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Las Virgenes Unified School District

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Social Media Policy

For a printable version of this document, click here.

LVUSD SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES

PURPOSE
The LVUSD Board of Trustees and leadership team understands the importance of teachers, students and parents engaging, collaborating, learning, and sharing on the Internet via “social media” through tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Apps, wikis, blogs, and many other online resources that allow people to connect and share information. With this in mind, we have developed the following guidelines to provide direction for all instructional staff, students and the school community when participating in online social media activities. Whether or not an employee chooses to participate in a blog, wiki, discussion forum, online social network or any other form of online publishing or discussion is his or her own decision. However, to the extent that employees, faculty, parents and members of the school community represent our schools to each other and to the wider community, participation in such social media should be done responsibly with a mind toward how both the location where one chooses to participate and the content one posts reflect on that person individually and on the district. Moreover, issues concerning the proper respect for the privacy of our students, staff and parents confidentiality of sensitive information and respect for copyrights and trademarks are all important to understand before participating in an online social environment.

LVUSD social media guidelines encourage employees and students to participate in social computing and strive to create an atmosphere of trust and individual accountability, keeping in mind that information produced by the district, its schools, our faculty, staff, students and their parents is a reflection on the entire district community and is subject to our Acceptable Use Policy, the district's mission and the obligation to protect the children entrusted to us. By accessing, creating or contributing to Facebook, Twitter, blogs, discussion forums, wikis, podcasts or other social media for classroom or school use, you agree to abide by these guidelines. Please read them carefully before making use of such social media.

If you have any doubts or concerns about how these guidelines apply to you or your situation, or how they might apply to some new form of social media in the future, please err on the side of caution and direct your questions and concerns to your teacher or school/district administrator (as appropriate) before you make use of such media.

GENERAL GUIDELINES
Consult the employee acceptable use policy or legal notification handbook. Be aware that all existing policies and behavior guidelines extend to school-related activities in the online environment as well as on district premises.

Use good judgment. Think about the type of image that you want to convey on behalf of the school/district when you are posting to social networks and social media sites. Remember that what you post will be viewed and archived permanently online once you hit the “publish” button. On sites where you publicize your professional affiliation, make sure that your profile adheres to established criteria.

Provide value. Think about what you have to offer the community -- whether it’s thoughtful, relevant blog posts; tweets; or homework help -- and focus on providing that consistently. Look for opportunities on social sites to offer recommendations or services to engage patrons and provide value to your community. Don’t be an Internet “troll” by posting or passing along mass email forwards and urban legends (funny stories, videos, non-school photos, etc.).

Accept responsibility. If you’re wrong about something, admit it and move on. It’s not the end of the world to have made a mistake, and in the long run it’s better to be honest about it and apologize than to deny it or cover it up. People on the Internet are still people.

Copyright and Fair Use

  • Respect copyright and fair use guidelines. 
  • Hyper-linking to outside sources is recommended. Be sure not to plagiarize and to give credit where it is due. If you are re-posting photos, videos, poems, music, text, artwork or other copyright-able material, take the extra step of identifying the creator of the materials to the extent reasonably possible.
  • When hyper-linking to other sites and media, be sure that the content to which you are hyper- linking is appropriate and consistent with these guidelines.
  • Be aware that photographs taken by professional photographers cannot be scanned and used on the internet without the photographer’s permission – even if they are photos of you and for which you paid. Most photographers will charge a little extra for “digital rights” to photos.

Profiles and Identity

  • Remember your association and responsibility with your school and the district in online social environments. If you identify yourself as a district employee, ensure your profile and related content is consistent with how you wish to present yourself with colleagues, parents, and students and consistent with the image, purpose and mission of the district. Remember how you represent yourself online should be comparable to how you represent yourself in person.
  • No identifying personal information, such as full names, addresses or phone numbers should appear on blogs or wikis or other social media.
  • Be cautious how you setup your profile, bio, avatar, etc. The same guidelines apply to this information as well as the substantive content you post.
  • When uploading digital pictures or avatars that represent you, make sure that you select a school appropriate image. Also remember not to utilize protected (i.e. copyrighted) images.

