After the English Teacher at a Philadelphia high school was suspended for things she said about her students on her blog, it made schools take a closer look at their policies and propose a social media policy.
The teacher has since won her court case and is allowed to teach again, but the whole situation definitely taught the schools that they need a more detailed policy for teachers to follow.
Tuesday night, the Central Bucks school board in Pennsylvania proposed a new social media policy.
It bans teachers from posting anything online that is “disruptive to the educational process”, as well as “provocative” statements or photographs. It also prohibits “online activities that would jeopardize the professional nature of the staff-student relationship.”
Some other interesting ideas proposed were not allowing teachers to call or text students, or emailing them from a personal account.
Over the next few weeks and months, the school board will ask for input from teachers, students and parents before anything is passed.
What are your thoughts on this new detailed policy? Does your child’s school have one that you know of?
Natalie Munroe, an English teacher at a Philadelphia high school, was suspended after officials found out about her blog where she referred to her students as “disengaged, lazy whiners” and “frightfully dim”.
Her students discovered her blog and posted it all over their social media sites. Although she wrote under another name, her post entitled “Where Are We Going & Why Are We in This Handbasket”, included her picture. Given the power of social media, it didn’t take long for school officials to find out about the blog and Munroe was suspended.
She has now been reinstated as a teacher, because legally, she has a right to her job. The principal of the high school told the Philadelphia Inquirer that around 60 students have requested to not be put in Munroe’s 11th grade English and Debate classes.
Will she return to the school where it obviously seems like most students do not want her there? Her lawyer said she is not commenting at this time, but did say she prefers to work at another school.
This goes back to the post I wrote the other day “Do You Think Teachers Should Blog?“. How do teachers blog without crossing lines like Munroe did?
For a teacher, writing a blog can be very tricky. You can’t openly write about your students or there will be repercussions from parents. You can’t openly write about the staff or, well, you could get fired. So, should teachers blog and if so, how?
In this article, Amy Dominello says that teachers can and should blog so they can “build awareness about issues, share information and best practices with one another and bring about systemic change in education”.
But how do you blog without crossing any lines? Here are a few guidelines that were given during a panel at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Conference.
- Blog as a group with other teachers
- Make sure your boss is aware of your blog
- Write about stories from other districts
- Approach blogging as if it were a sermon, meaning focus on one point
Are you a teacher and do you blog? If so, what kinds of guidelines do you set for yourself and do you have advice for other teachers wanting to start a blog?