Lufkin school board discusses social networking policy for staff

Lufkin school board discusses social networking policy for staff

POSTED: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - 4:24am

UPDATED: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 - 4:25am


The Lufkin school board met once again in heated discussion concerning a proposed social networking policy at Tuesday’s finance meeting.

Last month, the board met to first address the Texas Association of School Boards localized policy update which involves cyber bullying, protecting children and staff against other staff members, and guidelines about social networking.

The issue members faced was how the policy would be carried out in the event of an indiscretion brought to the district’s attention. Scenarios discussed included pictures displayed on social networking sites of district employees “having a glass of wine or margarita at a local Mexican restaurant.” Some members feared the policy would be taken to the extreme of disciplining the employee for a situation that “was not against the law.”

“Where do we draw the line?” board member Cooper Castleberry asked the board and LISD attorney Wayne Haglund.

Haglund brought to the table several cases in courts across the nation in which the situation is arising. He encouraged the board members to take action to protect themselves against litigation.

“The courts recognize a higher standard of decorum for educators,” Haglund said. “This is going to continue to be a problem, and we need clear tools in order to defend ourselves. The guidelines state if there is a problem, then we need to decide if it has an adverse affect on how a teacher is performing his or her duties on the job.”

Haglund also suggested professional Facebook pages be created by district employees, separate from their personal accounts, in which to communicate with students if they so choose.


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