Social media use policy for school employees proposed
CENTREVILLE — Queen Anne’s County Board of Education is seeking feedback for policy changes. The proposed Employee Use of Social Media policy was first presented at the March 1 meeting.
The policy seeks to define the limitations and use of social media for school employees. The policy is as outlined below:
Employees interested in developing an QACPS-related professional social media presence, whether accessed from an QACPS computer, tablet, mobile device, or not, must receive permission from their administrators or supervisors in developing the site and are required to provide their supervisor with administrative rights to access the professional social media site, which may be regularly monitored by supervisors and administrators to ensure compliance with the Acceptable use of Electronic Networks Policy and others referenced in paragraph G and all other applicable laws, policies and procedures.
Professional Social Media sites developed by school-based employees for schools shall offer parent(s)/guardian(s) and students general access to the site and the school shall provide annual notifications to parent(s)/ guardian(s) and students about the site’s existence along with the kinds of materials that may be accessed via the site.
Employees are prohibited from using Professional Social Media sites in any manner to demean, condemn or berate others, including other employees and students, incite violence of any kind, to embarrass, defame, sexually harass, harass, or bully others, including other employees and students (as “harass” and “bully” are defined by Policies and Procedures) or to in any manner that violates QACPS Board policy or procedure, whether inside or outside the professional work environment. Employees using Professional Social Media sites are required to maintain the privacy of personal student records consistent with Board Policies and Procedures regarding Student Records, and confidential employee information. Employees who use social media to communicate with students shall only communicate with students whose parent(s)/ guardian(s) have given written authorization of and have access to their child’s use of the social media sites.
Employees shall not use their professional social media presence to communicate improper or inappropriate messages with or about QACPS students. Employees, schools, and offices within QACPS who create a Professional Social Media site are required to monitor the site for compliance with Policies and Procedures.
The policy also states, “QACPS recognizes that employees may also have a personal presence on social media sites and encourages employees who have such presence to continue to adhere to Board policies and procedures in their personal use of sites.”
The policy would prohibit employees from using social media for personal use during work hours and from using their social media presence to communicate improper or inappropriate messages or content with or about QACPS students. The policy would also restrict employees from posting any photos of any QACPS student to any personal social media site for any reason. Exceptions would be permitted where the student is a relative by blood, adoption, or marriage of the employee, or the employee has received permission to post from the parents or guardians of the student, and provided the photos are not improper or inappropriate.
Additionally, employees would not be permitted to use their personal social media presence as a representative of QACPS or the Board of Education of Queen Anne’s County. The policy further states, “In all cases, an employee is not authorized to use his or her personal use of social media to embarrass, harass, annoy, or intimidate another employee of QACPS. Employees are expected to monitor their own sites.”
Three readings are required in an open session meeting before any changes or new policy is created. The full policy is available for review and comment on the QACPS website.