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Standard Elementary SD  |  AR  1114  Community Relations

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Social Media Policy for Employees and Associated Persons

The Standard School District is committed to providing a safe and secure learning and working environment for its students, employees and Associated Persons. The Standard School District encourages positive relationships between students, employees and Associated Persons. There is, however, a distinction between being supportive of students and the real or perceived breach of confidentiality or professional boundaries. Employees and all Associated Persons are expected to follow all District policies, including Staff Network Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) and the Professional Standards, BP 4119.21 - when using social media as a form of communication.

The purpose of this board policy (BP 1114) and administrative regulation (AR 1114) on social media is to provide policies and guidelines for social media communications between employees, students, parents and other associated persons; to prevent unauthorized access and other inappropriate activities by District users online; to prevent unauthorized disclosure of or access to sensitive information, and to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and other applicable laws. While the District recognizes that during non-work hours employees and students may participate in online social media, blogs, and other online tools, District employees and Associated Persons should keep in mind that information produced, shared and retrieved by them may be subject to District policies and is a reflection of the school community[gms2].

Social media has many educational benefits but when social media postings violate the law or District policies or create a substantial disruption to the school community and/or work environment, the administrator may have an obligation to respond and take appropriate action, including but not limited to investigation, removal of posts, discipline, and/or referral to law enforcement.

Under certain circumstances, the District has jurisdiction to discipline employees who violate rules of appropriate conduct, which includes but is not limited to, the use of social networking sites during or outside of work hours. Additionally, the District may not be able to protect or represent employees who incur legal action from a second party in response to the employee's behavior in a social networking site. In response to violations of the rules of appropriate conduct, the District may also restrict access to students, employees, and Associate Persons and/ or remove posts on District-provided social media sites. My Big Campus and Twitter are recognized as the Social Media platforms for the Standard School District.

I. DEFINITIONS

Associated Persons includes, but is not limited to, parents, parent-elected leaders of school committees, representatives and volunteers, consultants, contracted employees, walk-on coaches, child care/enrichment program providers, vendors and after-school youth services providers.

Blogs are updated personal journals with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer intended for public viewing.

Digital Publishing Site is an internet personal publishing service that provides products and services for consumers to preserve their digital photos or films, such as Shutterfly, Flickr and YouTube.

Podcasts are audio broadcasts that have been converted to MP3 or other audio file format for playback in a digital music player.

Social Media also referred to as social networking, is a form of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content[gms3].

Social Networking Websites are websites where users can create and customize their own profiles with photos, videos, and information, such as My Big Campus, Facebook, Google+, Habbo and other social networking sites.

Tags (Tagging) are keywords assigned to a webpage for the purpose of easy identification, organization, aggregation and searching. Most social media sites allow users to tag the content they share online such as articles, photos, videos or blog posts. Tags help users find content they are looking for through social media sites and other online platforms.

Wikis are websites that allow the creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a browser using a simplified markup language or a text editor.

II. SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES FOR EMPLOYEES AND ASSOCIATED PERSONS

Schools, offices, departments, and Associated Persons in the Standard School District may have their own websites and social media networks that enable staff to share school/work-related information. Confidential or privileged information about students or personnel (e.g., grades, attendance records, or other pupil/personnel record information) may be shared only on District approved secured connections by authorized individuals. All existing policies and behavior guidelines that cover employee conduct on the school premises and at school-related activities similarly apply to the online environment in those same venues.

1. Keep personal social network accounts separate from work related accounts. When a student or minor wishes to link to the personal social networking site of an employee or Associated Person, the employee or Associated Person should redirect them to the school approved website and/or social networking page. Accepting invitations to non-school related social networking sites from parents, students or alumni under the age of 18 is strongly discouraged, and on a case-by-case basis, may be prohibited by the site administrator[gms4].

2. Any employee or Associated Person engaging in inappropriate conduct including but not limited to posting threatening, harassing, racist, biased, derogatory, disparaging or bullying comments toward or about any student, employee, or Associated Person on any website and/or social media sites during or after school hours may be subject to discipline and/or referral to law enforcement. is prohibited and may be subject to discipline. Inappropriate conduct may result in removal of posts and/or blocked access to the Internet, website and/or school social networking site. [Refer to Staff Network Acceptable Use Policy (AUP), BP 6163.4]

3. Never post any identifying student information including names, videos and photographs on any school-based, personal or professional online forum or social networking website, without the written, informed consent of the child's parent/legal guardian and the principal[gms5].

4. Never share confidential or privileged information about students or personnel (e.g., grades, attendance records, or other pupil/personnel record information).

5. Users should have no expectation of privacy regarding their use of District property, network and/or Internet access to files, including email[gms6].

