1. Social Networking and Your Staff: Know the Rules and Avoid Risk

Social Networking and Your Staff: Know the Rules and Avoid Risk

Event ID: 72637
Session ID: 15626
Duration: Scheduled for 90 minutes including question and answer period.
Presenter(s): Melissa Fleischer, attorney at law and president, HR Learning Center, LLC
Credits: 1.5 HRCI, 1.5 SHRM


Social Networking and Your Staff: Know the Rules and Avoid Risk

Teachers argue that their right to free speech is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution, but when it comes to their use of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other social media that right may not be as clear cut as they believe. Courts have found that in certain instances social networking posts by teachers may have crossed the line, and strayed from posts of a purely personal non-work related nature and become a work-related post. This might have been a post about a student, fellow teacher, their district employer, etc.

Why are school districts becoming increasingly concerned about what their teachers are posting on line? Obviously, there are the risks to students, but also, as social media posts become increasingly public in nature, there is the potential for damaging comments about school districts and their employees going viral and causing even more damage. This could have significant legal consequences for districts and their students and employees. But what are school employers to do? The answer may in part begin with making sure their social networking policies and procedures are up to date and reflect current trends. School districts should understand that when it comes to social networking posts it’s not just the students, but, also, your teachers who you also need to be concerned about. In our “social networking society” where lines between work and after work behavior can become blurred school districts need to make sure that their polices reflect the latest developments including: how to respond to claims of virtual harassment, the continuing expectations by teachers of their right to privacy and free speech, teacher use of cell phone cameras, continuing developments relating to off-duty conduct, etc. just to mention several of the areas your policies need to address.

Please join Melissa Fleischer, attorney at law, as she offers her analysis and guidance for identifying the key risks school employers need to understand and deal with when it comes to their teachers and social networking in this new era where “Facebook has replaced the teachers’ lounge.”


Just a sampling of what this webinar will cover:

  • Review the implications of recent court decisions on the use of social networking by teachers both during and after work
  • Discuss the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Pickering v. Board of Education, for teacher social networking
  • Review the free speech rights of the First Amendment and how they affect social networking by teachers
  • Discuss whether there are different levels of protection provided for teachers with greater amounts of tenure
  • Find out how to draft policies which take into consideration teacher social networking
  • Discuss how to deal with teacher-student inappropriate relationships and communication via social media
  • Understand how to discipline teachers who violate social networking policies
  • Discuss when a school district may be charged with discrimination, retaliation, etc. for enforcing its social networking policy
  • Review relevant case studies

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