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Social Media Guidelines

A. Introduction/Purpose
1. Social media technology can serve as a powerful tool to enhance education,
communication, and learning. This technology can provide both educational and
professional benefits. As a 21st century communication tool, it allows teachers,
students, parents, and the business community to engage, collaborate, learn, and share
in a digital environment.
2. Anderson Districts 1 and 2 Career and Technology Center (ACTC) is committed to
ensuring that all ACTC stakeholders who utilize social media technology for professional
purposes described below, including staff and students, do so in a safe and responsible
manner. ACTC strives to create professional social media environments that mirror the
academically supportive environment of our school.
3. These Social Media Guidelines provide guidance regarding recommended practices for
professional social media communication.
4. In recognition of the public and pervasive nature of social media communications, as
well as the fact that in this digital era, the lines between professional and personal
activities are sometimes blurred, these Guidelines also address recommended practices
for the use of personal social media by ACTC employees.
B. Definition of Social Media
Social media is defined as any form of online publication or presence that allows interactive
communication, including, but not limited to, social networks, blogs, Internet websites, Internet
forums, and wikis. Examples of social media include, but are not limited to, Facebook, Twitter,
Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, and Flickr.
1. Professional social media is a work-related social media activity that is school-based
(e.g., an instructor establishing an Instagram page for his/her program or Student
Services establishing a Twitter account).
2. Personal social media use is a non-work-related social media activity (e.g., an instructor
or staff member establishes a Facebook page or Twitter account for his/her own
personal use).
C. Applicability
These guidelines apply to all ACTC employees.

ACTC Social Media Guidelines

10/2016

D. Professional Social Media Use


1. Maintaining Separate Professional and Personal E-mail Accounts
ACTC employees who decide to engage in professional social media activities should
maintain separate professional and personal e-mail addresses. As such, ACTC
employees should not use their personal e-mail addresses for professional (schoolbased) social media activities. Rather, employees should use their ACTC e-mail address
that is completely separate from any personal social media they maintain.
2. Communication with ACTC Students
ACTC employees who work with students and communicate with students through
professional social media sites should follow these guidelines:
a. Professional social media sites that are school-based should be designed to
address the following matters: instructional, educational, extra-curricular,
promotional, or business/industry outreach.
b. Employees who engage in professional social media activities should notify
parents about the social media activities their children may participate in. This
can be done with a syllabus, e-mail, or introductory information sent to parents
at the beginning of the year or semester.
3. Guidance Regarding Professional Social Media Sites
a. ACTC employees should treat professional social media space and
communication like a classroom and/or a professional workplace. The same
standards expected in ACTC professional settings are expected on professional
social media sites. If a particular type of behavior is inappropriate in the
classroom or a professional workplace, then that behavior is also inappropriate
on the professional social media site.
b. ACTC employees should exercise caution, sound judgment, and common sense
when using professional social media sites.
c. When establishing professional social media sites, consider the intended
audience for the site and consider the level of privacy assigned to the site.
Consider whether the site should be a private network (for example, it is limited
to a particular program or class) or a public network (open to the public).
d. Employees should register their professional social media sites by going to
http://actcsocialmedia.weebly.com/site-registration.html and completing the
online registration. This will allow administration to maintain a directory of all
professional social media accounts created by ACTC employees.
e. Professional ACTC social media sites should include language identifying the
sites as professional social media sites to differentiate from personal sites. For
example, the professional sites can identify ACTC, department, program, or
particular class that is utilizing the site.

