Teachers and coaches are among the most important figures in every child’s life. They look up to them and emulate them – their opinions, their values, and their behaviors. Students often try to befriend their teachers and coaches, which is usually a positive and rewarding experience for both.
Nevertheless, it is important not to blur the boundaries between student and teacher. It is important for teachers and coaches to establish a separation between their personal and professional lives. In today’s world, there are various ways of communicating, which while convenient, may also be problematic. Therefore, many schools have banned social media contact between students and teachers. The New York City Department of Education published Social Media Guidelines which established standards to be followed by students and teachers.
The March 2014 edition of the Big Apple Parent – nymetroparents.com -suggests guidelines for coaches and students to follow.
1. Coaches should maintain separate professional accounts for email,
Twitter and Facebook.
2. Create a social media policies document for students and parents
3. Create a Facebook presence as an interest page (access at Facebook
4. Monitor comments and remove any inappropriate posts giving
feedback regarding appropriate posts.
5. Keep your personal social media sites private.
6. Never post identifiable student information such as last name or photographs without parent written information.
7. Prohibition of using confidential information, and the prohibition of using harassing, obscene, discriminatory, defamatory, or threatening language.
8. Comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (coppa.org) whenever you engage in social media.
9. Politely decline personal friend requests.
10. Err on the side of caution.
The challenges of being a responsible teacher or coach never end.
If you are a Bergen County teacher, parent, or student with any concerns, please feel free to contact our offices of psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists.
Arista Counseling and Psychiatric Services (201) 368-3700, (212) 722-1920