Employee Use of Social Media
The Mid-Prairie Community School District encourages staff members to ‘tell our story’ through social media and fully expects its employees to model responsible and appropriate conduct, both at school and away from school. Employees’ use of social media forms, including social networking sites such as Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, personal web pages and blogs, and electronic messaging, are subject to the normal requirements of legal and ethical behavior within the district community. Employees should be guided by applicable laws, District policies, and sound professional judgment when using social media.
District/Professional Use of Social Media
An employee using social media in his or her professional capacity as an employee of the District and/or pursuant to his or her official duties should be honest about who he or she is, and be thoughtful and respectful when submitting or posting messages. In addition, employees using social media for such purposes should adhere to the following guidelines:
- If you are participating on a social networking website, web page, and/or blog for District-related business, you may only do so with the prior approval of your supervisor.
- You must identify yourself and your position within the District. Always use your real name and never create an alias or be anonymous.
- The ‘mphawks.org’ address attached to your name and/or email implies that you are acting on behalf of the District, and, as such, you are expected to conduct yourself in a professional manner.
- Any information shared via social media regarding the business of the District, whether using personal or District equipment, may be considered public record. All information communicated through or maintained on the District’s system is subject to being monitored or inspected at any time.
- Do not submit or post confidential information about the District, its students, alumni, or employees. You should assume that most information about a student is protected from disclosure by both federal law (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and state law (Iowa Code Section 22.7(1)). Disclosures of confidential or protected information may result in liability for invasion of privacy or defamation.
- Keep in mind that, by their very nature, social media forms such as social networking websites and web pages or blogs are not truly private. To minimize unintended disclosure of information, you should set and maintain your social networking privacy settings at the most restrictive level.
- Internet search engines can find information years after it was originally posted. Comments can be forwarded or copied and archival systems can save information even if you delete the post. You should assume that a message or image which is posted or communicated can never be completely deleted.
- Spell check and grammar check your content before you submit or post messages, and correct any mistakes as soon as you can. Remember that you are writing for a publication, even if it is just for a social networking website. Refrain from making unsubstantiated statements and avoid careless comments, such as ‘research shows’ unless you also provide full citations of the research.
Personal Use of Social Media
The District recognizes the prevalence of social media used for personal purposes and acknowledges that its employees have the right under the First Amendment to speak out on matters of public concern. However, the District also has the right to regulate the speech of employees in certain circumstances, such as when the personal use of social media interferes with the employee’s ability to perform his or her duties or affects the District’s ability to effectively provide educational services. Accordingly, it is essential that employees conduct themselves in such a way that their personal use of social media does not adversely affect their position with the District.
- If you are participating on a social networking website, web page, and/or blog for personal use, you may identify yourself as an employee of the District. However, you must state that you are expressing your own opinion, not that of the District. You will be held fully responsible for your activities.
- If you identify yourself as a District employee, remember that your actions will reflect not only on you but on the District as well.
- Never pretend to be someone else and submit or post information concerning the District.
- Do not use the District’s school logos and mascots, photographs, or any other such graphic representations or images on your personal social media.
- Do not link any personal page on a social networking website or other personal web page to any District website or material.
- If you submit or post information or comments that are not related to the District, your activities may still result in professional repercussions. Such actions include, but are not limited to, posting of photographs or information which violates federal or state law and regulations and/or District policies and rules.
- Keep in mind that you do not have control of what others may submit or post on social networking websites; therefore, be aware that your conduct in your private life may affect your professional life. Be vigilant about what others post about you or on your page and, if necessary, take steps to remove comments that pose a risk to you or the District.
- It could be viewed as inappropriate for District employees to communicate with current students enrolled in the District through social media, such as through electronic messaging or any social networking website. This includes becoming ‘friends’ on such sites or otherwise allowing students to access your site page to communicate. You should refrain from creating personal pages on social networking websites and other personal web pages or electronic messaging that permit social interaction with current students enrolled in the district.
- Employees may use professional web pages that are created through the District and used solely for school-related purposes. You should notify parents of your intention to use this media to communicate with students and the intended purpose of such communications. All ethical expectations for appropriate employee/student relationships must be followed.
