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NYC Teachers Forbidden To "Friend" Students

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the no-friend-list-of-mine dept.

Social Networks 238

betterunixthanunix writes "The New York City Department of Education has issued rules covering student-teacher interactions on social networking websites. Following numerous inappropriate relationships between students and teachers that began on social networking sites, the rules prohibit teachers from communicating with students using their 'personal' accounts, and requires parental consent before students can participate in social networking for educational purposes. The rules also state that teachers have no expectation of privacy online, and that principals and other officials will inspect teachers' profiles. Oddly, the rules do not address communication involving cell phones, which the Department of Education's own investigations have shown to be even more problematic."

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What about parents of students who are teachers? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873287)

Question in the subject.

Re:What about parents of students who are teachers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873315)

Who cares?

Facebook sucks, so this is another Slashdot non-story.

Re:What about parents of students who are teachers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873333)

obviously the grandparent cares. don't be a tool, fool.

Re:What about parents of students who are teachers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873999)

The grandparent can't even spell Facebook, and thinks that that big blue E is the Intermonet Tube.

Re:What about parents of students who are teachers (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873369)

That was an issued raised here, in Georgia. Apparently you can not prevent parents from friending their children.

Re:What about parents of students who are teachers (5, Informative)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873391)

It's stated on page 4 [wsj.com] of the document, section E, article 1, just after the (a). The provision that communication over personal accounts may not occur between teachers and students is subject to an exception in the case of relatives.

Re:What about parents of students who are teachers (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874081)

is subject to an exception in the case of relatives.

So is it a sold defense that both religion and science believe we all have the same family tree and there for are all related? i know one half of my family tree is exceptionally wide and we can follow it back ~150 years and many generation, and they are all "related"..

i know i'm being nit picky by why not when you have things like this that try to have a work place govern the personal lives of people outside work.

Re:What about parents of students who are teachers (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874399)

There's a very easy rebuttal to the Libertarian argument that government employees' personal lives shouldn't be regulated at least a little: it affects the teachers' professional relationships with their students and how they interact with them. Wouldn't you want the same policies applied to politicians to prevent them from developing relationships with that one nice guy who just so happens to be a lobbyist for a major kitten-puppy-bunny murder conglomerate? The potential for corruption is somewhat reduced in the case of a teacher with students, but educators are still the public face of the school and can destroy its reputation (and budget) by such misbehaviour. Any highly interpersonal job with such high visibility should demand some professionalism in its employees' conduct.

Good. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873323)

Good. That behavior is unprofessional.

Re:Good. (2)

kvvbassboy (2010962) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873773)

So, are you saying that you lost touch with your teachers, especially the ones you really liked, after the year got over? Since, that is absurd, I'll assume you haven't.

So, let's say you add your teacher on FB after the year. What do you do when the same teacher takes a class for you the following year? Do you un-friend them? Even if you _do_ unfriend them, it doesn't solve the main problem, which is innate bias from some teachers to some students.

What needs to be done is that, all teachers that favor a select few students with respect to grades or personalized attention need to be penalized or reprimanded. Students should be allowed to complain anonymously about such issues to a higher authority.

Re:Good. (5, Informative)

justin12345 (846440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874367)

Read the WSJ's publication of the actual policy. It essentially prohibits teachers from actively using the internet except in a professionally approved setting, unless they can be certain that their privacy (anonymity) is assured.

It's not just about Facebook. If you're a teacher and you have a blog (even one you intended to be anonymous) and you students comment on it you could face disciplinary action. The way it's worded even an unauthorized slashdot post could be construed as inappropriate contact if a student posts in the same thread and knows the teacher's handle.

What if the teacher is the child's parent? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873331)

Would this still be illegal?

Re:What if the teacher is the child's parent? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873377)

It's obviously disgusting and deviant that the teacher is boffing the kid's parent. Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.

People should get fired over this. It's almost as bad as teaching evolution.

Re:What if the teacher is the child's parent? (0)

Bigby (659157) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873395)

What if the teacher is the child of the student?

Re:What if the teacher is the child's parent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873407)

Read through it yourself. Also, these are guidelines, not laws. They would be violations of school policy, not misdemeanors / felonies. http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/BCF47CED-604B-4FDD-B752-DC2D81504478/0/DOESocialMediaGuidelines20120430.pdf [nyc.gov]

Re:What if the teacher is the child's parent? (4, Interesting)

Fned (43219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874245)

They would be violations of school policy, not misdemeanors / felonies.

Well, that depends a lot on what they mean by "principals and other officials will inspect teachers' profiles."

If they just look at the profile, fine, whatever.

If they log in AS the profile, there's a problem: everyone on that teacher's friend list who has a non-public profile is now visible, and accessing their friends-only profile info under that circumstance is, potentially, a federal crime.

Freedom (5, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873363)

Freedom of association? Does that apply? Why do educators seem to love tossing out personal rights and freedoms? Between this, video cameras on laptops, insisting on viewing personal accounts, etc, it's just disheartening. Why not RFID tag them all or lock them in cells on their personal time?

Re:Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873383)

This is the administrators, not the educators. The PHBs of the education system, if you will.

