DENVER - Some Colorado school districts are creating tougher social media policies for staff in hopes of preventing inappropriate relationships with students.
Denver Public Schools already say staff cannot connect with students through personal social accounts like Facebook. It's a policy that went into effect over the summer, according to a district spokesperson. Now, a Colorado Springs district is following suit, with Academy District 20 telling teachers to disconnect with current students by the end of the month.
"I think it clarifies what an inappropriate student/teacher relationship is, and it addresses the means, we've learned, some of those relationships begin," D-20 spokesperson Nanette Anderson said.
The Cherry Creek School District says it recommends against teachers "friending" students and reviews appropriate social media behavior with teachers. Jefferson County Schools says "Personal social networking sites should not be used to encourage inappropriate personal nonprofessional relationships with current or recent students."
Social media and the classroom is a topic future teachers say they're already thinking about.
"Actually, in my education technology class we talked a lot about that," Katie Kurpanek said. She's studying to become a teacher at the University of Northern Colorado Center for Urban Education.
Teachers in training at the school said, regardless of an employer policy, they plan to implement a personal policy of not connecting with students on social media.
"Social media is for friends and family and connecting with students should be through all school technology," Kathy Perry said.
"I just think you can get yourself caught in a lot of situations you don't want to be in when you're getting involved in their personal lives, and they're involved in yours," Kurpanek said.
"Personally, I would never engage with a student on social media like Facebook," Brandon Busch said. "It's something I want to be super careful with."
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