Poll: Should Teachers and Students Be 'Friends' on Facebook?

Some say it's a great way to communicate with kids. Others say it's creepy. What do you think?


Should students and teachers ever be friends on Facebook?

It's a new question school districts around the country are having to consider.

In some cases, there's been inappropriate contact when the friending has occurred.

According to the Huffington Post, a teacher in New York "friended several female students and wrote comments including 'this is sexy' under their photos."  And this: "A substitute teacher sent a message to a student saying that her boyfriend did not "deserve a beautiful girl like you."

At the same time, districts have to consider the academic benefits of social networking. There are some who say social media – particularly Facebook – can be an excellent means of communicating with today's youth, since a great majority log onto Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other Internet mechanisms on a daily basis.

Nancy Willard, author of "Cyber Savvy: Embracing Digital Safety and Civility," is quoted in the Huffington Post article. She sees a fundamental problem with Facebook.

"On Facebook, flirting is encouraged," she told HuffPo. "You are encouraged to post your relationship status and your relationship interests. That's not appropriate for a relationship between teachers and students."

What do you think? What do your kids think? If you're a teacher, what are your feelings? Take our poll, and leave us your comments.

Jack's Advocate May 19, 2012 at 02:46 PM
As a high school substitute teacher, here's my take: My students who I sub for do not know my first name, and it's for good reason. I don't want them to send me a Facebook friend request. It has nothing to do with my "privacy" or anything like that, but it's because our relationship is specifically teacher-student. Now, I have nothing wrong with a student friend-requesting or messaging their teachers for the sake of academic purposes, but as a substitute, after I am with them for that day (unless it's a long term assignment with a specific class), I have no ties with their academic work, therefore I have no reason to communicate with them outside of the period that I am substituting them for. However, when the time comes that I am no longer substitute teaching and a student happens to discover who I am and sends me a friend request, I have no problem being their Facebook friends and staying connected with them for the future. If I am ever their "current" teacher (and as long as I'm a sub, I will entitle myself with that status), my Facebook friend they will never be. The only fly in the ointment is I have coached softball since my own early days in high school, and I am also currently coaching HS softball. The player-coach relationship works well communicating over Facebook, so I have current and former players on my Facebook friends list which I won't delete for the sole reason that I also happen to sub some of them. It can work out greatly if handled right.
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Selena Nicole Delgado January 23, 2013 at 09:55 PM
This is really helpful. Thank you.


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