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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Draft of Pinellas social networking policy



While folks in Manatee County are gearing up for a legal battle over that district's proposed policy on social networking, Pinellas officials are circulating a draft policy of their own. It appears a lot different than Manatee's, focusing on communications between Pinellas staff and students.

The school board is scheduled to discuss the draft policy at its next workshop Nov. 29. Read it for yourself here:


Positive, encouraging, and effective communication between employees and students is vital to the learning process. Showing interest and caring for students creates an atmosphere of trust and confidence in which students are encouraged to achieve success both academically and socially.  Such an atmosphere may also affect the strength of the parent-teacher relationship and parental involvement in the educational process.

The School Board encourages such positive and professional communication between staff and students by means which best protect the interests of all concerned. Communications via personal electronic media such as Facebook, Twitter, cell phone messaging, and other personal electronic means regarding school matters have the potential to create both public records and education records, or to contain personally identifiable student information. The School Board is ultimately responsible for the maintenance and proper disposal of such records and for the protection of such confidential information, and is dependent upon its employees to meet this responsibility. The School Board has provided staff with the means to communicate electronically with students concerning school matters. These means currently include Portal, Moodle, and District email (Outlook), and are sufficient for the purposes intended.

For staff to communicate on school matters with students by personal electronic means when sufficient School Board means are available exposes the School Board to a violation of its legal obligations, and creates a suspicion and increased risk of inappropriate association with students. Accordingly, staff shall utilize School Board resources in all electronic communications with students regarding school matters.


[Last modified: Thursday, November 18, 2010 8:57am]


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