THE NORTHFIELD BOARD OF EDUCATION FILE CODE: 4119.26/4219.26
Northfield, New Jersey
STAFF USE OF INTERNET SOCIAL NETWORKS AND
OTHER FORMS ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION
The following policy only applies to staff and their non-related students.
Social Networking Websites
The superintendent/principals will annually remind staff members and orient new staff members concerning the importance of maintaining proper decorum in the on-line, digital world as well as in person. Employees must conduct themselves in ways that do not distract from or disrupt the educational process. The annual orientation and reminders will give special emphasis to:
A. Improper fraternization with students using non-approved social networking websites on the internet:
1. Staff may not list current students as “friends” on non approved networking sites; nor post photos of NCS students (policy 5145.5); (Approval may be gained through principal).
2. All e-contacts for students must be through the district’s communication system;
3. All contact by district staff members shall be sent to students via parents/guardians;
4. Inappropriate contact via e-mail or phone is prohibited;
B. Inappropriateness of posting items with sexual content;
C. Inappropriateness of posting items exhibiting or advocating use of illegal drugs;
D. Examples of inappropriate behavior, as behavior to avoid;
E. Monitoring and penalties for improper use of district computers and technology;
F. The penalties, for noncompliance with this policy are the same as those in policy 6142.11 policy and Acceptable Use of Technology, Computer Network and Internet Access Consent and Waiver Agreement.
When inappropriate use of computers and websites is discovered, the school principals and superintendent may download the offensive material and bring that misconduct to the attention of the board of education for review.
Staff shall not contact parents’/guardians’ cell phones unless directed to do so by the parent/guardian.
Staff shall not send messages that contain material that may be defined by a reasonable person as profane or obscene; messages that are racist, sexist or promote illicit, illegal or unethical activity; or messages:
A. That violate the district’s affirmative action policy;
B. That contain confidential information to persons not authorized to receive that information.
C. Staff may give their cell phone or home phone numbers only to parents/guardians, not to students.
No staff member, coach or volunteer shall text message any student.
School district personnel shall adhere to the following guidelines when sending or receiving messages via internal or external email:
A. All messages shall pertain to legitimate school business;
B. Personnel shall not reveal district issued passwords to others. If a staff member believes that a password has been lost or stolen, or that email has been accessed by someone without authorization, he/she should contact the Help Desk immediately. Email windows should not be left open on the screen when the computer is unattended;
C. Northfield Community School email provider may archive and then delete messages that are retained for the period of time specified by law and board policy 3570 Records;
D. To ensure that federal copyright laws are not violated, staff shall not send copy righted materials to unauthorized personnel;
E. Staff shall not send messages that contain material that may be defined by a reasonable person as obscene; messages that are racist, sexist or promote illegal or unethical activity; or messages:
1. That violate the district’s affirmative action policy;
2. That are personal in nature and not related to the business of the district;
3. That are broadcast to a large group of other personnel without supervisory permission;
4. That contain confidential information to persons not authorized to receive that information.
F. Personnel shall become familiar with the district’s policies and regulation on staff and student access to networked information resources before initiating email use;
G. Staff learning of any misuse of the email systems shall notify the immediate supervisor immediately.
H. All electronic contacts with students should be through the district’s computer and telephone systems;
“Electronic communications,” for the purpose of this policy, means a communication transmitted by means of an electronic device including, but not limited to, a telephone, cellular phone, computer, computer network, personal data assistant, or pager. Electronic communications include, but are not limited to, emails, instant messages, and communications made by means of an Internet website, including social media and social networking websites. The chief school administrator/principals will annually remind staff members and orient new staff members concerning the importance of maintain proper decorum in the online, digital world as well as in person. Employees must conduct themselves in ways that do not distract from or disrupt the educational process.
A. Electronic communications that are inappropriate and therefore prohibited include but are not limited to:
1. Items with sexual content;
2. Items exhibiting or advocating use of drugs, alcohol or other illegal activities;
3. Items that pertain to students , including confidential information;
4. Any content that significantly affects the employee’s ability to perform his/her job or disrupts the education environment;
5. Any content that would violate district policies and procedures.
B. Examples of inappropriate behavior from other districts shall be covered and discussed, including behavior to avoid and the need for staff to use common sense in avoiding inappropriate and unprofessional behavior;
C. Staff shall have no expectation of privacy when using district technology, the district network and/or public social media venues;
D. The administration shall monitor for improper staff electronic communications on district computers, other school issued technology, and the district computer network;
E. Staff shall be informed of the consequences that may result from inappropriate electronic communications up to and including dismissal from employment.
The chief school administrator or designees may periodically conduct internet searches to see if staff members have posted inappropriate materials on-line. When inappropriate use of computers and internet websites is discovered, the school principals and chief school administrator will seek to preserve the problematic or offensive material and will seek to maintain storage and chain of custody of the evidence. The chief school administrator/principal shall promptly bring that alleged misconduct to the attention of the board president.
An online classroom is still a classroom. Though courses and/or assigned programs of home instruction may be online, appropriate classroom behavior is still mandatory. Respect for the participants is essential for learning and student achievement.
Staff communications with students during online education will be limited to legitimate school business. Professional standards and etiquette shall be observed at all times.
This policy shall be distributed annually to all staff members.
NJSBA Review/Update: 03/28/12
Employee Conduct, Cell Phones, Text Messaging, E-Mail
Legal References: N.J.S.A. 18A:6-10 Dismissal and reduction in compensation of persons under tenure in public school system
N.J.S.A. 18A:11-1 General mandatory powers and duties
N.J.S.A. 18A:27-4 Power of boards of education to make rules governing employment of teacher, etc.
N.J.S.A. 18A:54-20 Powers of board (county vocational schools)
Hicks v. Pemberton Bd. of Ed., 1975 S.L.D. 332
Quiroli v. Linwood Bd. of Ed., 1974 S.L.D. 1035
Carlstadt Teachers Ass’n v. Carlstadt Bd. of Ed., App. Div., unreported decision (docket no. A-1469-80-T4, decided March 26, 1982), 1982 S.L.D. 1448
Cross References: 4117.50 Standards for staff discipline
*4119.21 Conflict of interest
*4119.22 Conduct and Dress
*4119.23 Employee substance abuse
4119.24 Staff/pupil relations
*4138 Nonschool employment
*4138.2 Private tutoring
*6144 Controversial issues
*Indicates policy is included in the Critical Policy Reference Manual.