Policy 6410

Social Media Guidelines

As an educational organization, the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District Board of Education recognizes the importance of an open exchange between the District and its many constituents. Likewise, Broadalbin-Perth recognizes social media as an important arena for encouraging interaction and collaboration.

The following guidelines address procedures and best practices for social media accounts created to represent Broadalbin-Perth groups, departments, programs, etc., and the District as a whole, and do not apply to personal/individual accounts.

Definitions

Social Media: Includes all methods of interaction online in all forms of user generated and distributed content, including but not limited to, blogs, social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, LinkedIn), and wikis.

Professional Use: Refers to using social media to advance a program or function of the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District as part of an employee’s job responsibilities.

Personal Use: Refers to employees using social media to advance themselves personally, although this may include some work-related activities such as networking or promoting a Broadalbin-Perth program or service.

Official Broadalbin-Perth Central School District Accounts

The district communications specialist is responsible for authoring, monitoring and moderating all official Broadalbin-Perth social media accounts. The communications specialist will not pre-screen content, but Broadalbin-Perth reserves the right to remove any content that is considered to violate these content guidelines. Specifically, the communications specialist reserves the right, with Superintendent approval, to remove content posted to, or within the comment sections of, Broadalbin-Perth social media sites that:

  • a) Is off-topic;
  • b) Contains personal attacks;
  • c) Contains spam;
  • d) Contains offensive language;
  • e) Contains private/confidential information;
  • f) Contains viewpoints that are not those of the commenter (such as when an account is hacked or used by another person).

Faculty and Staff Use of Social Media to Represent the District

Social media can provide powerful tools for both communication and instruction, as long as they are used correctly. These guidelines provide Broadalbin-Perth Central School District employees with a structure if they choose to use Facebook, Twitter, or another social media tool for instruction or communication as representatives of the District.

Faculty and staff who would like more information about using social media for communication should contact the District communications office. For more information about using social media for instruction, contact the Director of Instructional Technology.

  • a) Faculty and staff who have already set up a social media account or page for a class, team, club, group, or department must provide the District communications office and the employee’s direct supervisor with access to that account. This means administrator rights to the Facebook page or group (not the individual’s personal account) or login information for the Twitter account or other social media account. The District Communications Specialist and the employee’s direct supervisor or their designees will not monitor the account, but they must have access to address problems if they arise, and they may access the Facebook page or group, Twitter account, or other social media account at any time. District employees do not have an expectation of privacy in these accounts, as they are for District instruction or communication.
  • b) Faculty and staff who would like to create a new social media account for a class, team, club, group, department, or official role (for example, @BPsupe) must first contact the communications office and the employee’s direct supervisor to inform them of the employee’s interest in using social media to represent the school district and to discuss how the employee plans to use the account.
  • c) All District employees using social media on behalf of the District will be required to participate in a mandatory training on social media usage provided by the District communications team on an as needed basis before they may begin using their social media accounts to represent the District.
  • d) If a teacher or a member of the instructional staff would like to communicate with students through social media, that individual must notify parents ahead of time and give them the opportunity to participate in the social media as well or to opt their children out of the communication. Employees must make sure parents have access to all social media communications with their children.
  • e) Guidelines regarding use of student photographs and information apply to online publications, including social media. Before publishing any photos, videos, or student names, faculty and staff using social media to represent the District faculty or staff must check to make sure the student is not on the school’s do-not-publicize list. Each school office maintains its own do-not-publicize list and the office personnel will be able to provide employees using social media with copies of those lists. If a student is on the list, faculty and staff may not publish any photos or videos of that student or use his or her name in a post on any social media site or account that represents the District.
  • f) Faculty and staff may post only about things that directly relate to the class, club, team, group, or department that the social media account was created for, or things that directly relate to the school or District. Employees should not promote outside organizations.
  • g) Employees must respect state and federal trademark, copyright, and fair use laws. Questions about adhering to these laws may be directed to the District communications office.
  • h) Employees should be careful about following or ”favoriting” other social media accounts from their official District accounts because these actions can be interpreted as endorsements.
  • i) Teachers/staff members are responsible for regularly monitoring any comments posted to social media pages they have created for classroom/school purposes. Anyone with concerns about the appropriateness of comments should contact the District Communications Specialist.
  • j) Teachers must monitor any social media activity that is assigned as part of a classroom project, but teachers should not ask for students’ social media passwords or administrator rights to students’ personal accounts.
  • k) If students will post content on social media sites as part of an assignment, the teacher must notify parents at least one week before giving the assignment and tell parents what the related learning objective is. The teacher must provide an alternate assignment if any parents object to their children’s use of social media to complete the original assignment.

Appropriate Use

When utilizing social media, whether for professional or personal use, Broadalbin-Perth employees are expected to follow the same behavioral standards online as they would in real life. The same laws, professional expectations, and guidelines for interacting with students, parents, alumni, district staff, media, and other district stakeholders apply online as in personal communication. Employees are responsible for anything they post to social media sites.

Note the following guidelines:

  • a) Refrain from reporting, speculating, discussing, or giving any opinions on topics related to the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District or employees of the District that could be considered sensitive, confidential, or disparaging.
  • b) Broadalbin-Perth logos and/or visual identity cannot be used for personal social media use without prior approval from the Superintendent of Schools. To use this information, contact the District Communications Specialist.
  • c) A personal social media account is not an appropriate place to distribute District news, although staff members are encouraged to share news posted to the District website or social media pages. Employees with information and news to announce to the public or media should contact the District Communications Specialist.
  • d) Broadalbin-Perth does not routinely monitor personal online accounts, but will address issues that violate personnel, social media or other guidelines or Board policies.
  • e) Remember that Broadalbin-Perth computers and resources are to be used only for job-related purposes and educational purposes for students, as detailed in related policies.
  • f) When posting, be mindful of the copyright and intellectual property rights of others and of the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District.
  • g) Confidential information should never be posted online.
  • h) Students’ addresses, telephone numbers, and other confidential information should never be posted on social media websites.