Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas teachers no longer allowed to use social media to communicate with students

ST. PETERSBURG — As is apparent recently, Twitter and Facebook can get people into a world of trouble.

To head off awkward situations where jobs may be lost, Pinellas County School Board members last week banned teachers from using social media tools to communicate with students.

They signed off on a policy requiring teachers to use district-provided e-mails and electronic platforms to correspond with students.

Board members started looking into this policy late last year, after teacher-related horror stories began to surface from around the state.

In the past few years, teachers from Hillsborough, Hernando and Manatee counties were forced to resign, suspended or arrested for inappropriate discussions or comments on Facebook and MySpace.

School districts grappled with this as well. Both Manatee and Santa Rosa stopped working on policies limiting how teachers use social media after teachers' unions threatened legal action.

To avoid that, Pinellas officials enlisted the help of union representatives in drafting the policy.

They approached it from a legal angle: Sites such as Facebook and Twitter could generate confidential records, and the district is legally responsible for maintaining or getting rid of them. These records could make teachers or the district look bad because they give "the appearance of inappropriate associations with students."

However, in a last-minute addition to the policy during Tuesday's School Board meeting, teachers will be allowed to use their personal cell phones to contact students in cases such as field trips.

Board member Linda Lerner raised the possibility of teachers facing an unwarranted penalty for using personal phones to contact students. "Sometimes, the teacher is responsible for students off school property," she said.

Her question launched a lengthy discussion about teachers being provided district cell phones during such trips.

"I'm sure that we have extra cell phones from the district. They can use those," board member Peggy O'Shea said. "They can borrow mine if they need to.

"How did we take field trips before cell phones?" she said.

Board members unanimously approved the policy, which goes into effect Aug. 15.

Pinellas teachers no longer allowed to use social media to communicate with students 06/18/11 [Last modified: Saturday, June 18, 2011 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Two boys in critical condition after Largo crash

    Accidents

    LARGO — A 7-year-old boy was thrown from a car in a head-on crash on Starkey Road, and both he and a 6-year-old boy were in critical condition Sunday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  2. Trump's new order bars almost all travel from seven countries

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a new order banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban, citing threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the country.

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters Sunday upon his return to the White House in Washington.
  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. In Mexico City, hopes of finding quake survivors dwindle

    World

    MEXICO CITY — Five days after the deadly magnitude 7.1 earthquake, the hulking wreckage of what used to be a seven-story office building is one of the last hopes: one of just two sites left where searchers believe they may still find someone trapped alive in Mexico City.

    Rescue workers search for survivors inside a felled office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City on Saturday.
  5. GOP health bill in major peril as resistance hardens among key senators

    National

    WASHINGTON — The floundering Republican attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act met hardening resistance from key GOP senators Sunday that left it on the verge of collapse even as advocates vowed to keep pushing for a vote this week.

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate, said Sunday that it was “very difficult” to envision voting for this health-care bill.