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6230 Policy on the Official Use of social media

Purpose

To address the fast-changing landscape of the Internet and the way students, parents, and patrons communicate with and obtain information from the School online, School personnel may consider using social media tools to reach a broader audience. The Board encourages the use of social media to further the mission and goals of the School, where appropriate.

The Board has an overriding interest and expectation in deciding what is “spoken” on behalf of the School on social media sites. This policy establishes guidelines for the official use of social media. This policy should be used in conjunction with (not instead of) the School’s other policies.

1.      Responsible Staff Member. As is the case for the School’s websites, a particular staff member must be designated to be responsible for the content and upkeep of each School social media site. 

2.      Typical Site Approval. A designated building administrator must approve of each social media site, in advance, and be provided the address, login, and password. This information will then be relayed to the School’s Information Technology Director as described later in this policy.

3.      Approval of Sites for Broader Audience. All School social media sites maintained by an administrator and/or designed to address building or district-wide issues will also be subject to approval, in advance, by the Superintendent or his designee.

4.      School Sites Belong to the School. All School social media sites are the property of the School, shall remain under the exclusive control of the School, and the content of such sites may be accessed, reviewed, revised, deleted, and/or disclosed by the School, in compliance with applicable law. No staff member has any right or expectation of ownership, control, and/or privacy in any School social media site. Staff members should not create personal or private social media sites that give the impression of being an approved, official, or school-sponsored site. Instead, in such circumstances, staff members should make it clear they are speaking on their own behalf, separate and distinct from the School.

5.      The School’s Website. The School’s websites (i.e., www.sacs.k12.in.us) will remain the School’s primary and predominant internet presences.

a.       The best, most appropriate School uses of social media tools fall generally into three categories:

                                                  i.      As channels for disseminating time-sensitive information as quickly as possible (i.e., emergency information, last minute schedule changes, etc.).

                                                ii.      As marketing/promotional channels which increase the School’s ability to broadcast its messages to the widest possible audience.

                                              iii.      To serve an educational purpose in a better or more effective way than traditional means. Approval will generally not be given for a Facebook account to be used for core classroom activities as opposed to the dissemination of information to the public at large.

b.      Wherever appropriate, content posted to School social media sites will also be available on the School’s main website.

c.       Wherever appropriate, content posted to School social media sites should contain links directing users back to the School’s official websites for in-depth information, forms, documents or online services.

6.      Compliance with Other Policies. To the maximum extent possible, School social media sites shall comply with applicable Board policies and other School guidelines or procedures. Any exceptions must be approved in writing by the Superintendent or his designee.

7.      Public Records. School social media sites may be subject to Indiana public records laws. Any content maintained in a social media format that is related to School business, including a list of subscribers and posted communication, could arguably be a public record. The staff member in charge of maintaining a particular social media site is responsible for assisting the School’s Business Manager and/or legal counsel to completely and accurately respond to any public records request. Content related to School business shall be maintained in an accessible format so that it can be produced in response to a request. Wherever possible, such sites shall clearly indicate that any articles and other content posted or submitted for posting are subject to public disclosure. Users shall be notified that public disclosure requests must be directed to the School’s Business Manager.

8.      Record Retention. Indiana law and relevant School records retention policies may apply to social media formats and content. The staff member in charge of maintaining a particular social media site shall preserve records required to be maintained pursuant to a relevant records retention policy on a School server in a format that preserves the integrity of the original record and is easily accessible.

9.      Required Monitoring. A successful School social media site requires “babysitting.” The particular staff member designated to be responsible for the content and upkeep of the site is responsible for monitoring the site and all official posts should be approved by that person. At a minimum, the staff member should review the site for monitoring purposes no less than once per week when school is in session and at reasonable intervals when school is not in session. The staff member responsible for the content and upkeep of the site is also responsible for making sure content is not stale and messages receive an appropriate and timely response. A back-up staff member must be designated in case the primarily responsible staff member is unavailable.

10. Comments. The ability for users or visitors to comment on a School social media site, such as on a Facebook Wall, will ordinarily be turned off and will only be allowed on a case-by-case basis with prior approval of the Superintendent or his designee.

11. Following or Friending. School social media sites should not “follow” or “friend” other users, but exceptions may be permitted with prior written approval of the Superintendent or his designee. Of course, School social media sites can have followers and fans.

12. Content Restrictions. School social media site articles and comments (in the limited circumstances in which comments are permitted) containing any of the following content shall not be allowed:

a.       Comments not topically related to the particular social media article being commented upon;

b.      Comments in support of or opposition to political campaigns or ballot measures, including partisan political advocacy or promotional lobbying on a public question; provided, however, such limitations do not apply to statements that are solely informational; Profane language or content;

c.       Content that promotes, fosters, or perpetuates discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, gender, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation;

d.      Sexual content or links to sexual content;

e.       Solicitations for personal, commercial, or other non-school related purposes;

f.       Conduct or encouragement of illegal activity;

g.      Information that may tend to compromise the safety or security of the public or public systems; or

h.      Content that violates a legal ownership interest of any other party.

