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Norwalk Schools Adopt Social Media Policy

Guidelines will limit out-of-school contact

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Norwalk, CT | Added on September 04, 2013 At 12:11 AM

Norwalk's students, teachers and parents now have guidelines when it comes to websites like Facebook, Twitter and the like.

Board member Steve Colarossi called social media an amazing tool, but also "an amazing curse."

Tuesday the Board of Education unanimously approved a district social media policy.  As Colarossi put it, the policy aims to encourage social media while drawing a fine line on inappropriate behavior.

"Any use of social media with students is an extension of that classroom, that extracurricular club or that team," he said.

Most of the policy revolves around student and teacher interaction through social media.  The policy says using social media needs to be used to communicate information to students -- and it needs to stay that way.

"There can be no private communications between students and teachers," Colarossi said.  "It's much like the way teachers would not socialize with students outside of school."

In the policy, teachers are required to spell out any use of social media in a class syllabus; parents, it says, should be informed of any social media use.  It boils down to teachers being open about social media use and keeping it classroom oriented.

"[The policy] merely indicates that if social media is used, these are the parameters that have to be followed," Colarossi said.

Board chairman Mike Lyons noted the policy will not cover social media comments district employees might make that don't relate to their job.
"People should have the right when, not functioning in a school setting, to critique public officials," Lyons said.

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