FACULTY AND STAFF GUIDELINES

Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, Digital Images & Video Personal Responsibility

  • District employees are personally responsible for the content they publish online. Be mindful that what you publish will be public for a long time—protect your privacy and that of the the district, the school, our students and their families. Once materials have been published online, they may be out of your control.
  • Your online behavior should reflect the same standards of honesty, respect, and consideration that you use face-to-face and should be carried out consistent with the standards applied on school premises and in furtherance of the district's mission.
  • When posting to a blog, discussion forum, or Twitter or Facebook account, be sure you make it clear that the information is representative of your views and opinions and not necessarily the views and opinions of this school or district. Remember that blogs, wikis, discussion groups, and podcasts are an extension of your classroom. What is inappropriate in your classroom should be deemed inappropriate online.
  • The lines between public and private, personal and professional are blurred in the online world. By virtue of identifying yourself online as affiliated with the district and/or your school, you are now connected to colleagues, students, parents and the school/district community. You should ensure that content associated with you is consistent with your work at the district and district's mission.
  • Don’t participate in spreading false or unsubstantiated rumors or false information. Strive to speak the truth - and when you don’t know, sometimes saying nothing is the best choice.
  • When contributing online do not post confidential student information.
  • Before posting videos and photographs of students to any online forum, including Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, a blog or any other media, be sure to adhere to the following guidelines, as set forth in Board Policy 1113: Photographs of groups of students, such as at a school event, may be published without release, provided that students' names are not included. Photographs of individual students together with their names may be published, except when their parent/guardian has notified the district via online registration forms or in writing to not release the student's photograph without prior consent. Obtain permission directly if you are unsure.
  • Student photos should be posted in groups, when possible, and offer no more than a first name in the caption, unless parent permission has been specifically obtained to include first and last name.
  • “Friend”-ing students on social networking sites like Facebook is strongly discouraged. While teachers can be friendly with students their relationship must always remain professional and should not be on a personal footing.
  • Use of student time for social media should have an articulated and defined instructional purpose consistent with the district's mission.

Disclaimers

  • All school employees must include disclaimers within their personal blogs and other media in which they either identify themselves or are likely to be identified as affiliated with the district that the views are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the school and/or district. For example, "The views expressed on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent LVUSD positions, strategies, or opinions."
  • Bear in mind that this standard disclaimer does not by itself exempt school employees from a special or personal responsibility when posting online.
  • Where online media are open to content and participation (such as comments) from students and/or parents, teachers are encouraged to either carefully review and moderate such comments or disable their use.

STUDENT GUIDELINES
Due to the wealth of social media tools available to students, student products and documents have the potential to reach audiences far beyond the classroom. This translates into a greater level of responsibility and accountability for everyone. Also understand that as an LVUSD student you represent your school even when you are not posting to social media sites during class time, and that you should follow these guidelines anytime you post material that could identify you or your relationship to the school.

Below are guidelines students in LVUSD should adhere to when using Web 2.0 and social media tools in the classroom, or in any way related to classroom or school activities:

  • Be aware of what you post online - social media tools are very public. What you contribute leaves a digital footprint for all to see. Do not post anything you wouldn't want friends, enemies, parents, teachers, or a future employer to see.
  • Follow the school's code of conduct when writing online. It is acceptable to disagree with someone else's opinions, however, do it in a respectful way. Make sure that criticism is constructive and not hurtful. What is inappropriate in the classroom is inappropriate online.
  • Be safe online. Never give out personal information, including, but not limited to, last names, phone numbers, addresses, exact birthdates, and pictures. Do not share your password with anyone other than your teachers and parents.
  • Linking to other websites to support your thoughts and ideas is recommended. However, be sure to read the entire article prior to linking to ensure that all information is appropriate for a school setting.
  • Do your own work! Do not use other people's work without their permission. Be aware that it is a violation of copyright law to copy and paste someone else's thoughts. It is good practice to hyperlink to your sources.
  • Be aware that pictures, videos, songs, and audio clips may also be protected under copyright laws. Verify you have permission to use the images, videos, songs or other clips.
  • How you represent yourself online is an extension of yourself. Do not misrepresent yourself by using someone else's identity.
  • Blog and wiki posts should be well written. Follow writing conventions including proper grammar, capitalization, and punctuation. If you edit someone else's work be sure it is in the spirit of improving the writing.
  • If you run across inappropriate material that makes you feel uncomfortable, or is not respectful, tell your teacher right away.
  • Students who do not abide by these terms and conditions may lose their opportunity to take part in the project and/or access to future use of online tools.

PARENT GUIDELINES
Classroom blogs and other social media are powerful tools that open up communication between students, parents, and teachers. This kind of communication and collaboration can have a huge impact on learning. The district encourages parents to participate in such projects when appropriate, but requests that parents act responsibly and respectfully at all times, understanding that their conduct not only reflects on the school community, but will be a model for our students as well.

Parents should adhere to the following guidelines:
Parents should expect communication from teachers prior to their child’s involvement in any project using online social media applications, i.e., blogs, wikis, podcast, discussion forums, etc.

  • Parents will be asked to sign a release form for students when teachers set up social media activities for classroom use.
  • Parents will not use classroom social media sites for any illegal activity, including violation of data privacy laws.
  • Parents are highly encouraged to read and/or participate in social media projects.
  • Parents should not distribute any information that might be deemed personal about other students participating in the social media project.
  • Parents should not upload or include any information that does not also meet the student guidelines above.