Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

December 6, 2012

BOE OK's social media policy addition

By Gary Nelson
Senior staff writer

CROSSVILLE — If teachers or any other school staff members want to update their Facebook statuses, they'll need to wait until school's been dismissed for the day and they're gone from the building according to a newly approved board policy.

The Cumberland County Board of Education approved a second and final reading of a change to its Internet policy that addresses popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and BOE personnel.

The newly added social networking section states, "District staff are prohibited from posting data, documents, photographs or inappropriate information that is likely to create a material and substantial disruption of classroom activity."

The policy also states, "District staff are prohibited from accessing personal social networking sites on school computers or during school hours except for legitimate, instructional purposes.

The policy also discourages staff from socializing with students on social networking web sites.

"... The same relationship, exchange, interaction, information, or behavior that would be unacceptable in a non-technological medium is unacceptable when done through the use of technology," the policy states.

The BOE also approved a second reading of an update to the substitute teacher policy 5.701. According to the change, all substitute teachers shall be employed by the director of schools and be paid by the Board of Education, "or by a third party public or private employer through an agreement between such third party employer and the Board of Education. Substitute teachers employed by third party entities shall be subject to the same unemployment benefit eligibility conditions as substitute teachers employed directly by the Board of Education."

The substitute policy modification reflects a change in state law that allows for employment of substitute teachers through a third party public or private employer, such as a temp agency.

At a previous policy committee meeting, Richard Janeway, 2nd District representative, said the BOE probably would not use a third party or temp agency because it would cost more.

Both policy additions were approved unanimously during the BOE's November monthly meeting.