And yeah, most employers wouldn't get away with this shit, but since the employees are schoolteachers you can say it's "fer teh childrun!"

Re:Freedom (1, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873803)

But most employers don't have control over impressionable young children for 5 or 6 hours per day.
And in just about every industry where they do, there are rules in place for this kind of stuff, so yeah, any employer in a similar position of authority over , and custody of children WOULD get away with this shit.

(Its pretty obvious you don't have kids and aren't even old enough to do so).

Re:Freedom (5, Insightful)

BootysnapChristAlive (2629837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874083)

But most employers don't have control over impressionable young children for 5 or 6 hours per day.

And most people aren't child molesters... And I happen to disagree with collective punishment.

"For the children! For the children! Anyone who disagrees with me is underage/is a pedophile/doesn't have kids! There are pedophiles behind every corner, and since I claim to be a parent, that means I'm always 100% correct!"

I hope you're trolling with those nonsensical assumptions.

Re:Freedom (5, Insightful)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874295)

So you can trust a person to have control over your impressionable young children for 5 to 6 hours a day but you're worried about them being a friend on Facebook?

Re:Freedom (5, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873429)

It does seem like a pretty poor recruiting pitch.

Hey! We need you! Your students will hate you, your administration will suspect you, you'll be paid a pittance for long hours and much work, you'll be subject to every lawsuit a disgruntled punk can talk his drunken mother into starting, you'll pay for your supplies out of pocket, we may have to lay you off with almost no warning, and we'll be spying on you on-line. But other than that, it's a dream job!

Re:Freedom (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873535)

I wonder if this includes ex-students? I friended several of my former teachers.

The solution seems simple enough... make your facebook profile private, so the school administrators can't see who you friended. The courts have already ruled employers can't demand your password to see what's behind the privacy wall.

Re:Freedom (0, Flamebait)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873811)

The solution is simpler than that.

Realize you are a teacher, and no longer a student looking for a bootie call, grow up, and get the hell off facebook.

Re:Freedom (3, Interesting)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874159)

Weirdly, I am simultaneously:
a) offended that they're applying such arbitrary restrictions to teachers -- it seems, technologically, stupid, and I've had teachers that are friends
b) pleased, since facebook is a pretty popular venue for creepy guys, and
c) surprised that teachers associating with students on facebook is a big problem, since it seems extremely unprofessional to me.

I have friends that teach and are Facebook friends with their *former* students, but association outside the classroom really should be conducted in a professional manner.

Re:Freedom (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874349)

c) surprised that teachers associating with students on facebook is a big problem, since it seems extremely unprofessional to me.

If you RTFA, you will see that it is not a huge problem -- a couple dozen "incidents," many of which seem to have been entirely online anyway (as opposed to a teacher trying to arrange for sex). On the other hand, teachers and students texting and talking on the phone seems to be a much bigger problem (more incidents and possibly more serious incidents), and the city has not addressed that in this update to the rules.

Re:Freedom (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873749)

I don't think freedom of association applies under 18.

Re:Freedom (3, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873815)

Freedom of Association is nowhere mentioned in the US Constitution. The right mentioned there is Freedom of Assembly.

The Supreme Court has ruled that such an implied right exists, however there are limits. For example you cannot refuse to sell beer to somebody because you don't like the color of their skin. On the other hand it is permissible for the state to make a law that you can't sell beer to someone who is below a certain age.

OK with this? (2)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874113)

Actually, if I were a teacher, I think I'd be OK with this. If you friend a few of your students, then you'd have to friend all of them in order to avoid the appearance of favoritism, and if other teachers were doing it there would be pressure to do it yourself as well. So, instead of having to say, "No, you can't be my friend," you can simply cite the law.

Lawsuit time (0)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873365)

Lots of grounds for a nice, expensive lawsuit here. Didn't another state just overturn a law like this?

Re:Lawsuit time (1)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873527)

It's a guideline, not a law.

Re:Lawsuit time (1)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873741)

In technical parlance, it's probably an "administrative rule" and if it's being put forth by a public entity as a binding policy, it's just as susceptible to a lawsuit as an actual law.

no fun (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873375)

What incentive is there for guys to become teachers if they can't sleep with the students? Duh.

Re:no fun (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873453)

Free lifelong healthcare, 3 months / year of paid vacation, tenure / unable to be fired, defined benefit pension courtesy of the productive members of society tax dollars.

Re:no fun (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874013)

why was this guy moded troll they do get healthcare, 3 months of paid vacation and tenure what other job has tenure? and because of unions if they have been employed long enough it is impossible to fire a teacher unless you fire every teacher that has been employed after them. that was a problem they had at my old high school they had several bad teachers that they could not fire because they would have fir everyone else firs because their union contracts stipulated it. and most teacher do work for public schools which are paid for with tax dollars. where was this guy wrong?

Re:no fun (3, Informative)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874325)

In what world do you live in where teachers in NYC get lifelong healthcare or tenure? They can be "fired" at the drop of a hat simply by not renewing their contract. I have no idea where this image of teachers comes from. Also, pensions don't exist for the majority of new teachers. Most of this information is 20 years out of date.

