Social Networking, Sexting , and YouTube: Protect Your Students, Protect Your School
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Self Expression on the Web: Whats a School to Do?
Social Networking, Sexting, and YouTube: Protect Your Students, Protect Your School
4th AnnualSW/WC Service Cooperative Technology ConferenceLittle Buffalo Law & ConsultingDisclaimerThe information in this presentation is not legal advice and is not intended as legal advice. It is intended to provide general legal information. It does not cover all issues related to the topics discussed. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than you might anticipate based on the material presented. Please consult with your own attorney with regard to specific issues.Little Buffalo Law & ConsultingSources of LawConstitutional lawCodified lawCase lawContract law (private law)Little Buffalo Law & ConsultingWhat the Content creator claimsWhat others might claimFree SpeechLibelSlanderHarassmentInvasion of privacyUnfair competitionRight to publicityFree speechNegligence Legal ClaimsLittle Buffalo Law & ConsultingUse of school resources: what may schools restrict? Little Buffalo Law & ConsultingObscene, rude, and discriminatory speechCriminal or dangerous speechSpeech that could cause damage or that presents a danger for the school or a school memberSpeech that abuses or clogs the school internet systemIf policy clearly declares the school system a limited forum: anything of a non-educational nature.Student non-school use of the Internet: what may schools restrict?Little Buffalo Law & ConsultingStudent speech is likely to be protected unless the content:Constitutes a material disruption to class work; or Involves a substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others.In practice, courts generally protect student speech unless it contains threats and references to violence.Creating private law for the schoolPolicies . . .Prescribe rules of conductInstruct re: privacy and personal safety issuesIdentify school Internet system as a limited forumLimit use of school Internet systemsAddress the unique circumstances of laptop schoolsEstablish free speech parameters for private and parochial schools Little Buffalo Law & ConsultingWhat falls into the private law category?Acceptable use policies (for students and staff)Classroom and project specific guidelinesParent permission slipsStudent use contractsAge-specific access policiesLittle Buffalo Law & ConsultingMulti-step approachIdentify the technology issueConduct a stakeholder analysisConduct a policy auditDraft/amend policy, if necessaryDevelop strategies and solutions to maximize safety and minimize riskLittle Buffalo Law & ConsultingConducting a stakeholder analysisWho in your school community is affected by technology issues?Little Buffalo Law & ConsultingWho are the stakeholders?Identify all stakeholders who is affected by the technology issue and who will be affected by a policy?Prioritize stakeholders who must be won over? Who needs notice? Who can assist with the process?Little Buffalo Law & ConsultingKEEP SATISFIEDMANAGE CLOSELYMONITOR (MINIMUM EFFORT)KEEP INFORMEDHighLowLowHighPowerInterestConducting a policy auditWhat are the current issues facing your school involving technology?Little Buffalo Law & ConsultingConduct a policy auditHas your school done the following:Made an assessment of legal risks arising from the use of classroom technology?Communicated clear expectations and boundaries re: all uses of the technology?Enlisted student, staff, and parent input in drafting school technology contracts?Established training requirements and policy acceptance procedures prior to allowing use of technology resources?Little Buffalo Law & ConsultingConduct a policy audit, cont.Incorporated parent education into your schools technology strategy?Established a chain of command for reporting incidents?Reviewed the policies on a regular basis since instituting them? (Ask: Are the current policies flexible enough to deal with new/emerging technologies? What new issues need to be addressed now that didnt exist previously?)Little Buffalo Law & ConsultingSocial networking scenariosDeveloping strategies for K-12 schoolsLittle Buffalo Law & ConsultingImposter sitesJ.S. through her parents Terry Snyder and Steven Snyder v. Blue Mountain School Dist. (Decision pending by 3rd Circuit)
Middle school student suspended for 10 days for creating derogatory imposter MySpace site portraying school principal as a pedophile and sex addict.
Parents brought suit alleging a violation of their childs free speech rights and their rights as parents to determine how best to raise, nurture, discipline, and educate their child.Most commonly appear on social networking sites.Teachers and school administrators are common targets, as are students. Related legal claims: defamation, invasion of privacy, violations of free speech.Little Buffalo Law & ConsultingTeacher/staff websites, and blogsPayne v. Barrow County School Dist.
