A 79-year-old teacher was fired for refusing to unfriend her students on Facebook

Thumbnail image for facebookprivacy.jpgA teacher getting in trouble for something having to do with Facebook?

You don’t say…

The full story, plus another state has passed a social media workplace privacy law. I’ve got it all for you after the jump…

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I was going to blog today about Wisconsin becoming the latest state to pass a law banning employer from requiring that employee and applicants disclose their social media passwords. Fortunately, Jesse Dill has you covered with this article at Milwaukee Business News.

Facebook > Job

But, sticking with the social media theme, yesterday I read this story from Caroline Moss at BusinessInsider.com about high school teacher who was fired after she refused to unfriend her student on Facebook.

Apparently, the school adopted a new social media policy in which it forbid teachers from being Facebook friends with students. The teacher here was given an ultimatum to unfriend students or lose her job.

She chose the latter.

Should teachers be able to friend students?

Since the teacher’s termination, she has received a lot of online support. Here is a Facebook group entitled “Let Mrs. T continue subbing without deleting her friends!

Now, if you want my opinion (and, if you don’t, just ask for a refund — oh right), the school made the right call. It bothers me that a teacher-student Facebook friendship opens a window for the student into the off-the-clock, private life of the teacher.

Teachers can let their hair down when not in school. But, sharing that with a student may undermine the respect that a student should have for a teacher within the four walls of the school.

That said, social media can be a very important education tool.

Rather than have teachers friending students, another option may be a Facebook fan page, or some other online forum that teachers and students may use to communicate with one another and which the school can monitor.

There are ways to use Facebook to foster student development and education. Teachers friending students is not one of them.

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