Social Media May Put Teacher’s Careers at Risk

Social media has become a common part of most people’s lives. In fact, about 74 percent of people above the age of eighteen are estimated to use websites for social networking. Some of these individuals work as teachers or in education.

While it is not a problem for a teacher to use social media, it is a problem if that individual is not wise regarding how they use their account. For instance, a teacher was fired in Colorado for posting Tweets that were deemed too “racy.” Another teacher was fired in Texas after putting a post on Facebook that was found to be racist. A teacher in Utah had to fight her school district to keep her job after parents complained about her fitness modeling photos on Instagram.

How to Avoid Social Media Drama

Look at Guidelines

The first place to start if you are a teacher concerned about your presence online is to look at any guidelines published by your school district or the county. The rules might already be established, and it is a good idea to understand what type of behaviors would be considered missteps. Once armed with this information, you can feel confident in your decision to post or not post on your social media accounts.

Pick the Right Photos

Of course, the photos you post can get you in trouble as well. If you are choosing a profile picture, make sure it does not show you drinking alcohol, doing drugs, or being involved in any questionable practices. While you might even think the photo is a joke, you cannot always control how that picture will be construed.

Do Not “Friend” Students

Another guideline to follow is to never engage with students on social media. Do not accept friend requests and make sure that you take steps to prevent your students from following you. Once they graduate, it could be appropriate to friend them and keep in touch, but not before that point.

Never Include Information About Your School

Be careful about including information that will affiliate your post with your school and employer. For instance, “geo-tagging” posts may lead your students to your account. Keep your profession general, and do not state the name of the school where you teach.

Naturally, one should never complain about work, students, or co-workers online. This rule should be followed by any professional, not just teachers, but it is important to remember that you may never be able to predict who will see your post.

While this should go without saying, do not post photos of your students on your account either. While some parents are completely on board with posting their children online, others strongly oppose doing so. Students have a right to privacy, and being seen as violating their rights will put you at risk of being disciplined.

Even if you think your account should not get you in trouble, remember that people have different values and that parents are often very particular about who is influencing their children. While the rules might not seem fair, it is a good idea to think about whether the post is worth potentially causing trouble for your professional life, leading to a threat to your livelihood.

If you are a teacher and you find yourself facing disciplinary actions for your social media accounts, you need to take those allegations seriously.

Sanger Law is here to represent you and help you navigate any challenges to your Kansas or Missouri professional license. Contact the Kansas Professional Licensing Defense Attorney at Sanger Law today at (785) 979-4353.