6. The District reserves the right to monitor users' online activities and to access, review, copy, and store or delete any electronic communication or files and/or disclose them to others as it deems necessary. [Refer to Staff Network Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)]

7. Threats are taken seriously and may be subject to law enforcement intervention, including but not limited to formal threat assessments and/or injunctive relief[gms7]. [Refer to Employee Security, BP 4158]

8. District employees and Associated Persons are responsible for the information they post, share, or respond to online. Employees and Associated Persons should utilize privacy settings to control access to personal networks, webpages, profiles, posts, digital media, forums, fan pages, etc. However, be aware that privacy settings bring a false sense of security. Anything posted on the Internet may be subject to public viewing and republication by third parties without your knowledge. [Refer to Staff Network Acceptable Use Policy (AUP),Employee Use of Technology, BP 4040.]

9. If you identify yourself online as a school employee or associated person, ensure that your profile and related content are presented in a professional manner to colleagues, parents, and students. Conduct yourself online according to the same code of ethics and standards set forth in the Staff Network Acceptable Use Policy and/or California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. It is recommended that you post a disclaimer on your website or social media pages stating "The views on this page are personal and do not reflect the views of the Standard School District."

10. Use of District logos or images on one's personal social networking sites is prohibited. If you wish to promote a specific Standard School District activity or event, you may do so in accordance with the following documents [Refer to Staff Network Acceptable Use Policy (AUP); Communication with the Public, BP 1100; District and School Websites, BP 1113]

11. Misrepresenting oneself by using someone else's identity may be identity theft. It is advisable to periodically check that one's identity has not been compromised.

III. RESPONSIBILITIES OF DISTRICT EMPLOYEES AND ASSOCIATED PERSONS

All District employees and associated persons are expected to adhere to this Social Media Policy for Employees and Associated Persons and be familiar with and follow the guidelines and the provisions of this policy.

Additional responsibilities include:

A. Administrator/Designee should:

1. Distribute and communicate this Social Media Policy for Employees and Associated Persons to all employees and Associated Persons.

2. Investigate reported incidents of employee, student, or Associated Persons misconduct or violations of appropriate conduct. [Refer to Complaints Concerning School Personnel, AR 1312.1 and Complaints, AR 4144; Staff Network Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)s, Conduct, BP 5131 -and other related District policies[gms8].]

3. Postings of a serious nature may warrant additional reporting to appropriate reporting agency:

a. Threats (contact Kern County Sheriff at 861-3110)

b. Inappropriate or sexualized images of minors, including but not limited to child pornography (contact appropriate county, state and federal law enforcement)

c. Raise a reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect (contact Child Protective Services)

[Refer to Employee Security, BP 4158; Hate-Motivated Behavior, BP 5145.9; Child Abuse Prevention and Reporting Requirements, BP 5141.4]

4. Inappropriate postings may be documented by taking and printing screen shots or downloading them onto a flashdrive. Evidence should be collected with the permission of the site administrator for the sole purpose of the investigative process and stored in a secured location. This evidence may be used in conference with the employee(s), students, or Associated Person(s) in question. Caution: Do not download or print images of minors or any content that may be considered child pornography. Law enforcement should gather evidence of child pornography, not a District employee.

5. Document all critical incidents[gms9].

6. The target of online harassment can request removal of objectionable postings by reporting the abuse to the internet service provider or webmaster. Most social networking sites have the capacity to flag objectionable postings with "report abuse" button. The target should document the postings prior to their removal. The target of online harassment is encouraged to report any such conduct to District administration. The target of online harassment may also have a private right of action against the party initiating the unwelcome conduct.

7. Monitor and follow-up on inappropriate online conduct to ensure that any online harassment does not result in an unwelcome work environment and take steps to ensure that a safe work environment is provided.

B. Superintendent should:

1. Communicate this Social Media Policy for Employees and Associated Persons to administrators and employees and associated persons.

2. Designate administrators to ensure the implementation of this policy.

C. Central Office Staff should:

1. Support this policy by assisting schools and worksites via trainings, consultation, and distribution of resources.

2. Align this policy with related District initiatives.

IV. GENERAL PROTOCOL FOR RESPONDING TO COMPLAINTS

The following are general procedures for the administrator/supervisor to respond to any complaints: [Complaints School Personnel, BP 1312.1]

a. Secure campus/office safety.

b. Assure involved parties that allegations and complaints are taken seriously.

c. Investigate.

d. Take action to stop the behavior.

e. Request a factual written statement from the involved parties, to include witnesses if available.

f. Consult with the district, staff and other offices, as appropriate.

g. Document actions taken.

h. Implement disciplinary action, counseling, and/or other support services as needed.

i. If appropriate, the victim may file a criminal complaint with law enforcement and/or initiate a civil action against the harasser.

j. Continue to monitor and address inappropriate behaviors.

k. The[gms10] District will not tolerate retaliation against anyone for filing a complaint or participating in the complaint investigation process.

If the allegation is against one's administrator or supervisor, that person's supervisor shall respond to the complaint (see Attachment D, Workplace Violence Complaint Form).

California Education Code 44932 and California Penal Code 422.

Regulation STANDARD SCHOOL DISTRICT

approved: September 11, 2012 Bakersfield, California