The issue is about supervision (5, Insightful)

kenh (9056) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873385)

I hope they worked out the boundary cases (teachers that are parents of students, etc). But by and large I think this is a reasonable first step.

No, I'm not trying to deny the inevitable march into social media, but the issues with Facebook friending are:

- possibility of mixing work and personal lives of teachers - there are many things that teachers are expected to not do in and around students in school, including students into their private social media could create problems

- inability of schools to monitor relationships between students and teachers, hoping to detect, if not prevent them from happening

When I last read about this type of issue, the proposed law was very clear - is a school district runs a Facebook-like web site that includes the ability to monitor communications between employees (teachers) and customers (students) that was fine.

Why do teachers need to 'friend' under-age students of theirs? And no, arguing that this is how kids want to communicate with their teachers isn't good enough - there are too many alternatives for teachers to answer questions, distribute class work, etc.

Re:The issue is about supervision (5, Insightful)

BootysnapChristAlive (2629837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873461)

- possibility of mixing work and personal lives of teachers - there are many things that teachers are expected to not do in and around students in school, including students into their private social media could create problems

- inability of schools to monitor relationships between students and teachers, hoping to detect, if not prevent them from happening

So basically, an entire group of people should be banned from doing something merely because some people in that group may do things that some people do not agree with? You only speak of possibilities here. This is a perfect example of a collective punishment mentality.

Why do teachers need to 'friend' under-age students of theirs?

Why do you need to get on Facebook? Why do you need entertainment? How about, "Why not?" You just waive off all of their opinions just like that. There are few things that people "need." I'd prefer to not live in fear that teachers will abuse their power. I'd prefer to not punish all of them merely because some of them could do so.

Re:The issue is about supervision (1)

hoppo (254995) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873753)

So basically, an entire group of people should be banned from doing something merely because some people in that group may do things that some people do not agree with? You only speak of possibilities here. This is a perfect example of a collective punishment mentality.

Wrong. This is an example of setting boundaries. It is generally inappropriate for students and teachers to have social relationships. Ethics 101.

Re:The issue is about supervision (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873781)

Wrong. This is an example of setting boundaries. It is generally inappropriate for students and teachers to have social relationships. Ethics 101.

Why? It's only a problem if you make it a problem. I knew some of my teachers socially because we were part of the same community. Try watching Être et avoir before seeing wrong where there is none.

Re:The issue is about supervision (2)

BootysnapChristAlive (2629837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873787)

Wrong.

You say I'm wrong, but then you proceed to state exactly what I just spoke out against. You're just punishing an entire group of people for what a few of them could do. Then you label it as "setting boundaries" as if that will change what it truly is.

It is generally inappropriate for students and teachers to have social relationships. Ethics 101.

It's appropriate. Ethics 101. There. My argument is complete, and you are defeated!

Re:The issue is about supervision (4, Insightful)

TavisJohn (961472) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873523)

I would never distribute work or anything important through Facebook. With their ever changing landscape of what they think you do and do not want to see, you can never know if the students actually SEE the postings!

E-mail is far more effective and reliable. And if the student's do not like that, tough. In College if the teacher says to use e-mail, you use e-mail.

Re:The issue is about supervision (3, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873755)

In university about half my students in classes will tend to befriend me on facebook (it's a bit less than that but close enough). Anytime anything out of the ordinary happens I posted it on facebook, as well as via e-mail.

Students are *far* more likely to get a facebook message than they are an e-mail. Lots of them, and, frankly this baffles me because it's the same device, will check facebook on the bus etc. but not e-mail. I suppose that's in part because the university has a habit of sending out a lot of crap that they don't care about, whereas on facebook the information they don't care about now can be easily skimmed over.

Doing anything 'regular' on facebook, course notes assignments that sort of thing doesn't make a lot of sense. Virtually all universities have some sort of classroom management software (webct/blackboard/sakai etc.) for that stuff, and students need to check that on a daily basis for work stuff. But if class is canceled, or a particular lab is closed, elevator not working, that sort of thing, facebook is much more effective than e-mail. I'm not sure that makes sense in highschool since highschools aren't usually giant tens of thousands of persons campuses with a huge number of people coming and going in dozens of buildings at different times.

The biggest plus I've found to facebook is when the students graduate you get to know what they're doing. And, importantly, you can connect them to the next batch of students looking for work and so on. One of my students from 3 years ago works at amazon, so I sent him a graduate who's super excited about amazon this year sort of thing. Again, I'm not sure that would make as much sense at the highshool level, although it's always nice to know what your former students are up to.

Re:The issue is about supervision (1)

TavisJohn (961472) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874251)

E-Mail can just as easily be skimmed over. Several of my sister-in-laws college teachers basically told the class, "I do not use Facebook for school. All school related contact will be done via e-mail. No exceptions."
They had Facebook accounts, and you could friend them, but any discussions, questions, or classwork was to be sent via e-mail only. Some student's complained, but the teacher wanted what was easier for them.

Re:The issue is about supervision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873915)

And if the student's do not like that, tough. In College if the teacher says to use e-mail, you use e-mail.

