Policy 5290 - Employee Use of Social Media Sites, Including Personal Sites

Kimberly School District PERSONNEL 5290
Employee Use of Social Media Sites, Including Personal Sites

Because of the unique nature of social media and the District's desire to protect its interest regarding electronic records, the following has been established to address social media usage by all employees:

Confidential and Proprietary Information

Employees shall not post confidential or proprietary information about the District, its employees, students, agents, or others. The employee shall adhere to all applicable privacy and confidentiality policies adopted by the District or as provided by State or federal law.

Personal Use of the District's Name, Logos, or Image

Employees shall not use District logos, images, iconography, etc. on personal social media sites. Nor shall employees use the District name to promote a product, cause, political party, or political candidate. Nor shall employees use educational images of students, names, or data relating to students, absent written authority of the parent of a minor or authority of an adult or emancipated student. As it is understood that district employees may interact with students in personal situations such as birthday parties, social gatherings etc., use caution when posting images from these events.

Respect District Time and Property

Personal use must occur during times and places that the use will not interfere with job duties, negatively impact job performance, or otherwise be disruptive to the school environment or its operation.

On Personal Sites

If an employee identifies themselves as a District employee online, it should be clear that the views expressed, posted, or published are personal views, not necessarily those of the District, its Board, other employees, or agents. Opinions and content expressed by staff on social media have the potential to be disseminated far beyond the speaker's desire or intention and could undermine the public perception of fitness of the individual to educate students, and thus undermine teaching effectiveness. In this way, the effect of the expression and publication of such opinions could potentially lead to disciplinary action being taken against the staff member, up to and including termination or nonrenewal of the contract of employment.

Keep Personal and Professional Accounts Separate

Staff members who decide to engage in professional social media activities will maintain separate professional and personal email addresses. Staff members will not use their District email address for personal social media activities. Use of District email for this purpose is prohibited and will be considered a violation of District policy that may result in disciplinary action.

Contact with Students
Although it is desired that staff members have a sincere interest in students as individuals, partiality and the appearance of impropriety must be avoided. Pursuant to the Code of Ethics for Idaho Professional Educators, individuals shall maintain a professional relationship with all students, both inside and outside of the classroom. Excessive informal or social involvement with students is therefore prohibited. This includes:

1.    Listing current students as "friends" on social media sites wherein personal information is shared or available for review which results in the certificated professional employee not maintaining the Code of Ethics requiring professional relationships with students both inside and outside the classroom;

2.    Contacting students through electronic means other than those approved by the District/administration.

3.    Giving private cell phone or home phone numbers to students without prior approval of the District/administration.

Nothing in this policy prohibits District staff and students from the use of District/Administrator approved education websites or use of social media created for curricular, co-curricular, or extracurricular purposes where the professional relationship is maintained with the student.

Failure to maintain a professional relationship with students, both inside and outside of a classroom setting, including interaction via social media of any nature, e-mailing, texting, or any other electronic methods will result in the required reporting of such conduct to the Professional Standards Commission by the District's Administration.

Rules Concerning District-Sponsored Social Media Activity

If an employee wishes to use social media as a communication means for a school- based club or a school-based activity or an official school-based organization, the employee must also comply with the following rules:

1.    Employees are required to maintain appropriate professional boundaries in the establishment and maintenance of all such District-sponsored social media activities. This includes maintaining a separation between the school activity pages and employees' personal social media profiles and pages;

2.    Anyone shall report any communications they believe to be inappropriate to District administration;

3.    The employee responsible for the site will monitor it regularly;

4.    No images of students on the media opt-out list will be used;

5.    Postings made to the site must comply with the District's Policy 5335 Employee Use of Electronic Communications Devices; and

6.    The District Administration reserves the right to shut down or discontinue the group if he or she believes it is in the best overall interest of the student.

Policy History:
Adopted on: January 18, 2023
Revised on