Media manager essential in age of electronic education

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By Carolyn Roy, Carolyn@natchitochestimes.com

The Natchitoches Parish School Board unanimously approved a social media policy for its employees during a special called meeting June 18. The board will have a social media manager, Chynna Paris, who is contracted through Howard Technology Solutions. Paris will manage all school board social media and websites. She is a 2019 graduate of LSU where she studied school social media while earning a degree in public relations.

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Supt. Grant Eloi said the policy was developed by a diverse committee of board members, teachers, principals and staff who reviewed policies from five other districts dealing with employee conduct on social media. He said the board needed to support staff in what it expects for their behavior regarding social media. It is not censorship but is meant to aid employees and prevent disruption to the district.

There are 11 main points in the policy. They are:

•Employees shall not post confidential information about students, employees or school system business.

•Employees shall not accept current students as “friends” or “followers” or otherwise connect with students on social media sites unless the employee and student have a family relationship or other type of appropriate relationship that originated outside of the school setting.

•Employees may not grant students access to any portion of their personal social media sites unless the employee and student have a family relationship or other type of appropriate relationship which originated outside of the school setting.

•Employees shall be professional in all Internet postings related to or referencing the school system, students and other employees. Accordingly, employees should not assume that they enjoy a reasonable expectation of privacy relative to Internet postings.

•Employees shall not use profane, pornographic, obscene, indecent, lewd, vulgar or sexually offensive language, pictures or graphics or other communication that could reasonably be anticipated to cause a substantial disruption to the school environment.

•Employees shall not use the school system’s logo or other copyrighted material of the system without express, written consent from the Natchitoches Parish School Board.

•Employees shall not post identifiable images of a student or student’s family. •Employees shall not use Internet postings to libel or defame the Natchitoches Parish School Board, students or other school employees.

•Employees shall not use Internet postings to harass, bully or intimidate other employees or students in violation of the NPSB policy, “JCDA, Bullying and Hazing” or state and federal laws.

•Employees shall not post inappropriate content that negatively impacts their ability, or that of other employees, to perform their jobs.

•Employees shall not use Internet postings to engage in any other conduct that violates Natchitoches Parish School Board policy and administrative procedures or state and federal law. School board personnel may monitor online activities of employees who access the Internet using school technological resources. The superintendent or designee may periodically conduct public Internet searches to determine if an employee has engaged in conduct that violates this policy.

Any employee who has been found to have violated the policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. The superintendent or designee shall establish and communicate to employees guidelines and best practices that are consistent with this policy.

In other business at the meeting, the board accepted a grant of $142,000 over 12 months from The Rapides Foundation. The money will be used for professional development.