I remember when I first started teaching, in 1999, that I was given a copy of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) Ethics Guide. It notes that teachers should exercise caution when giving out personal information (e.g. phone numbers) to students, and that we should only call home for school related business. That’s all good and sensible. In 1999, I had known of the Internet and e-mail for a good four years. Four. I had a cell phone for about five years, and in 1999 we didn’t have “smart” phones (my new “Droid” could probably wash my car if I Could find the correct “app”).
As 2011 arrives, we have a possible Best Picture in The Social Network, the story of the beginning of Facebook. If you haven’t heard of Facebook, you’ve probably been hanging out with Gilligan and the Skipper. If you don’t have a Facebook account, you either don’t want one or you probably don’t pay attention to…any number of things! OK, so LAUSD’s 2010 edition of the Code of Ethics has been updated for the twenty-first century, and it takes current technology into account.
Most of my
colleagues have a Facebook page, as do administrators (and of course students). There seem to be several issues with regards to educators having Facebook (or Twitter or other such sites) accounts: 1) Should we have them and if so, how careful should we be about what information
and photos we post? 2) Do we allow students to be our Facebook “friends”?
There’s much room for debate here. Whomever writes the Codes of Ethics certainly is aware of our First Amendment rights. They also are aware of the problems that can come with what’s mentioned above. I began to think about this when I got an account (about a year ago) and when i saw some photos that colleagues had posted (photos available to anyone) that were, perhaps, on the racy side (more…)