Teacher alleges she was forced to resign her position without adequate notice or due process when confronted about Facebook photo in which she is holding an alcoholic beverage and a status update in which she used the word bitch.Off campus speech of public school teachers is scrutinized to a much greater extent than the speech of average persons. Off campus activity is a gray area for teacher free speech. Teachers also need to be aware that their on campus speech is subject to state Data Practices Acts.Little Buffalo Law & Consulting18Student and teacher communicationLouisiana state law effective November 2009:Schools required to document all electronic communication between teachers and students.Extends to personal devices, not owned by the schools.Failure to comply may constitute a willful neglect of duty.Should teachers and students text and call each other on their personal cell phones? Should students and teachers be social networking friends? Are there risks associated with allowing these types of casual contacts? How and to what extent teachers should use these technologies to communicate with students is a matter of much debate.Little Buffalo Law & Consulting19SextingLogan v. Sycamore High School
Allegations:School did not stop the bullying, taunting, harassmentNo formal letter sent by school to teachers or members of school communityNo counseling to help the student and no action to protect her privacy.A newly coined term used to describe the practice among teens and young adults of sending sexually explicit photos to each other on their cell phones. Legislators are scrambling to get new laws in place to decriminalize the activity.Little Buffalo Law & Consulting20Disciplining studentsT.V. and M.K. v. Smith-Green Community School
Class action seeking declaratory and injunctive relief and damages for students suspended from extra-curricular activities and forced into unwarranted, mental health counseling for summertime Facebook postings that were deemed to reflect discredit upon the school and which created a disruptive influence on the good order, moral, or educational environment of the school.
A number of cases have surfaced across the country in which parents are suing schools for inappropriately harsh discipline. Court rulings are mixed. Are students exercising free speech rights? Are there limits on the discipline schools may impose?What risks do schools run when they choose not to discipline?Little Buffalo Law & Consulting21Additional discipline casesMiranda Jackson v. Pearl Public School Dist. (cheerleader sues school and coach for violation of her rights of privacy and free speech when coach demands access to private Facebook page and shares content with others at school).J.W. v. Desoto County School Dist. (parent sues school alleging illegal search and seizure and challenging expulsion from school of her middle grade son who read a text message in class in violation of school cell phone policy).
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Drafting/amending policyProviding community guidelinesLittle Buffalo Law & ConsultingDrafting/amending policyCollect data. Solicit input. Draft the new/revised policy. Circulate the draft of the new/revised policy. Approve and disseminate the new/revised policy. Little Buffalo Law & ConsultingPolicy development: general guidelinesAmend school policies to include prohibitions against cyber-bullying Draft school policies re: cell phones, cameras, recording devices, and other emerging technology.Make policies age/grade appropriate.Revisit and revise policy frequently.Little Buffalo Law & ConsultingSchool policy re: staff/teacher social media useMINNETONKA SCHOOL DISTRICTPolicy #470 Employee Use of Social Media Networks
http://www.bb.minnetonka.k12.mn.us/bbcswebdav/xid-775415_1 Little Buffalo Law & ConsultingStrategies and solutionsMaximizing safety and minimizing riskLittle Buffalo Law & ConsultingMake compliance easyPurchase licensed products and services for students and staff that reduce or eliminate the need to access non-licensed works.Purchase products and services with adequate (age-appropriate) privacy protections.Provide detailed guidance and parameters for staff members developing online course materials.Little Buffalo Law & ConsultingKeep your fingers on the pulseEducate, disclose, seek feedback: the more input and documentation you have from students, parents, and administration, the better.Develop an awareness of how students and staff are using technology.Role play with students about what to do if inappropriate or suggestive comments are posted by others; role play with staff about what to do if they detect inappropriate use of technology; educate older students, in particular, about the risks of too much self disclosure.Little Buffalo Law & ConsultingAddress ethical behavior with students and staffCommunicate and