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Following moves in a number of states ban teachers and students from interacting via social media, now the employees of the Dayton Public School District in Ohio will no longer be allowed to "friend" students on Facebook.

Nor will they be able to instant message or text students or, according to a new district policy, "respond to student-initiated attempts at conversation through non-district approved media, whether personal or professional accounts."

The district's new policy is drawn from the Ohio School Board Association's recommendations on how schools should handle social media. Although the OSBA's suggestions aren't mandatory, they do call for the prohibition of access to personal social networking websites during school hours and of "fraternization" between staff and students via the Internet.

Unlike Missouri, where enforcement of the recently passed social networking ban has been blocked by a court injunction thanks to a challenge by the teachers' union, the Dayton Daily News reports that the Dayton Education Association is in support of the district's new policy. I think in this age of all this media out there, that's probably a safe thing for our teachers, says president David Romick, president of the Dayton Education Association. We hear stories all the time about kids who, for various reasons, (retaliate) against teachers on social media.

Clearly it's time for more stories about the kids who benefit because of the use of social media in schools, eh? Headlines like Facebook Turns Schools into Hellscapes of Abuse and Hysteria probably don't help much.

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Audrey Watters


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