Ontario teachers told not to friend students on Facebook
We assumed it went without saying, but apparently it doesn’t. The Ontario College of Teachers has put out an advisory on the proper, professional use of social media, including the YouTube clip above (way to get social, teachers!). The message for Ontario’s army of classroom wardens? When it comes to social media, just say no. Or, if it’s impossible to avoid any kind of electronic media contact with students, then be aware that there are all kinds of risks—and not just the risk of people creeping you.
The report points out that there are substantial legal risks associated with being a teacher in the Internet age, warning teachers against accidentally breaching Ontario’s personal privacy laws; disclosing information about the school or its staff; and a whole bunch of risks that could be summed up with a broad “crimes that involve young children.”
The problem for teachers is that their professional lives don’t end when they leave the classroom. As the OCT’s “professional advisory” notes, all of their public conduct can be used against them by their employer, if not in a court of law. So teachers who were planning on putting “God save me from these stupid brats” as their FB status should probably think twice. Or start updating their resumés.
• Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media (PDF) [Ontario College of Teachers]
• Teachers cautioned against having student ‘friends’ [TheSpec.com]