These guidelines should be displayed to users or made available by hyperlink. Any content removed based on these guidelines must be retained, including the time, date and identity of the poster when available.

13. Content Removal. The School reserves the right to restrict or remove any content that is deemed in violation of this social media policy or any applicable law or policy.

14. Consistency. The School will approach the use of social media tools as consistently as possible, district wide.

15. Approval of New Tools. All new social media tools proposed for School use must be pre-approved by the Superintendent or his designee prior to implementation.

16. Approved Tools. For each social media tool approved for use by the School, the Superintendent, the Information Technology Director, and/or their designees may develop and adopt guidelines, standards, and/or processes. Any such guidelines, standards, and/or processes must be followed.

17. Site Registration with IT.

a.       The School’s Information Technology Director will maintain a list of social media tools which are approved for use by the School.

b.      The School’s Information Technology Director will maintain a list of all School social media sites, including their addresses, logins, and passwords. Building administrators will inform the School’s Information Technology Director of any new social media sites or administrative changes to existing sites.

c.       The School must be able to immediately edit or remove content from social media sites.

18. Separate Email Account. Each social media site will be set up in conjunction with a separate School-based email account designated by the School’s Information Technology Director. That email account will reflect the purpose of the account as opposed to the identity of a particular person (i.e., SACSBoysBasketball@sacs.k12.in.us as opposed to jdoe@sacs.k12.in.us). The only exception to this requirement is that a teacher may use their existing SACS-based email address to create a social media account that is limited in scope to their own classroom. For example, a teacher may register a Twitter account with their SACS-account (i.e., jdoe@sacs.k12.in.us) for use by the parents of an elementary school class to remind those parents of upcoming tests. Such an account must still comply with all other requirements of this policy, including informing the School’s Information Technology Director of the account’s existence and archiving social media activity.

19. Required Archiving. For purposes of archiving, automatic email notifications of social media activity shall be enabled to the greatest extent possible, directed to the School email account associated with the site, and retained in that account until such time as deletion is permitted.   Content that is not stored in the designated email account, cannot be retrieved from the social media site directly, and needs to be retained as a record, needs to be printed or otherwise maintained on a periodic basis. Unless required to be done on a more frequent basis by policy, procedure, or law, the responsible staff member site should archive the site no less than once per nine-weeks when school is in session and at reasonable intervals when school is not in session. Such archives need not be visible to the public, but may need to be accessible for public document retention purposes.

20. Identification of Persons.

a.       Permission should ordinarily be obtained from any staff member before displaying their voice, likeness, or information via social media.

b.      A student’s voice, likeness, or information should only be displayed via social media in limited circumstances where appropriate. If a student’s voice, likeness, or information is displayed via social media, it shall be limited to directory information or information that the School otherwise has permission to display.

c.       The display of the voice, likeness, or information of any person must be done in a reasonable, respectful, and professional manner and it must be removed upon the request of the individual in question. Moreover, the staff member designated to be responsible for the content and upkeep of the social media site shall ensure compliance with School policies.

21. Posting of Student Work.

a.       Student work shall not be posted unless prior permission from the parent or eligible student (18 years or older) has been obtained.

b.      Student work should be identified by number, topic, class or first name only. 

c.       Student work may include, but is not limited to: web pages, artwork, graphic design, written documents, multimedia presentations, projects, etc.

22. Site naming.

a.       The name of a School social media site should be descriptive of the subject area being addressed.

b.      Names will be chosen carefully with consideration for abbreviations, slang iterations, etc.

c.       The building administrator will approve proposed names.

d.      The name of a School social media site should ordinarily begin with “SACS,” but exceptions may be permitted with prior written approval of the Superintendent or his designee.

23. High Standards. The staff member designated to be responsible for the content of a School social media site shall make every effort to use proper grammar and standard AP style and to avoid jargon and abbreviations on School social media sites. Social media is more casual than most other communication tools, but still represents the School at all times.

24. Required Language. To the maximum extent possible, each School social media site shall include the following boilerplate language:

[Site sponsor] is a representative of the School, www.sacs.k12.in.us. This site is intended to serve as a mechanism for communication between students, parents, and/or patrons and [site sponsor] on the listed topics. Any comments submitted and its list of followers may be public records subject to disclosure pursuant to law. Public disclosure requests must be directed to the School’s Business Manager.

For School social media sites with character restrictions, such as Twitter, the site shall include the following boilerplate language:

[Account sponsor]: Comments, list of followers may be subject to public disclosure unless otherwise protected by law. If appropriate, the following will also be added: This site is not monitored. Call 911 for emergencies.

Where possible, a link to www.sacs.k12.in.us, should also be included.

(Adopted 1-21-14)

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