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NAVIGATING THE LEGAL LANDMINES OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES IN ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP . Teacher and Student Conduct that Could Lead to Litigation ! . Presented by: Dr. Debbie Grefe Mr. Mike Valle. KEEPING STAFF & STUDENTS SAFE… ! “Information & Policy”. Cyber Issues .

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teacher and student conduct that could lead to litigation
Teacher and Student Conduct that Could Lead to Litigation !

Presented by: Dr. Debbie Grefe

Mr. Mike Valle

cyber issues
Cyber Issues
  • Cyberbullying
  • Sexting
  • Misuse of Social Networking Sites
  • Cell Phone & E-mail Contacts
  • Internet Postings
  • Webcam Technology
  • Behavior “Both On & Off School Property”
  • New District Technology Policies (June 2010)
cyber facts
Cyber Facts
  • Our students use technology today far more that ever before. They are the latest generation of digital natives !
  • 75% of 12-17 year olds own cell phones
  • 72% of ALL teens and 88% of teen cell phone owners send and receive text-messages
  • One in three teens send over 100 messages a day
  • Half of all teens send 50 messages per day
  • 64% of teens have used their cell phone during class
  • Students under 12 send 1,146 text messages per month.
slide6
Why is inappropriate cyber-behavior your problem?(Information from the legal staff of the National School Board Association )
  • Students have been hurt or killed
  • Public Opinion and Uproar
  • Technology Issues are ahead of our laws
  • In some cases you are legally required to report, remove and investigate
cyberbullying
Cyberbullying
  • Not the neighborhood bully our parents knew
  • Harassment
    • Repeatedly sending negative, offensive, rude, insulting messages
  • Denigration
    • Sending or posting gossip or rumors that are damaging to reputations or friendships
  • Impersonation
  • Outing (Tricking a person to reveal secrets & then posting)
  • Exclusion
  • Cyber Stalking
cyberbullying1
Cyberbullying
  • Is Cyberbullying more harmful than in person ?
    • Harm is 24/7
    • Material can be widely distributed
    • Bully may be anonymous or a group
    • Teens may hesitate to share
    • May not know how to stop the bullying
  • Implications
    • School Attacks
    • Suicide
  • Disruption of the learning process
new jersey anti bullying law
New Jersey Anti-Bullying Law
  • School Districts must enact policies prohibiting harassment, intimidation, and bullying.
  • A school employee, student or volunteer who witnesses bullying must report it.
  • A public school district is under legal obligation to control bullying behavior.
  • These guidelines are balanced by a student’s or teacher’s rights to freedom of speech or expression.
sexting
Sexting
  • Sending sexually explicit images of themselves or their peers via messaging
  • After the couple breaks up it may become more serious if forwarding continues
  • Consequences
    • “Just Embarrassment” (best case)
    • Criminal prosecution and registration as a sex offender
    • Suicide following harassment
sexting why is it a school problem
Sexting “Why is it a school problem ?”
  • Our duty is to protect students from being harmed at school. (In loco parentis)
  • Stop sexting during the school day
  • Off school grounds… Students may still have these images on a cell phone.
  • Victims may be harassed at school
  • Even off site harassment may occur that may disrupt the educational process for those involved or aware of it.
  • Obligation of the school administration to investigate rumors of sexting.
misuse of social networking sites
Misuse of Social Networking Sites
  • Social Networking issues first involved only students but as sites become more common the focus is also upon staff.
  • What are the issues ?
    • Inappropriate behavior and comments
    • Appearance of excessive drinking
    • Sarcastic comments about work, students or staff
    • Information given about students or employees
    • Less serious but still an issue “making fun of staff”
    • What was ok in college is no longer always ok as a teacher
    • Privacy settings often not fully understood
    • Lack of monitoring or ability to control “friends” postings
misuse of social networking sites1
Misuse of Social Networking Sites
  • First Concern

“Viewing inappropriate pictures, videos and comments by:”

    • The Community
    • Parents
    • Co-Workers
    • Students
  • Second Concern
    • Teachers interactions with students might not be appropriate
misuse of social networking sites2
Misuse of Social Networking Sites

