LEE COUNTY, Fla.- It's a fine line for teachers on Facebook: should they "friend" students, or shouldn't they? The Lee County School District has come up with an answer, and now Lee County is schooling other education systems on social media.
"We don't want our teachers being friends with students on Facebook. It's inappropriate," Lee County School District Spokesperson Joe Donzelli said Friday.
LCSD is taking a strong stand on teachers, students, and social media.
A committee of school leaders crafted guidelines two years ago. It paved the way for teachers to better understand how to protect themselves and students from inappropriate online interactions.
"Yes, the First Amendment does guarantee you the ability to say what's on your mind. However, it does not absolve you of the ramifications or repercussions of engaging in that activity," Donzelli said.
Robin Miller's familiar with how technology's changed the boundaries of the classroom. The Fort Myers High math teacher-turned-tech specialist helped install the school's first computers decades ago.
She says the district guidelines have received a mixed response.
"It's hard for teachers, especially coaches. As we all know, the students today are on their phones all the day. I can get ahold of my son quicker by texting him than by calling him," Miller laughed.
Still, she says it's in the best interest of students and staffers.
Now, the district says other school systems are taking notes.
"I started getting emails and phone calls from school districts around the United States. 'We want to use your guidelines. Where can I find them," Donzelli said.
While teachers are advised against using Facebook to connect with students, the School District has a handful of online sites allowing teachers to offer support and supplement material to their kids outside of the classroom.