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Longmeadow Looks to Curb Online Interation Between Students and Teachers

LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WGGB) –“Friending” teachers on sites like Facebook and Twitter isn’t for everyone.

Take it from Wolf Swamp Road School 5th grader, Ruby Rich. “Some teachers are nice, some teachers I prefer not to see outside of school, especially if I haven’t turned in a homework assignment, then I would prefer to get away from them,” she admitted.

The Longmeadow School Committee is proposing a new Social Media and Electronic Communication Policy.

It outlines specifics for social media boundaries between students and teachers across all grade levels, like not friending each other on Facebook or exchanging cellphone numbers.

However, according to committee Chairman Michael Clark, there are some appropriate times to do so. “We have students that go on field trips, there’s a lot of places in there where it is an appropriate use to give your number to a student, or a student to a teacher. But we need to define when that is. when giving your number to a teacher should be done. It shouldn’t be handed out for academic assistance or because you guys want to talk at night,” Clark stated.

Superintendent Marie Doyle says there hasn’t really been an issue at Longmeadow schools, but the policy can help avoid a sticky situation. “I  think every district will tell you there have been inappropriate communications. Whether they’re intentional, but I think that every district will tell you there have been concerns and that’s one of the reasons we need really clear policies,” Doyle said.

Every student through 8th grade has access to iPads or laptops in Longmeadow’s Public Schools, but some elementary students aren’t even concerned with being on Facebook. “There’s this website where you can build with Legos and they give you the sizes you need, and it’s really fun” smiled 3rd Grader Cooper Rich.

The policy isn’t a complete ban on students and teachers interacting online. Teachers can set up a Facebook Fan Page kids can like. They already interact on Edmodo, which is like an online classroom.

The school committee will hold a public forum on the policy next Wednesday at 7P.M. at the Glenbrook Middle School.


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