Board Policy

Electronic Communications/Social Networks

“Barrington Community Unit School District 220 recognizes that electronic communication may be a useful tool for employee/student/parent communication about instructional matters. In order to assure that electronic communications between employees and currently enrolled Barrington 220 students are appropriate and consistent within the goals and policies of the school district, and to protect the welfare of both employees and students, this policy applies to online communication with both students and parents. This policy does not apply to communication with alumni of the Barrington 220 School District.

“Employees may communicate with currently enrolled Barrington 220 students only about school-related matters and only through district-approved or district-hosted electronic accounts and applications, such as district e-mail addresses and the official district website within the “barrington220.org” domain. A district employee who wishes to utilize any technology (e.g. cell phones, including texting) for electronic communication other than those listed above to communicate with current Barrington 220 students should notify his/her building principal and obtain written or electronic consent from the student’s parent(s) before utilizing the technology.

“The school district recognizes that employees may maintain personal blogs or websites, and/or contribute posts to the blogs or websites or web pages of others and/or participate in social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn. If so, employees may not use personal (as opposed to district-hosted) sites to communicate with currently enrolled Barrington 220 students via these means. Additionally, if linking from their classroom website to online resources outside the “barrington220.org” domain, employees should be careful to evaluate the instructional appropriateness of the content and images for use by students.

“Finally, employees who maintain personal blogs or websites, and/or contribute posts to the blogs or websites or web pages of others and/or participate in social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn must abide at all times with all legal requirements, including compliance with student privacy laws. Employees may not, under any circumstances:

Disclose student record information including student work, photographs of students, names of students or any other personally identifiable information about students;

Engage in any communication or activity which violates the district’s anti-harassment policies; (7:180-Students-Preventing Bullying, Intimidation and Harassment), (5:20-Personnel – Workplace Harassment);

Engage in any communication or activity which violates the district’s Internet Acceptable Use policy;

Make or post discriminatory, confidential, threatening, libelous, disparaging, obscene or slanderous comments about the district, its employees, students or parents. Employees are personally liable for their own commentary.

“Violations of this policy are subject to disciplinary review, up to and including termination.”

The e-mail which broadcast the policy said, in part: “Although the policy is effective immediately, we know it will take some time to fully implement.  Because we are aware some teachers, team coaches, and extracurricular club sponsors have systems in place for communicating electronically with students, appropriate communication through those vehicles may continue while we develop procedures and forms necessary to fully implement the policy.  Examples of appropriate communication would be messages to alert team or club members of a canceled activity or a change in schedule as well as classroom websites created by teachers to provide students with assignment information and other learning resources.

“The new policy addresses electronic communication between staff and students, including use of cell phones (for texting or making calls), social networks (such as Facebook) and private websites, to protect both staff and students by clarifying appropriate boundaries for interaction outside the normal school day.  

“Soon, we will communicate this information to parents, particularly at the high school and middle schools, to make them aware there will be a transition period and we expect to fully implement the policy at the beginning of the second semester.    

“We appreciate your patience and understanding while we develop the procedures to implement this policy.  In the interim, please use your judgment and discretion in the use of electronic communication vehicles such as texting, e-mail and websites as necessary to meet the needs of your students. The procedures and forms to secure parent permission and for communication between staff and students will be shared with you as soon as they are finalized, probably by the end of the first semester. At that point we will fully implement this policy.”

Good news: I met with the Communications Director of the district, we reviewed posts I thought might be questionable, and this blog passes muster. However, I was compelled remove current students from the f/book news feed, in order to prevent myself from clicking on “like” reflexively. Folks, if you’re currently enrolled, please do not send me messages via that format; rather, use the district e-mail address (jdionesotes@barrington220.org), however inconvenient it may seem. Thanks.

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