They are not in college. Most kids these days don't check their email all that often, because email is for old people. I can't understand how Facebook could be used for communication, but that doesn't make me blind the the reality that it is the only communication channel most people under the age of 25 use.

Re:The issue is about supervision (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873587)

I concur.

And while we're at, because there has been a rampant rash of accidents leading to kids losing parents, I propose we ban all parents (or teachers) from driving a car. And since accounts have been stolen, no more online banking. And because utorrent is used for piracy, forbade U.S. citizens from visiting it. And playboy is sometimes seen by underage students too, so I recommend that & all other nude sites be forbidden.

I'm sure you have no problem with my modest proposal. (Or..... we could start treating children as future adults, and stop trying to take-away their freedoms. When they grow-up I suspect they'll want to have freedom of speech, freedom of travel, and freedom to friend whoever they want..... rather than be treated as children for the rest of their lives.)

Re:The issue is about supervision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873631)

Do you have a point? Why do you think this rule has gone too far? There are plenty of obviously good rules that teachers follow that could be attacked by your silly satire. What's so special about Facebook friends to you?

Re:The issue is about supervision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873807)

Or..... we could start treating children as future adults, and stop trying to take-away their freedoms.

I agree. But what does that have to do with forbidding teachers from friending their students? Are child teachers common in your neck of the woods?

Re:The issue is about supervision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39874063)

I hope they worked out the boundary cases (teachers that are parents of students, etc). But by and large I think this is a reasonable first step.

Completely abolishing any expectation of privacy on all social networks by your employer is not a good start. Yes, they are running with the "think of the children" approach. But, the policy says that they think the teacher has "no expectation of privacy" for any social network they belong to. So, the school thinks they can read all the teachers emails on e-harmony, adult friend finder, etc. That goes way beyond prohibiting teachers from being Facebook friends with students.

Re:The issue is about supervision (3, Insightful)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874389)

I wonder where this idea that teachers shouldn't be part of the lives of students came from. I think all the media attention has overblown the issue so far that people think teachers should just be robots regurgitating facts and giving standardized tests. I remember growing up and teachers in high school would stay late or be part of extracurricular clubs. Hell, I learned Linux through a work shop, we'd all bring in computers and throw on Slack or Red Hat back in the early days. It wasn't an issue for our teacher to be there, he lined up a lot of resources for us.

As for "needing to friend," no one needs to friend anybody but a lot of people do it and it's a great way to collaborate on homework for schools that don't have the resources for real virtual assistance services. More to the point though, why not? How is a teacher accepting a student as a friend on Facebook detrimental? As stated before, as long as any student who asks gets accepted there is no appearance of impropriety or favoritism.

This looks like another administration stab at limiting liability rather than trying to protect students or teachers. Fear of lawsuits is the biggest problem with public education, it's also a huge issue with the healthcare system driving up costs for both.

Re:The issue is about supervision (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874407)

When I last read about this type of issue, the proposed law was very clear - is a school district runs a Facebook-like web site that includes the ability to monitor communications between employees (teachers) and customers (students) that was fine.

That does not sound "fine" to me -- it sounds like you are teaching students that there is some grand authority in the world that watches what they do and who they talk to. That is not something I would want my children to be taught in school.

Why do teachers need to 'friend' under-age students of theirs?

Some teachers have "fan clubs" -- I remember seeing that sort of behavior all the time when I was in high school. Telling teachers that they cannot have students friend them on Facebook is basically saying that there cannot be an expression of these fan clubs online.

Idiotic Luddite shitheads (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873389)

Why don't you also ban teachers from talking to students if they see them in a mall or on the street? This smacks of some luddite shithead who dislikes Facebook deciding on behalf of other people who should use it and how they should use it.

The real issue is that people use their personal social networking accounts to broadcast inappropriate information to all their "friends" (who are really aquaintances). I'm afraid that's dangerous no matter what your profession. 200+ people do NOT need to know that you got drunk, took drugs, got laid, are depressed, like inappropriate jokes, hate work, that your kid vomited, or that your pet did something cute. Thing is it should be self-policed, not regulated.

So what happens if the Facebook profile is public? Is the teacher automatically fired? And if it's not public how the hell do you police this? How do you determine a breach has occurred? Do you force them to reveal their passwords to you regularly? Do you force all students? Are we talking NYC or China here? Perhaps you want teachers to stay off the social networks. Anti-social teachers are the new gold standard.

The sad thing is teachers who use social media for outreach, to post interesting things, to share education resources....they just get left out in the cold because they are drowned out by the hoard of immature ego-centric Facebook addicted teachers with no life who won't use any resource appropriately no matter how you govern it.

Collectively we all get what we deserve...and at the moment that is a society in steep decline.

Re:Idiotic Luddite shitheads (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873579)

Why is this modded flamebait?

Because of foul language? He brings some valid points to the discussion.

Especially this: So what happens if the Facebook profile is public? Is the teacher automatically fired?

Yeah, I would like to know too.

To whoever modded this flamebait: untwist your panties, and undo your mod.

