Should teachers "get social" with students? - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Should teachers "get social" with students?

Stephen Wright, Texas AFT Representative Stephen Wright, Texas AFT Representative
John Sigler, Lufkin resident John Sigler, Lufkin resident
Robin Wright, former teacher Robin Wright, former teacher

Should teachers be allowed to chat with their students online?

One parent, Daniel Booker said, "That's a tough question. I prefer not to see my kids on there."

Social networking sites are so popular that schools post interaction policies in their handbooks. Lufkin ISD's online employee handbook has three pages of guidelines.

Some parents are opposed to teacher - student interactions on social networking sites, saying it leads to trouble.

"Say well, I'm facebooking this kid some homework, well they don't have to do that. They can come to the classroom if they need to talk. They don't need to do the Facebook stuff," said Lufkin resident, John Sigler.

"Our teachers find that it is an extremely important tool in conveying what they need to do for class work, what assignments they need to keep up with. And, it's a good way for students to be able to be reminded of those things in a professional setting," said Texas AFT Field Representative, Stephen Wright.

Lufkin ISD says if a teacher chooses to use Facebook, it must be a separate public page that students and parents can view. Teachers must respect confidentiality and may not converse with students between the hours of 9 P.M. and 7 A.M.

"We always encourage our teachers to think about whatever you put on your personal and professional networking sites. Just assume the entire world will read it, and that way you're always safe," said Wright.

One teacher says she only talks with former students, serving as a role model.

"I do put things on there for kids who were former students, who are now teenagers. I have them on my Facebook, and that way I can be a positive influence for them. And, maybe hold them a little accountable for what they're putting on," said former teacher, Robin Wright.

Teachers are encouraged to be smart in the information they share over the web.

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