I had to pass this along. This is the article which our tech director sent to the faculty today as an FYI. I came home and immediately posted a short blog on it on my site. Because I also have students as registered users on my site, I could not be as critical as I would like. The problem is not the network. The problem in my view is the user! Any thoughts?

Here's the article!


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I agree. Several things really bothered me about it. I think the most bothersome is the concept that the mere participation in a space with nothing more could create the appearance of impropriety. I am a lawyer and practiced law for 18 years before returning to teaching and if the unions can't deal with that argument, I think we are in trouble. The fact that we are in a situation where someone can make a solicitation, with nothing more, creates no culpability. You have to do something or intend to do something, or have no other possible motive. If this was just a kids site and someone was lurking, maybe. How many teacher users are on Facebook? Just a few I would think. :) How can anyone argue that there is no alternative use for the network other than to solicit relationships with students? The article reflects no real understanding of Facebook. I am not on MySpace so I won't comment on that portion but I assume the situation is the same.

I understand the concern, but the prob in my view, which I think is a viable one, is the number of teachers who are really making bad decisions concerning their behavior with students. We have a lot of teachers who really don't get it! But that is not a Facebook issue. That can happen anywhere.

So, while we are trying to promote the use of the web, we have to deal with the typical mis- information. And it came from the union--Great. (I am our HS building rep; maybe that's another reason why this bothered me so much.)

Sorry... just a tad annoyed. :)
I love some of the comments on the page. I hope our union in NY doesn't pick up this single-minded idea. My band has a myspace and some of my friends who are teachers do as well. Just like you teach your students; you have to be smart about it. On your page you must be perceived as an "angel." No posting of personal info or of pictures depicting partying, drinking, and smoking. From the perspective of the people writing these memo's I should hide my beer when a student sees me at a restaurant. All educators need do is CYA (Cover Your *$$). These people promoting these limitations on internet use will find it more and more difficult to enforce as the next generation starts getting teaching positions.

Thanks for the link to the article.
I think they are already having difficulty with this as new teachers are part of the generation using these sites. Again it comes back to addressing the real issue. If we don't, it will just spill into another area, like afterschool activities or inappropriate friendships. If we have to be restricted in this way, who knows what is next. I totally agree. thanks!
I agree with the comments, it should be common sense, unfortunately there are few that are ruining it for all. I have facebook and would never friend a student, facebook is my private life and I don't want students there. (I have friended former students that are now in College). Why a teacher would feel the need to use myspace is not clear to me when there are more appropriate online settings like Moodle or a moderated private blog. Again, common sense.
I remember when I was a student, if a teacher became too "friendly" it spread amongst the students like the plague. These were the teachers who felt the need to be cool and accepted by the students. It still happens today. But I share this b/c students need to mature when it comes to discernment. Are they capable of participating maturely in a social networking scenario? Probably. But who needs to deal with the 1 student, the 1 time, and it only takes 1, to make a poor choice? With the teachers' name, I might add, to drag down with them. It's career damaging vs. a poor choice



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