--
BMO

Re:Idiotic Luddite shitheads (0)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873857)

Its modded flamebate because there wasn't and lower rating available.

Seriously, how can an intelligent person equate a meeting in a mall or on the street with a stream of clandestine facebook messages between "dreamy" Mr Larson and your 14 year old daughter?

Re:Idiotic Luddite shitheads (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873917)

I have to wonder if the people (like yourself) who seem to be most worried about teachers going after 14-year-olds are really just projecting.

Re:Idiotic Luddite shitheads (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873951)

Given you are posting AC, and hand waiving the problem away, I suspect your 7th grade girlfriend is really familiar with the back seat of your 82 toyota.

Re:Idiotic Luddite shitheads (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873991)

Ah, yes, the baseless accusation of paedophilia on the Internet.

The last refuge of the scoundrel.

You have a low user number, but that doesn't make you smart or insightful

--
BMO

Re:Idiotic Luddite shitheads (1)

BootysnapChristAlive (2629837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874015)

Everyone is a pedophile. Especially if they looked into a child's eyes, physically touched a child, talked to a child, or even had a child!

If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. If you disagree with me, that also means you're a pedophile!

Re:Idiotic Luddite shitheads (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874017)

Accusations of paedophilia on the Internet by anon cunts are less than worthless.

--
BMO

Re:Idiotic Luddite shitheads (4, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874057)

>Seriously, how can an intelligent person equate a meeting in a mall or on the street with a stream of clandestine facebook messages between "dreamy" Mr Larson and your 14 year old daughter?

Seriously, the key to the Constitution is "protect the children"

Never mind the fact that my 6'th grade science teacher ran off with one of his students to another state where marrying her was legal.

In the 80s.

This is scapegoating the Internet for something that has gone on for centuries and shame on you for falling for it.

--
BMO

the days when we were not all afraid. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873401)

I went to school in the 1960's, and obviously social networking and the internet were not a factor. I can't say there were any fewer problems then, but the major difference I see is that were not all afraid.

I'm sure there were unethical and inappropriate contacts between teachers and students then just as now, but it seems like if there was a problem, it was dealt with, but we didn't feel the need to live paranoid lives where everyone was a potential predator and rules about who could talk to who, when, and where had to be put all over the place. If you wanted to see a teacher 1:1 outside of school, you were free to do that. Some students did who were having family problems, sometimes with abusive parents, and they had no one else to turn to.

These days... everyone is afraid of their shadows. How the world has changed.

Re:the days when we were not all afraid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873563)

Just because the past had no internet and social media does not mean that boundaries were not set and expected in society.
These day we have modern methods of communication and collaboration and thus these rules are just updating the boundaries.
What you are seeing is just solutions to people exploiting technology to break boundaries that should not be broken.
Just reaffirming what already was considered both ethical and safe for adults and youth.
I would not call it fear at all. Relationships are meant to have boundaries.

Re:the days when we were not all afraid. (4, Insightful)

BootysnapChristAlive (2629837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873681)

You're paranoid of the statistically unlikely. There aren't pedophiles and evil teachers hiding behind every corner.

Re:the days when we were not all afraid. (0)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873885)

There are far more than you know in your willful blindness.

Wait till 2629837 seems like a low number here on Slash Dot and you have a 14 year old daughter of your own. I suspect your view will change radically.

Re:the days when we were not all afraid. (2)

BootysnapChristAlive (2629837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873949)

Wait till 2629837 seems like a low number here on Slash Dot and you have a 14 year old daughter of your own. I suspect your view will change radically.

You seem to be assuming I don't already have a kid. I do. Frankly, I'm insulted that you'd insinuate that people become retarded once they have children.

Re:the days when we were not all afraid. (2)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874447)

It's not willful blindness but rather it's recognizing facts.

So lets look here:
http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/documents/sex-offender-map.pdf [missingkids.com]

So for some arm chair math.. lets say you have (what seems to be the upper but of the mid block) and keep it round.. and say worst case is 300 per 100,000 people.

so 0.3% of the pollution is a sex offender, keep in mind this list does not filter only for pedos but also has rapists and people of that nature.

So then we look here:
http://www.statemaster.com/graph/edu_ele_sec_tot_tea_percap-secondary-total-teachers-per-capita#source [statemaster.com]

Pretty much the average is at least 1% of the population are teachers of some type.

If given that ALL sex offenders where also teachers and all sex offenders where pedos you could in theory have 1 in 3 teachers be a pedo. But i'd have to say you'd have to be extremely paranoid to think that.

There is also this whole train of thought about how do you prevent things from happening by analyzing what is going on, that i believe is completely missing from this rational of though/policy.. If a teacher makes a student a friend or not will not effect the decision by the student to or not to "groom" the student, and if they are going to do it this will not stop them, might make it harder but will not stop them. The trade off comes down to the value of "making it harder" and the lost benefits/constraints placed on people. And in this case you are now declaring that ONLY pedo's would do this action and there for if you are doing it we can't trust you, and honestly i doubt that is a good way of looking at it. I'd be hard pressed to believe that if a teach where to "friend" a student on face book and then groom them through that, that it would be the only method or sign that they are doing it, and i highly doubt that it would be the most obvious one either.

