Should Teachers Be Banned from Talking to Students on Facebook?

By August 2, 2011Social Media


  • jimduncan says:

    Reiterating what I said a few months ago …

    “So, bans/prohibitions/rules against sexual misconduct between students and teachers is not sufficient;we** must ban communication methods as well? This isn’t solely about banning behavior, it’s about banning communication. Texting is how kids communicate. Period. If teachers can communicate more effectively with them that way, so be it.”

    Same goes for Facebook. Kids communicate on Facebook & texting. Period.

    Also, now that Facebook has email addresses, ie, will they ban facebooking, but not emailing to a facebook address?

  • KenMueller says:

    this is a really tough one, because I understand the intent of the law, but it goes way too far. I’m sure this is one that other states will model/keep an eye on, and will be in the courts for years to come as it is challenged.

  • gwenm4 says:

    Seems to me that this is counter-intuitive. This IS the world we live in. This is how kids communicate, engage, interact and build relationships. There has to be accountability on the teacher’s part (per her personal FB page), but isn’t that true in REAL life, as well. It’s a form of communication — and yes, I agree there should be guidelines, but banning? It’s not going to fly.

  • Marijean says:

    @gwenm4 Totally agree with you — and shouldn’t there have been guidelines for communicating with students since the beginning of time?

  • Marijean says:

    @jimduncan My sense is that the lawmakers in this and other similar cases don’t even know enough about the platform to understand that to begin with. That’s another frustration with this; the automatic knee-jerk response that something not understood must be a vehicle for (cue Church Lady) Satan. Sigh.

  • EmmaofCEM says:

    While I do think that authority figures, like teachers, would probably be wise to exercise a bit of caution when it comes to interacting with their charges on social media, writing it into law is definitely a bit excessive. And by “a bit” I of course mean “very.”

    Not to get all Ayn Randy on everyone, but perhaps this is the kind of matter that should be dealt with at the individual, private level. Let schools set their own standards on engaging in social media with students. Bringing this to the legislative body is not only wasteful and evidence of governmental bloat, but also ultimately futile, as you pointed out in your post, Marijean. I’d love to see how enforcement is justified and executed.

  • Marijean says:

    @EmmaofCEM Heh heh, “Ayn Randy.”

  • EmmaofCEM says:

    @Marijean Believe me, invoking the philosophy of the Great Crazy One (apologies in advance if you’re a fan) is not something I relish, but in this instance, I’d say it’s at least remotely applicable. 🙂

  • SeanMichaelMcCord says:

    I agree that it is a waste of resources to legislate this, and I further agree that it makes more sense to address this issue on a school or district level, although that would also be hard to enforce. Is this really a problem at all? A friend of mine who is a teacher has a personal policy of not having any Facebook friends under 20 years old. This seems very sensible.

  • Marijean says:

    @SeanMichaelMcCord That seems pretty sensible to me, in a way, but if you’re a high school teacher, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. I think we’re also forgetting that the definition of “friend” is very diverse.

  • Marijean says:

    @SeanMichaelMcCord I am also bothered by this more significantly this evening after reading the FB post of a friend, former fellow student and Missouri HS teacher who said in his FB status today: “Sorry, my young friends, but Missouri has a new and a constitutionally questionable new law that says I cannot be on facebook with current or former students, and I must de-friend you all. Understand no offense is intended, but I will take no chances. Best to you all.” It just makes me sad.

  • AbbieF says:

    A law making it illegal — no. But cautioning teachers regarding communication with students is a definite yes. My sister is a schoolteacher, we have discussed this quite a bit. Obviously, I am a big advocate of the use of social media but when it comes to communicating with underage kids and the likelihood of non-school related information being posted on both the student and the teacher’s feeds, I say err on the side of caution and do not become friends with your students on Facebook.

    I think the guidelines should be established by the school districts with input from parents and teachers. This is not something that our states’ legislatures should really be concerning themselves with.

  • MrBallentine says:

    I recently read a post on the subject and as Sean was saying about his friend. The author of the post stated that she was able to filter her students through a list she created, and placed a restriction on what they could view on her page. If teachers choose to communicate outside the classroom with their students, and do it in a way that maintains the same professionalism displayed in their classrooms, then no harm is done. We are fortunate to have people who dedicate their lives to educating the ones who will eventually take over leadership of our countries. We’ve entrusted them with the minds of our youth, but we don’t trust them to interact with them responsibly online? Seems a little backwards to me.

  • markobrien says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more! We should be encouraging healthy, meaningful and educational interactions between teacher and student, not restricting them.

  • andilit says:

    As a teacher, I find this law to be silly and to be honest damaging to my ability to teach my students in this time well. (Note, I teach college students, so . . . ) While I don’t send friend requests out to my students, I always accept their requests, and I simply just remember that my students are my friends on Facebook. I don’t post things they shouldn’t know about me, but then, I don’t do that anyway. I find that sometimes students will IM with me on Facebook when they won’t be inclined to asked questions any other way, and even years later, my students show up with comments on things I’ve posted about writing or reading (the subjects I teach), and I love that.

    One thing I think teachers could do better is to help their students understand how Facebook is used professionally (i.e. if you friend me, lie to me about where you’re going to be instead of in class and then post where you actually are, I will see that – you should better smarter) and help them make better choices.

    Because, well, that’s our job anyway.