Teachers using social media under review

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - We're only a few weeks away from the start of the school year. Now some school districts are taking a closer look at how teachers might interact with your child using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Most of us use Facebook and Twitter purely for personal reasons. That's why some local school districts are looking at new guidelines for teachers using social media with students. Schools want teachers to know where the line is between appropriate and inappropriate behavior online.

Richmond Public Schools is looking at some new guidelines this year. Soon Richmond teachers could have new rules for using Facebook or Twitter with their students.

NBC12 Education Expert Dr. Bill Bosher says sending an inappropriate message on Facebook is no different than an inappropriate phone call or note.

"Teachers know when they have crossed the line of appropriate or inappropriate contact with young people," he said. "The medium doesn't matter, but the message and the messenger do."

Chesterfield and Henrico schools do not plan on adding any guidelines for teacher behavior with social media. Both districts say teachers know what is inappropriate behavior whether it's on Facebook or in the classroom.

Maria Thorsen has been a teacher for 30 years. She's not on Facebook and she says she doesn't see the point of using social media to talk to students.

"I like to separate my professional position with them and their personal life," Thorsen said. "I think that's important. I can communicate with them through our school email system."

Rachel McIlyar agrees. She says she wouldn't feel comfortable with a teacher sending her daughter messages on Facebook without her knowing about it.

"It's terribly inappropriate," she said. "I don't even have a lot of people I work with as friends because work and personal life should be separate and so should school."

Richmond schools says clarifying online behavior for teachers will be a top priority before the school year starts.

Henrico and Chesterfield schools say their existing guidelines cover social media.

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