To that point i think they would be better off leaving it be and then monitoring the other "signs" what ever they are and then use the data we all know is stored and never lost on face book as source of evidence to investigate and hopefully convict the few actual pedos out there.

Again it's not "willful blindness" it's recognizing facts and coming to terms with reality..

Re:the days when we were not all afraid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873573)

These days... everyone is afraid of their shadows. How the world has changed.

You don't approve of our improvements? Off to re-education camp with you.

Re:the days when we were not all afraid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873997)

I went to school in the 1960's, and obviously social networking and the internet were not a factor. I can't say there were any fewer problems then, but the major difference I see is that were not all afraid.

I'm sure there were unethical and inappropriate contacts between teachers and students then just as now, but it seems like if there was a problem, it was dealt with, but we didn't feel the need to live paranoid lives where everyone was a potential predator and rules about who could talk to who, when, and where had to be put all over the place. If you wanted to see a teacher 1:1 outside of school, you were free to do that. Some students did who were having family problems, sometimes with abusive parents, and they had no one else to turn to.

These days... everyone is afraid of their shadows. How the world has changed.

There are a few possibilities:
1) The world was always dangerous, and people in the 1960 were ignorent.
2) The world was safe, and got more dangerous.
3) The world was never dangerous, and everyone today is paranoid.
4) You have forgotten about the silly things people in the 1960s worried about, such as ICBMs and Communism in French Indochina. Worrying has decreased, but your nostalgia and arrogance blinds you to this fact.

Given the tone of your nostalgia, I suspect that #4 is the truth.

More idiocy. (2)

BootysnapChristAlive (2629837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873423)

This collective punishment mentality is great.

In this thread.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873463)

Slashdotters who overwhelmingly reject the usefulness of Facebook and consider it a useless marketing platform that only idiots would use will communicate their furious anger that somebody would dare to tell someone they can't use Facebook however they wish.

Re:In this thread.... (3, Insightful)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873561)

Slashdotters who overwhelmingly reject the usefulness of Facebook and consider it a useless marketing platform that only idiots would use will communicate their furious anger that somebody would dare to tell someone they can't use Facebook however they wish.

Welcome to the USA. Just because only an idiot would want to doesn't mean that those same idiots shouldn't be allowed to.

Even though it shoud probably not be illegal... (2, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873467)

....using social networks is still vain and silly.

Re:Even though it shoud probably not be illegal... (5, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873761)

But it's a medium that the kids use, so if a teacher wants to effectively communicate them it seems like an obvious choice.

Re:Even though it shoud probably not be illegal... (2)

treeves (963993) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873901)

or you could tell them what you want them to know ...when they're in class. It worked fine in the 'old days'.

Re:Even though it shoud probably not be illegal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39874227)

Yeah, and humans were just fine before fire too.

I don't even entirely disagree with you, but the idea "well we did it this way in the past and it worked" is a really poor argument.

Re:Even though it shoud probably not be illegal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39874175)

Yes, we know, everyone on Slashdot is too cool for social networks. Seriously, get over yourself. Lightweight broadcast [to a limited group of subscribers] communication is useful, and e-mail is rather poor at handling it, especially when it comes to things like comment threads (without someone technical to setup a mailing list).

Not that Facebook doesn't get used when e-mail/IM would work better (yes, I know Facebook has IM, it's pretty terrible), but it often is the right tool for the job.

But... (3, Interesting)

evil_aaronm (671521) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873481)

The rules also state that teachers have no expectation of privacy online, and that principals and other officials will inspect teachers' profiles.

How does this square with the federal legislation wending its way through the system that would prevent employers from looking at social networking data of employees?

Oddly, the rules do not address communication involving cell phones, which the Department of Education's own investigations have shown to be even more problematic.

I'll say. My small community had a teacher busted for sexting a student. And when I was a kid, way back before the 'net and cell phones, there were rumors that certain teachers would give certain students "extra-curricular" attention. One teacher in our local district ended up marrying a student. It happened after the student graduated, but there were rumors that "stuff" was going on between them while the student was still in school.

I'm not sure technology has much to do with it: if teachers and students really want to hook up, they'll find a way.

Re:But... (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873751)

The rules also state that teachers have no expectation of privacy online, and that principals and other officials will inspect teachers' profiles.

How does this square with the federal legislation wending its way through the system that would prevent employers from looking at social networking data of employees?

Well, historically, a lot of legislation of this sort has had an exception for government employees.

Which, if it's not obvious, public school teachers are....

What a load of bullshit. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873505)

NYC is a shithole.

Facebook is the dream of an avaricious prick who will stop at
nothing in his effort to invade your privacy in order to make
himself rich.

None of this presents even the slightest problem unless you are an idiot.

Why would you even want to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873531)

If you're a teacher, what reason would you have to "friend" a child on Facebook? We would first have to assume a minor on FB is at least 13 years of age (per the TOS). So if you're teaching a teenager, why would you want to see all the stupid and annoying things that they're doing online? You're not their parent and you shouldn't have to step into that role if their mom or dad is absent and failing to live up to their responsibilities. There is no legitimate educational purpose for using Facebook. Teachers and students communicated perfectly well before it existed. It's called classroom time.