ACTC Social Media Guidelines

10/2016

f. ACTC employees should use privacy settings to control access to their


professional social media sites with the intent that communications only reach
the intended audience. However, employees should be aware that there are
limitations to privacy settings. Private communication published on the Internet
can easily become public. Furthermore, social media sites sometimes change
their current default privacy settings and other functions. As a result, each
employee should understand the rules of the social media site being utilized.
g. Professional social media communication must be in compliance with existing
ACTC policies, Acceptable Use Policy, Code of Conduct, and applicable laws,
including, but not limited to, prohibitions on the disclosure of confidential
information and prohibitions on the use of harassing, obscene, discriminatory,
defamatory, or threatening language.
h. No personally identifiable student information (such as phone numbers or
addresses) may be posted by ACTC employees on professional social media sites
that are open beyond the classroom. If images of students are to be posted
online, there must be a Student Locator Card with parental consent on file for
each child featured.
i. ACTC employees are responsible for original content posted to their
professional social media sites and should not share logins or passwords with
students. While ACTC students may participate in professional social media
sites (by serving as a photographer or videographer, for example), students
should not post to professional social media sites without the approval of the
instructor or other ACTC employee responsible for the site.
j. It is not recommended that ACTC employees post photos of other ACTC
employees on professional social media sites without prior permission of the
photographed employee.
4. Monitoring of Professional Social Media Sites
a. Employees using professional social media have no expectation of privacy with
regard to their use of such media. Professional social media sites will be
monitored to protect the school community.
b. ACTC administration and/or the social media administrator reserves the right to
remove postings and/or disable a page, of professional media sites that do not
adhere to the law or ACTC regulations or do not reasonably align with these
Guidelines.
c. Incidents of non-compliance may result in corrective action.
5. Press Inquiries
a. Any press inquiries received via professional social media sites should be
referred to Administration.

ACTC Social Media Guidelines

10/2016

E. Personal Social Media Use


1. Communication with ACTC Students
In order to maintain a professional and appropriate relationship with students, ACTC
employees should not communicate with students who are currently enrolled at ACTC
on personal social media sites. ACTC employees communication with ACTC students via
personal social media is subject to the following exceptions: (a) communication with
relatives and (b) if an emergency situation requires such communication, in which case
the ACTC employee should notify his/her supervisor of the contact as soon as possible.
2. Guidance Regarding Personal Social Media Sites
ACTC employees should exercise caution and common sense when using personal social
media sites:
a. As recommended practice, ACTC employees are encouraged to use appropriate
privacy settings to control access to their personal social media sites. However,
be aware that there are limitations to privacy settings. Private communication
published on the Internet can easily become public. Furthermore, social media
sites can change their current default privacy settings and other functions. As a
result, employees should understand the rules of the social media being utilized.
b. It is not recommended that ACTC employees tag photos of other ACTC
employees, ACTC volunteers, ACTC contractors, or ACTC vendors without the
prior permission of the individuals being tagged.
c. Personal social media use, including off-hours use, has the potential to result in
disruption at school and/or the workplace, and can be in violation of ACTC
policies, Code of Conduct, Acceptable Use Policy, and the law.
d. The posting or disclosure of personally identifiable student information or
confidential information via personal social media sites is prohibited.
e. ACTC employees should not use the ACTC logo or make representations that
their personal social media sites speak in an official ACTC capacity.
F. Applicability of ACTC Policies and Other Laws
1. These Guidelines provide guidance intended to supplement, not supersede, existing
ACTC policies, Code of Conduct, Acceptable Use Policy, and laws. Users of professional
social media sites must comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws, including
but not limited to the Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), Family
Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and intellectual property laws.
2. These guidelines are not designed to serve as a code of conduct for social media use and
do not constitute separate bases for potential discipline. However, all existing ACTC
policies, regulations, and laws that cover employee conduct may be applicable in the
social media environment. These include, but are not limited to ACTC Code of Conduct
and Acceptable Use Policy.

ACTC Social Media Guidelines

10/2016

3. ACTC employees who are mandatory reporters under South Carolina law (for such issues
as child abuse and child maltreatment) are required to abide by the same reporting
responsibilities in a social media context.
G. Additional Inquiries
This document is meant to provide general guidance and does not cover every potential social
media situation. Should any questions arise, please consult the Social Media Playbook
(http://actcsocialmedia.weebly.com) or contact your supervisor. As these Guidelines address
rapidly changing technology, ACTC will regularly revisit these Guidelines and will update them as
needed.

ACTC Social Media Guidelines

10/2016