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Teachers: Should teachers friend their students on Facebook?

Comments: 26

No. The student to teacher relationship must remain a line relationship of a professional nature and there should not be any "friending" on Facebook or anywhere else. It is the invitation to a problem in many cases.

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Beatrice Y. Rice
Philadelphia, PA

I say yes - BUT - not on their personal account. Teachers should set up a separate "teacher" account on which ONLY their students are added. They could than set up a private FB group, where the students could share class ideas, ect.

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Wendy Allen
Wendy C Allen
Old Orchard Beach, ME

Just as parents have to walk a fine line between parent and friend, teachers must do the same. I can only see problems with friending students on FB.

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Carol Rickman
UEA
N. Richland Hills, TX

We are to connect with students, but I would never invite a student to come to my house for a party with my peers. Facebook relationships seem to be right in there with parents being buddies with their kids. I found that my grandson is being allowed to be on facebook, 5th grade, and he ask people he doesn't know to friend. He gets their names from the suggestions facebook offers from other people he doesn't even know. I would rather not be a part of false security for a student as well. Perhaps a more professional environment is classroom homepage where the theme is classroom.

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Alice Russell
member
Forney, TX

To me...it is a ridiculous question....it is a no brainer.....SERIOUSLY? At some point the teacher has to act like the ADULT...the PROFESSIONAL....why in heavens NAME would a teacher friend up with a student????

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Sky Holcomb
Longview, TX

My policy is allowing former, graduated students to "friend" me on Facebook but not current students.

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Dara Frazier
Eanes PEG
Buda, TX

Over the years I have been asked by students to join their 'My Space, and now Facebok.' My reply is always that they may contact me on the school district e-mail if they have a question. If a student has kept in touch with you over the years, and has graduated high school, and is beyond the age of 21, then I think it is up to the individual educator. Personally, I still receive e-mails from former students, but it is always through school e-mail. That is the most prudent means of communication, other than a school visit. We are their teachers, their counselors, their mentors, but not their 'friends.'

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Kathleen Perry
SBISTAFT
Houston, TX

I can see a facebook page set up for a class as useful. If this is where kids are, then set a class page for them to access class information, set up a discussion, etc. They aren't using school websites, teacher websites. Parents would be welcome to join - but that raises other issues

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Charles Vochatzer
Georgetown ISD
Georgetown, TX

My no vote comes with a caveat. It is possible to set up classroom FB pages that cover only what is happening in the classroom. Reminders of special events, photos of guest speakers, photos of special projects, and even study guides, and homework reminders. If a teacher wishes to set up a classroom FB separate from their personal page then it could be beneficial. The educator must have in depth knowledge of how to use the privacy tools available for FB to keep inappropriate items from being posted onto the page.

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Arlene Easter
Corpus Christi AFT
Corpus Christi, TX

I do not allow my students to friend me until after they have graduated from high school. Once they graduate, they are no longer my students or students of my school district. Until that point, I don't think it is proper. If they need help with work, they can always see me at school for tutoring or make a tutoring appointment with me at school.

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Rebecca Starr
GRAND PRAIRIE, TX

I set up a page for my choir. It has all of the dates for parents and students to access.

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Roy Benson
Mount Plesant, TX

Content on facebook is not as "private" as one might believe. The more friends that can access one's wall the more the owner must continue to make sure the site is kid and parent friendly. Also those who make religious and political "likes" on their wall must always consider whether or not these opinions are suitable for sharing with students and parents. I know several teachers who manage a facebk page for their class and do it well, and some that don't. Districts should provide free web zone for teachers to post a social student/parent web page. Then the district will not need to be "responsible" for the facebk pages of their employees.

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Janet McMillen
Nevada, TX

No Because online conversation can be very open for students educators need to refrain. From "friending " a student ;the connotation is even inappropriate. Social media needs to be used only in a strict context of discussion of a classroom curriculum / homework or tutoring ;nothing personal- educators are held to a higher standard when working with students

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pat WILLIAMSON
ctat
killeen, TX

We should not friend students on Facebook. My first concern is to protect our fellow professionals. We must maintain this professional stance given the poor decisions made by some teachers in the last few years. Teachers are being used as a scapegoat for many of societies' ills.