- You should refrain from providing your personal contact information to students currently enrolled in the District. You should only provide your official District email address and/or telephone number as a way to communicate with students or parents regarding District business. It is recommended to use Remind, or a similar service, to communicate with students and families, if needed.
- During the work day, you should refrain from participating on any personal social media, regardless of whether such participation is through District or personal equipment.
Employees who fail to comply with this policy or who make other inappropriate use of social media may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge. If an employee has any questions about the application of this policy, he or she should consult his or her supervisor.
Download Copy - Staff Technology User Guidelines
Technology Resources Use Guidelines
Acceptable Use--The use of the school's technology resources must be in support of education and research and consistent with the district's educational objectives. Technology resources not only include district-owned computers and servers but all resources used in the infrastructure. The infrastructure includes the wired network as well as the wireless network and the utilization of bandwidth associated with each segment of the network.
Technology resources may be used for academic, school-related purposes: e.g. instruction, research, production.
Technology resources may not be used for the following non-academic purposes:
- playing non-educational games
- instant messaging
- personal emailing or web surfing
- accessing social networking sites for personal use
- downloading and/or uploading non-school-related content
In addition, users are prohibited from:
- creating or using proxy websites to bypass the district’s filtering (CIPA) program
- conducting a commercial business using the school’s technology resources
- running programs designed to intercept packets or to disrupt the security or operation of the school’s network
- participating in activities such as piracy—either the attainment or distribution of software or other copyrighted materials—over the school’s network
- hosting chats or games over the school’s network
Privileges--The use of the school's technology resources is a privilege, not a right, and inappropriate use will result in the cancellation of those privileges and/or disciplinary action. Disciplinary action will be taken according to due process outlined in the student handbook. The following privileges may be denied as a result of disciplinary action:
- Access to a user folder
- Access to printing
- Access to all productivity applications
- Access to the student information system
- Access to the library catalog
- Access to reference databases
- Access to the internet
If a student is denied these privileges due to disciplinary action, necessary accommodations for completion of classroom assignments will be made.
If a parent wishes to exclude their child from internet usage, it should be indicated on the student registration card.
Etiquette--Users are expected to abide by the generally accepted rules of network etiquette. Users are not to modify the standard configuration of any computer. Users must login and logout from the network properly. Users should report any malfunction to the appropriate staff. Users should not use the network in any way that disrupts use by others.
Email--User use of non-academic related email should be kept to a minimum. Messages relating to or in support of illegal activities may be reported to the proper authorities. Illegal activities are strictly forbidden. This includes but is not limited to threats, harassment, stalking, and fraud. Intellectual Property--Users must respect the intellectual property of others by crediting sources and following all copyright laws. Users may not download or install software on school computers.
Vandalism--Vandalism will be grounds for losing technology privileges. This is defined as any attempt to modify, harm or destroy the equipment, the computer configuration, or data of another user, the school’s network, the Internet, or any other network.
Network Accounts--Users are assigned a network account login which may be used on any computer in the school. The login gives users access to printers and resources. It also gives users storage space on the building file server. This space may only be used to store documents created for school-related projects. Users may not use the network to store programs or applications of any type, or non-school-related files. Files stored in users’ accounts are not guaranteed to be private. School staff may review the contents of user accounts to maintain system integrity and ensure responsible and appropriate use. Inappropriate use of user accounts may result in disciplinary actions, including loss of computer access privileges.
Personal Computers Using Network--Users are permitted to access the school’s wired and wireless network with their own computers, however the same acceptable use guidelines are in effect. Users may not engage in activities that consume excessive amounts of network bandwidth, such as downloading, uploading and/or live streaming non-school-related content. If network administrators suspect high utilization of bandwidth or inappropriate use of district technology resources, a user may be asked to turn over a device and any passwords needed to verify the suspicions.
Security--Security on the computer network is imperative. Specific actions are prohibited:
- Using another user's account without permission.
- Sending network broadcast messages, thereby disrupting network use by others.
- Attempting to breach the desktop security of a computer.
- Attempting to break into password protected areas of a network or tampering with network systems.
- Accessing unauthorized portions of the student information system.
- Inappropriately messaging through the student information system.
Any user identified as a security risk may be denied access to the school's technology resources.