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School Business Affairs


The use of social media, particularly services such as Facebook and Twitter, has grown exponentially in recent years. Yet to date, relatively little litigation has arisen around the issue of teachers and other educators engaging in questionable or inappropriate use of social media when communicating with students. Even so, parental complaints do arise when teachers share inappropriate communications with students through social media. Consequently, as social networking continues to increase, school business officials and other education leaders should devise policies to help deal with this growing trend.

Given the widespread use of social media, this column examines emerging legal questions about whether educators should be able to “friend” their students on social media sites such as Facebook. The column first reviews litigation on the free speech rights of teachers before highlighting cases that illustrate the importance of having policies in place concerning interactions between teachers and their students on social media sites.

Recommendations are then offered for education leaders as they seek to balance the sometimes-competing interests of teachers to engage in free speech on social media sites and of boards to protect students from the admittedly small number of individuals who may intentionally or inadvertently cross the line into engaging in unacceptable communications with their students, thereby creating risks for their districts.

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This document has been made available for download by permission of the publisher.

This article originally appeared in the March 2015 School Business Affairs magazine and is reprinted with permission of the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO). The text herein does not necessarily represent the views or policies of ASBO International, and use of this imprint does not imply any endorsement or recognition by ASBO International and its officers or affiliates. Any additional re-purposing or reprint of this article in this or any other medium is restricted without prior written consent.

Permission documentation is on file.


Association of School Business Officials





Place of Publication

Reston, VA



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