AISD to Teachers: Be Cautious When Communicating With Students

Holly Shelton, AISD Communications Director
Holly Shelton, AISD Communications Director

Amarillo ISD teachers are being warned to be cautious... A new policy urges them to be careful when communicating electronically with students.

The new paragraph in the policy on employee standards puts a new spin on an old rule... It lets teachers know that whatever is inappropriate in face-to-face contact with students is still inappropriate online.

AISD Communications Director Holly Shelton says, "Emailing and social networking and blogging." It's the way most students communicate with each other, and now this new AISD policy is laying down the law when it comes to teachers joining in those conversations.

"Any form of communication needs to remain professional and appropriate at all times." As for exactly what constitutes professional... "It's up to the teacher to decide."

But Shelton warns, when making that decision teachers need to be careful. Always keep in mind that in any form of electronic communication, there's going to be a record of it, a history of it."

And if it is discovered that that electronic contact with students is anything other than professional, there will be serious consequences. "We're trying to stress to our employees that this is serious and crossing that line could result in you losing your job."

Canyon ISD already has a similar policy in place. They are, though, adding a new clause to the student policy this year... It outlaws any usage of another student or teacher's picture or personal information on a website without their consent.

Neither district says they've had an incident that warrants any of the changes. They are simply being proactive and trying to stop trouble before it starts.