Monday, July 06, 2009

Teachers, Students, and Facebook

Suppose a teacher is "friended" on Facebook by students, and thereby learns that these students are doing things they probably shouldn't be doing. How should the teacher respond?

Joanne has a good post on the topic.


Mrs. C said...

That is a good post, Darren. Thank you for sharing it with me. I think the teacher in question probably should not have "friended" the students, but it sounds like an honest mistake. I'd let the principal decide. Inform by email. Leave paper trail large enough to cover rear end. "Unfriend" minors I know from school unless I felt school would back me up in case of problems.

It's too bad it has to be that way, but really, I have to wonder at the *parents* more than the unfortunate teacher. BTW, did you hear Megan Meier's "cyber-bully" is free? Yet Meier's parents were never prosecuted for violating MySpace agreements, and allowed a mentally unstable teen (13!!) to chat with some "boy" from God-knows-where. (ick)

Ellen K said...

I deliberately do not use my last name on my Facebook. (I do this because I like to play Yoville and I don't want students crashing my party....there, I said it!) However, my students do sometimes find me through my own children. I have a Facebook to keep up with my son's band's gigs, friends activities and such. I don't "friend" students because this is my private life and I don't want them involved. Having said that, there is one girl who repeatedly asks me to "friend" her. I have to admit, I am tempted. The girl is one of my AP students, who lives with the parents of her mother's ex-husband. There's a sad story behind that and I think she is looking for a mom figure because as she approached college, she simply doesn't have the support system of other kids. But on the other hand, I cannot allow myself to get involved in her life or I will lose objectivity when I grade. My compromise is that since she is graduating at midterm to work, I would friend her then to help her through the whole college registration process. I don't think any current student should ever be "friended" on a teacher's webpage.

As for the cyberbully mom, I hope she can live with what she has done. I hope the victim's family wins in civil court. And I hope that this lesson is evident to others who might use such tactics.

maxutils said...

I don't, except for rare cases, accept current students as friends. My personal line? If the student is talking about something relevant to school, like plagiarism or drug use on campus, I'd rat them out in a heartbeat. One student who had slipped pat my 'current student' filter made an, I felt, undeserved and profane comment about another of my colleagues, and I un-friended her.
On the other hand, if it weren't related to school, I wouldn't feel it was my business unless I could prevent harm to someone else.

maxutils said...

Mrs. C -- I think we just agreed on something. Let the celebration begin!