hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

School News

March 28, 2012

Schools set networking guidelines

Teachers cautioned to keep it professional

(Continued)

In addition to social media websites, the policy applies to emails, text message and other forms of electronic communication.

The guidelines for staff were presented to the School Committee at its March 8 meeting and referred to a policy subcommittee for review. Sample policies governing student use of social media could be presented to Scully by the end of the week.

"This is something that no one would have even thought was necessary 10 years ago," said School Committee President Joseph Bevilacqua. "Now it seems to be at the forefront of everyone's mind.

According to Scully, the social media policy was met with positive response from staff members.

"Everyone is accepting and understands the parameters," he said. "Everyone just has to be a little more conscious now."

The School Committee also had a positive reaction to the initial draft.

"I think (Scully) made the right decision in bringing this to us," said Bevilacqua. "We want to stay current with this issue that can bring potential harm and distraction."

Marc Harvey, head of the Haverhill Education Association, said that even though a policy hasn't been formally adopted yet, he believes teachers already follow the guidelines that have been set out.

Teachers "have to be very careful what is on your Facebook," said Harvey. "I always tell new teachers that kids are not our friends. They aren't in our peer group."

Bevilacqua said that he believes the School Committee unanimously supports enacting the policy. A decision to approve could be made as early as the next meeting, on April 12.

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