Maybe one reason is to see if your students are saying shit about you, but every teacher has had that happen to them at some point or another. It's part of the territory of teaching snot-nosed, self-entitled brats who think the world revolves around them. Being their "friend" won't change that.

Granted, I think it's also equally absurd to require a LAW to expressly prohibit such a thing, when so much of life is about learning how to exercise proper judgment, rather than having others decide for you what is appropriate and what is not. The bottom line is that no respectable teacher I know of would think doing such a thing is a good idea, and no student would want their teacher(s) to follow their online activities. The use of FB as a way to keep in contact with people you're not supposed to have that kind of contact with, is entirely bizarre, stupid, and reflects the extremely troubling and omnipresent nature of online social media. It's ridiculous that people think putting a record of their lives and their social connections in the hands of a corporation that profiteers from consistently violating your privacy is not only acceptable, but so overwhelmingly popular that they think nothing of teachers interacting with their underage students through it.

Re:Why would you even want to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873603)

You forgot the Get-Odd-Lawn part, old man.

Re:Why would you even want to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873789)

I concur, there are a lot of reasons (mostly related to the inherent power difference in the teacher student relationship) its a bad idea for a teacher and student to friend or even send a friend request on facebook. There may be some good reasons, though I am not sure what they are, for doing so; but in the balace, crossing the student teacher boundary this way is a high risk behavior. I doubt the risks outweigh the benefits. In assessing this risk there is an additional consideration of the severity of the possible negative outcome. If you are not in the business or otherwise able to understand the catastrophic (and that's not hyperbole) impact that violation of this sort of relationship can have on a child, its easily dismissed. I won't convince you here, so I'll just repeat it. It's not ever worth it to roll these dice.

I tend to be as socially libertarian as you can get, but in this senario I find myself agreeing. No teacher should friend any student in their school on any social network, ever.

Re:Why would you even want to? (1)

BootysnapChristAlive (2629837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873813)

is a high risk behavior.

Explain further.

Hopefully you're not one of those people who think there are child molesters hiding behind every corner. And if you're afraid of unlikely catastrophic consequences, don't ride in cars, planes, or do much of anything, as you're putting yourself and others at risk by doing so.

I tend to be as socially libertarian as you can get

How fickle.

Freedom of Association much? (1)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873533)

This is quite obviously unconstitutional

Re:Freedom of Association much? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873921)

I guess you didn't pass the section on the Constitution. "Freedom of Association" isn't mentioned there.

Re:Freedom of Association much? (2)

Fned (43219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874341)

I guess you didn't pass the section on the Constitution. "Freedom of Association" isn't mentioned there.

It's an inherent prerequisite for freedom of assembly. See NAACP v. Alabama.

You can argue "judicial activism" if you want, but you'd then also have to argue that assembly is somehow possible without association, which would be a neat trick...

Why would a teacher want kids as friends anyway? (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873639)

I worked at a high school for a couple years and I wanted my job and the kids kept far apart. You friend your students and now they're a part of your social life whether you like it or not. Anything anyone else does on your list is now associated with your career as a teacher, and that could be extremely disruptive to your classroom. It annoyed me to no end to go out for a night on the town and see underage girls who the bouncers had allowed in (they'd scurry like cockroaches when they saw a teacher).

Rules? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873679)

"rules" for teachers. I'm sorry, but until they become LAWS for teachers, that has been passed through a state congress and and the Gov. they can frankly go eff themselves. "teachers have no expectation of privacy online, and that principals and other officials will inspect teachers' profiles" They better only be talking about inspecting what is available to the public because they have absolutely NO right to ask for or acquisition your password or ask you to log in for them. If you're friends with them that's a different story. Teachers should have the same rights as the rest of us. If you have an issue with someones facebook, get yourself a warent.

Re:Rules? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39874369)

... because they have absolutely NO right to ask for or acquisition your password or ask you to log in for them.

Until there's a law prohibiting it, they do... and they even have the right to fire you if you refuse.

Yes, I know a law is currently in the pipe for this... but until it passes, employers can probably still do this.

Seems easy enough to work around... (1)

aklinux (1318095) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873737)

The school itself could have a page and set up associated Group pages for the different classes (and Chess Club, etc) and have the appropriate teacher be the administrator of the individual group pages.

Why? (1)

Githaron (2462596) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873775)

I still don't get why people are trying to legislate rules ban teachers from "friending" students on social media sites. Shouldn't that be between the teacher, the parents, and the student? Why can't teachers and students be friends?

Not new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873793)

We've had 'rules' like this in Ontario (at least my school board) since I joined high school. You have to wait until you leave the school to friend your teachers. They explain it as affecting the teachers opinion on a student (Or the other way around). At are school Facebook is unblocked and we have facebook groups for classes, but teachers make different accounts for those things.

