Administrative Procedure 146

Electronic Social Media

Background

The Division recognizes that the use of electronic social media by schools and the division are a viable means to engage parents, and students, staff, volunteers and other stakeholders in the enhancement of student learning. The Division is committed to supporting the use by staff of electronic social media to interact knowledgeably and responsibly for instructional and professional development purposes. The Division recognizes that parents entrust educators with the duty to educate their children, and that the use of the Internet, messaging and electronic social media has the potential to affect this trust.

Definitions

Electronic social media means electronic access to and use of blogs, personal websites, RSS feeds, postings on wikis and other interactive sites, such as but not limited to: Facebook, MySpace, Blogger, Twitter, Messaging, and postings on video or picture-sharing sites and elsewhere on the Internet.

Enactment means applicable federal and provincial legislation and regulations, Board policies, administrative procedures, handbooks, guidelines and codes of conduct, and school handbooks.

Procedures

Division staff will implement the following procedures:

  1. Interactions Representing the Division:
    1. Unless given written permission from a Principal or supervisor, staff are not authorized to use electronic social media sites to represent a school, department, or the Division.
    2. In cases where a user is directly or indirectly identified as an employee of the Division but is not duly authorized as per clause 1.1, the user profile or post must clearly state that said user is not representing the views of a school, department or the Division.
  2. Respect, Privacy, and Confidential Information
    1. Division staff will not disclose confidential student information, images or confidential school, department, or personnel records without first obtaining written consent from the Principal, supervisor, or guardian for students under the age of 18 or from independent students aged 16 or 17 who have removed themselves from parental control.
    2. Division staff will not use electronic social media sites or messaging to be defamatory towards students, Division employees, Board policies and Division administrative procedures.
    3. Division staff will not engage electronically in behaviour, communication or comments that would reflect negatively on a school or the Division’s reputation.
    4. Staff may be disciplined if their social media comments, messaging and postings, whether personal or school/Division related, result in a disruption to a school or the Division environment; or negatively impact the staff’s ability to perform his or her duties.
    5. Division and school logos will not be used without first obtaining permission from the Principal or supervisor. Division and school logos must be used in accordance with Administrative Procedure 158 – Corporate Identity.
    6. Division staff will use only their own name, when participating in an online social media group for academic purposes. Pseudonyms may be used by staff for instructional or promotional activities only if there is a clear purpose and written permission has been provided by the Principal.
    7. Division staff will ensure that their online comments are respectful of Division values and in compliance with their respective contracts of employment and Board Policy 1 – Division Foundational Statements.
    8. Division staff may be disciplined for posting or promoting electronic commentary, messaging, content, or images that are defamatory, pornographic, proprietary, harassing, or that create a negative work environment.
    9. Division staff participating in social media activities will respect copyright laws, not only in relation to the content produced on the social media sites, but also in relation to the software that enables them to operate.
    10. Division staff, participating in electronic social media activities, acknowledge that all information posted to sites is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
  3. Staff-Student Online Correspondence
    1. Principals will inform all staff that online correspondence between staff and students must be related to course work, or school sanctioned clubs/activities.
    2. Principals will only approve school-based electronic social media groups that will be supervised and monitored by a teacher.
    3. Principals will ensure that all school-sanctioned electronic social media groups have at least two staff members with administrative privileges.
    4. Principals will inform staff members participating in school-created electronic social media groups with students that the ethical standards for the teachingprofession apply at all times, whether in a traditional school environment or an online environment.
    5. Division staff shall not initiate or accept electronic “friends” invitations from students unless the networking is part of an existing school course or school club structure and at least one other staff member has administrative access to the electronic social media group.

Adopted:

September 21, 2016

Amended:

August 23, 2021, December 30, 2021

Reference:

Section 31, 52, 53, 196, 197, 222 Education Act

Section 40, 41 Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Personal Information Protection Act

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Canadian Criminal Code

Copyright Act

ATA Code of Professional Conduct

Teaching Profession Act

Cross Reference:

AP 158 Corporate Identity

AP 445 CUPE Code of Conduct