Virginia May Ban Teachers From 'Friending' Students

But some teachers worry it will halt new forms of teaching

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 10, 2011 8:06 AM CST

(Newser) – Teachers Facebooking students: Usually not a good idea. And soon, in Virginia, it may not be allowed. The state's Board of Education is voting on a policy this week that would restrict teacher-student interaction via social networks, online games, and text messages, unless such interaction is through a platform provided by the school. If the guidelines are approved, the Board says they will not be forced on schools—simply encouraged—but some educators are concerned such a recommended policy will make it more difficult to use social learning or technology in class.

The policy stipulates that teachers and other school employees must decline or ignore friend requests or other private invitations from students; should an emergency force a teacher to use "a personal communications device or account to contact an individual student," that interaction must be reported. ReadWriteWeb reports that one teacher has argued electronic communications needn’t be singled out, and that administrators should trust teachers to follow the professional code of conduct regardless of where their interactions with students take place. Click here or here for two tales of teachers and Facebook gone awry.

In Virginia, teachers may no longer be allowed to text students.
In Virginia, teachers may no longer be allowed to text students.   (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)
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