In the view of Students, Parents, Public & Staff does what is posted cause…

  • Disruption in school
  • Impairment of teachers ability to teach
  • Disclosure of confidential information
  • Defamation of staff
  • Is it constitutionally protected speech but an embarrassment to the school or district ?
keeping staff students safe ideas to consider
KEEPING STAFF & STUDENTS SAFE… ! IDEAS TO CONSIDER:
  • Richerson v. Beckon: Co-workers Read teacher Blog Criticizing them…. Result: Teacher was transferred
  • Louisiana Law: Teachers can communicate electronically on the school system
  • J.S v. Bethlehem Area School District 8th grader created an offensive website directed toward staff and accessed the website at school. Result : Permanently expelled

NEWS HEADLINES;

  • ACLU Reviews Brownsville Teacher Dispute (Jan. 2010)
  • When Young Teachers Go Wild on the Web (April 2008)
  • Teachers v. Facebook: Privacy v. Standards (Nov. 2008)
  • Palm Beach County Teacher Posts Questionable content on Facebook (June 2008)
misuse of social networking sites3
Misuse of Social Networking Sites
  • Teachers Interacting
    • Personal matters discussed with students
    • Peer-like interactions with students
    • Discipline in some cases has been from a warning to transfer to dismissal
    • Off Site Activity
      • Easy decision illegal activity
      • Gray Area “Poor Judgment”
    • Teachers are role models
    • Does this behavior make it difficult for a teacher to perform his or her job ?
    • Balanced with a teachers “First Amendment Rights”

“Public employees may not be protected by the First Amendment when they make statements pursuant to their official job duties even on subjects of public concern.” (National School Board Association)

misuse of social networking sites4
Misuse of Social Networking Sites
  • Recommendations
    • Does the posting undermine your status as a role model
    • Remember the “Court of Public Opinion”.
    • Know your School Policy
    • Remember it may have serious consequences “Spanierman v. Hughes: Teacher Interacts as Peer on MySpace…. Court upheld the termination
    • Know what is available to the public
    • Control who you social network with
    • Control the content and pictures you post
    • Do Not use your social network at school.
    • Audit your prior social networking
    • Remember FB warns when you post information on another user’s profile or comment on another post, that information will be subject to the other user’s privacy settings
cell phone e mail contacts
Cell Phone & E-Mail Contacts
  • All contact to students should also involve the parents and should be for some educational purpose.
  • Calling a student’s cell phone is prohibited.
  • Sending text messages to students is prohibited.
  • Review the Board policy regarding Electronic Communication.
cell phone policy key points
Cell Phone Policy: Key Points
  • Cell phone contact or text messaging to students is prohibited
  • Teachers should not give their private cell phone number to students
  • All e-contacts with student’s should be through the district’s computer and telephone system
  • Parents and guardians should be made aware of all e-contacts
  • Reported misuse of district resources or inappropriate internet postings may result in disciplinary action
  • All computer and phone messages to students should pertain to school business
internet postings
Internet Postings
  • Do not post Personal Information / Pictures of Students
  • Demeaning Websites
  • “Court speaks of the “nexus” between off-campus behavior and the school when determining whether the disruption or anticipation thereof has been properly alleged or proven”

“New Jersey School Boards Association”

internet postings1
Internet Postings
  • Examples (Will it disrupt the educational process ?
    • MySpace Parody of a Principal (10 day Suspension)
    • IM Message threat… Disruption likely
    • Offensive Blog.. Prevented from student government
    • Student Offensive Website
    • Insufficient Nexus
      • (Blocked You Tube entry by student)
      • Facebook Entry critical of teacher.. 3 days
webcam technology
Webcam Technology
  • Planning and close supervision of all webcam activities is essential.
  • Webcam activities should have an educational focus.
  • Personal information should not be shared other than as part of the lesson.
  • Staff needs to monitor the “contact address book” and connect only to approved contacts.
  • A trial connection is highly recommended to discuss educational objectives and test the connection.
behavior both on off school property
Behavior “Both On & Off School Property”
  • School site behavior is much easier to control and the best policy is continuous teacher supervision
  • Use the technology available for educational purposes only.
  • If staff becomes aware of a possible situation on /off school grounds the incident should be reported to the administration. (May be investigated or turned over to the local authorities for investigation.)
examples of district technology policies
EXAMPLES OF DISTRICT TECHNOLOGY POLICIES
  • Resources and Regulations
  • Use Agreements
  • Internet Postings
  • Use of Webcams
  • Cyber-Bullying
  • Primary Grades
  • Elementary Grades
  • Middle School
  • Electronic Communication
slide27

Guideline:Never send or post anything that you would be uncomfortable discussing at a public Board of Education Meeting