District Policy Would Outline Social Media Conduct for Employees - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

District Policy Would Outline Social Media Conduct for Employees

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As Facebook, Twitter and other social media continue to get more popular, the Bay District School Board is working on a policy to govern employee's conduct on these sites.

For Mosley High School teacher Rhonda Tidwelll, it's clear in her mind how to appropriately use social media.

"I am on Facebook, and I only have adult friends I do not friend students. Of course students send me friend requests. I turn them down it's not appropriate.

With curious students on a very public forum, Tidwell says social media relationships with students could have negative consequences.

"What goes on in my life is not something that needs to be publicized or commented on by one of my students...even students who don't go to school here that I might not teach. I'm not friends with them either," says Tidwell.

While Tidwell knows how she should act online, the Bay District School Board says it cannot tell employees what they can and cannot do on social media sites, but a new policy would outline punishment for inappropriate behavior.

"It's not best practice to write negative things about your boss on your Facebook page," says Sharon Michalik, executive director of human resources. "We cant tell employees what to post or what not to post on their Facebook Pages, but we can certainly provide and outline of the consequences if you choose to do this."

According to District Officials, the punishments have ranged from a reprimand to termination, but the policy is meant to bring awareness.

"The policy is really about raising awareness and letting the employees know that it is their responsibility. I tell them all the time, 'their social media profile speaks for you before you speak for yourself',"says Michalik.

The School Board approved to advertise the policy at Tuesday's School Board Meeting.