Re:Not new? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873843)

We've had 'rules' like this in Ontario (at least my school board) since I joined high school. You have to wait until you leave the school to friend your teachers. They explain it as affecting the teachers opinion on a student (Or the other way around). At are school Facebook is unblocked and we have facebook groups for classes, but teachers make different accounts for those things.

Shitting in the teacher's coffee and turning in your homework on time both affect the teacher's opinion of a student.
I should be allowed to do both or neither.

Not a bad idea at the university level either. (1)

sdavid (556770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873809)

Friending your students on Facebook makes your page public for all practical purposes. It's really easy, as a university professor, to find that your work and teaching life intrudes just a little too much on your private life, and I imagine the same is true for high school teachers, for example. I keep Facebook for real-life friends and a few colleagues. However, it is very important to students to have some form of contact with you that is outside the university environment. A little while ago, I broke down and set up a Linkedin profile, and my students are welcome to connect with me there.

Why only to teachers? Why implement at all? (1)

Ardyvee (2447206) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873871)

Well... considering most facebook users (me included! D:) accept and send friend request from almost everyone even if they do not know the person, that they end up accepting/sending a friend request to a teacher seems rather unimportant. Might as well start by teaching people to not accept friend request by people they don't know and using privacy settings correctly (and beware of the consequences.

Now. Do not get me wrong. I am not in favour of harmful relationships between students and teachers (by harmful, well, you intend what you want by that). I am also aware for such relationships it is needed at least two willing parties (unless somebody is forcing somebody else, in which case it is another case). But I am not in favour of "just because I decided to be a formal teacher" I can't use social networks like everybody else. Please, do note the use of "formal". Your mother teaches you things. You learn from your friends. Some may even learn from a stranger in a bar whom they just happened to meet by chance. What about the young adults that explain math (and other subjects) to teenagers for a bit of cash? Of course, they don't fit in the definition of teacher that teaches in a school (thus why the "formal teacher"). My point is, formal teachers - unlike most like to think - are humans who have their own problems, who work like everybody else (who has a job). The only difference is that their job is to pass on knowledge from their generation to the next one. Sure, it'd be bad for what's supposed to be the role model of your kids (wait, you're supposed to be the role model of your kids!!!!!!!) doing some rather questionable actions (but smoking is alright, because students already do it anyway), but then as a human you should NEVER engage in such behaviour in front of kids, or anyone, since you never know when they might be passing by.

I just find this rather unfair for teachers, considering they already have to put up with today's kids and get around putting something in their heads. And going beyond the teacher profession, you should also prevent medical doctors from friending patients. I mean, a rather large number of professions would need such restrictions.

Other school systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39873881)

do this too why is this suddenly news? MCPS definitely has rules about this. Also @ all the people saying "why would you want to": Maybe you personally wouldn't, but I know teachers that friend students. They're not gonna go and friend every student they have but I'm a student aid and friends with my teacher on facebook and it's helpful for both of us, he's a physics teacher and every now and then he'll post cool physics stuff or I'll link him to stuff. He's friends with some other people too it's not a huge deal but I can see why they don't want teachers to do it. If they started actually punishing them that'd be different, but as far as telling them not to that makes sense.

Shuddup about the constituition (1)

gatfirls (1315141) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873887)

These are *rules* and *guidelines* written by an employer for their employees. Tons of workplaces have rules/guidelines against certain types of fraternization. I wouldn't want my kids teacher(s) being "friends" with them online anymore than I would want them to go hang out at the mall together. Some relationships should stay "professional" and teacher student is one of them.

Re:Shuddup about the constituition (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39874185)

There is a line between Rules for Employment and infringing on your rights. Basically what you're saying is that it's not ok for teachers to include their students in their personal lives but it is ok for their employer to dictate what they can and can't do with their personal life. You know what, yes bad things could happen. But you know what else could happen? Good things. You have to remember that social networks go both ways. This could help give teachers better insite into their students lives. Maybe learn of abuse or neglect happening at home through a facebook status. Things they wouldn't learn in the few hours they spend with the kids every day. Having a personal connection with a teacher isn't a bad thing. It depends on the teacher. Ultimately, I think it should be up to the parents to decide, not the Government. My main concern is that schools will abuse this and attempt to go poking around in peoples accounts with no justification and that is wrong.

Been here, done this (1)

Starfleet Command (936772) | more than 2 years ago | (#39873967)

Other states have tried this and it was challenged and ruled unconstitutional, or impolite, or in violation of the Temporal Prime Directive or something like that. When are they going to learn that people have private lives and they just can not inject their rules into every aspect of those lives. Also, my daughter (high school Senior) has several of her teachers on her Facebook friends list and I am totally cool with this. For one, the teachers generally use the lists to get school messages out to the students, reminders of practices etc. And the up side is that they are visible to me. I would much prefer that they post to her Facebook then have them texting her.

A few questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39874329)

Forgive my ignorance as I WILL NOT use facebook (until it becomes a felony not to).

1. Aren't you supposed to be of age to use social networks?
2. Aren't you only allowed one account?
3. Aren't you forbidden from sharing your logon info? Its in the terms of use.

All the conjecture, rules, and laws in the world do NOTHING if there is no enforcement.

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