting with their students will no longer be permissible. Thus, teachers are prohibited from friending, emailing, or making any contact via Facebook pages and other social networks.

Online communication will be permissible on Facebook pages that are set up to be accessed in the classroom.

Will these guidelines do much to prevent potentially embarrassing or troubling Facebook snafus between teachers and students? Schools, publishers: Who else is crafting such guidelines? Who enforces these guidelines?