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Donald LeBlanc
San Antonio, TX

Social media sites are not for teachers and their students. A line needs to be drawn somewhere and this is it. Respect and responsibility to your students does not begin here. It begins and stays in the classroom.

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Laurie Batek
North Providence Federation of Teachers Local 920
Smithfield, RI

I have only "friended" student[and some of their parents] in a private group when we were going to take school trip in the summer. I only communicated info about the trip. Once the trip was over, I "unfriended" all of the students, thus closing the group.

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Julie Goode
Peaster, TX

I do not think that teachers should friend their students on FB. I think that is not only a liability but also not ethical. In most jobs there is a policy regarding fraternization and it's there for a reason. It is usually there to protect the employees and the employer.

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Michelle Ramos Martinez
North East AFT
Windcrest, TX

I don't think students and teachers should be FB friends. For one thing, it is like inviting children and teenagers to an adult party; I want to feel free to share my political beliefs and a few funny sites I wouldn't want them to see. Also, being FB friends with students opens us teachers up to suspicion. Even if all conversations are perfectly innocent--as 99.99% would be--the occasional student might get the wrong idea about a teacher. Finally, we can communicate freely using school email, so there is really no need.

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mary katherine raines
brownsville, TX

They should only friend their students if it is on a school FB page where all from the school community are apart.

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zina burton-myrick
UFT
new york, NY

The amount of students and teachers who write stamped and posted letters back and forth has probably dwindled. Using a specially-created social media page lets each talk to the other and helps both keep a finger on the pulse of their lives. It is fine to sever all ties or to keep the relationship professional and distinct; it is also fine when there is a transparent, post-classroom friendship, however superficial, on Facebook.

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Kimberly Bowsky
CTU Local 1
Chicago, IL

College faculty can friend former students, but I don't think it is a good idea for high school teachers to let students know too much about their personal lives. On the other hand, college faculty are protected by academic freedom (Hardy v. Jefferson Community College).

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David Cooper
Local #1360
Louisville, KY

Grade school students are challenged learners in social relationships. They struggle in deciphering the differences between classmates, neighbors, extended family and casual associations. Professionals must exercise self-discipline and not do over-the-top activities that will confuse students even more. "Facebook Friends" would be at the top of what to avoid. Let not friendliness (a character trait to be championed) be contaminated with the perception of friendship where the teacher-learner working relationship is to be the basis for interaction.

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Dale Benjamin Drakeford
UFT
Bronx, NY

I think that teachers should not be friends with their students until that student is out of his/her class. Since it is weird for a teacher to know what that particular student is up to at all times. in addition to that if the teacher picked one student to add as a friend and not another it shows favoritism. it is smart that we keep up with our education but students are students and teachers are teachers.

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Jessica Doehler
La Salle, IL

I agree with Lauren Isaacs Schimko's assessment of the use of Facebook with students and parents. A designated Facebook page to disseminate information to students and their parents is a way to take advantage of a technology the many of them use. A reminder of what homework is due, an upcoming test, an interesting link that coincides with classroom material being taught, praising classes that hand in all of their work on time ... and the list can go on and on. No I don't want to be "Facebook friends" with my students or their parents, but setting up a classroom page that can "Like" is a great way to interact with them using technology.

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Mark Stewart
Florida (NY) Teachers Association
Harriman, NY

I only friend my students after they leave my building and head off to high school. I have used my influence to keep them from dropping out, sleeping with undesirables, and not living up to their expectations. Facebook has also allowed my to keep in contact with my former students, and I have had them come back to do service projects at our school. Overall, my interactions with my students are positive and professional, and critical to what good teachers do.

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Ronald Hall
Chicago Teacher's Union
Chicago, IL

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