Code of ethics restricts social media interaction between teachers and students

Published: Aug. 8, 2011 at 9:57 PM CDT|Updated: Feb. 18, 2013 at 10:21 PM CST
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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - "It is not Facebook that is the problem," said Attorney Jim Keith. "It is not texting that is the problem, but it's what you do with it that it is the problem."

Keith represents the Mississippi School Boards Association.

He said this year when teachers, principals and coaches sign a contract they are agreeing to the new Mississippi Educator Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct.

The language is clear, there should be no "invitation to social networking."

"It sets up a social connectivity with teachers that violates that professional student - teacher relationship that has got to exist at all times," Keith said. "Kids today can't distinguish between the two."

It is the same rule for texting.

No educator should share an exclusive text message with a student.

"The one on one texting is inappropriate," Keith said. "If a coach needs to text a player well you can text that player and a coach or all the players for that matter."

School districts across the state were training their educators.

"It can be difficult, but we think it is important," said John Neal, Director of Community Relations and Drop Out Prevention for Hinds County Schools.

Before classes began, the Hinds County School District held a seminar for all staff explaining the new rules.

Next week they will hold a teen summit where texting and social media will be a main topic of discussion.

"Educators understand even though you want to bring the world of Facebook and the Internet as part of learning, but there is also a boundary area," Neal said.

To read the Mississippi Educator Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct go to .

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