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What rules should Baton Rouge school staff follow on social media? New policy raises questions. | Courts – New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana 2022-05-19 14:00:00 –

Director Sito Narcisse calls on the East Baton Rouge Parish Board of Education to adopt a new, broader policy that strictly regulates what school employees can do on social media when it comes to interacting with students and discussing jobs and school districts. increase.

The proposed policy is “Use by employees on social media, ”Will be voted on Thursday at 5 pm when the school board meets. There was little debate, and the board gave unanimous preliminary approval to the new policy on May 5, but since then some parents have asked questions about the proposed policy.

Harmony Hobbes, the parent of public school children, sees the new policy as a clear effort to entice employees to share concerns about their school or school district.

“Basically, our leadership wants to be able to dismiss all employees who have the boldness to oppose them on social media.” Hobbs wrote in a public Facebook post on Monday.. “Silencing does not work.”

Benjamin Owens, another parent and lawyer, said the proposed policy was unconstitutional and took only a few minutes to conclude that “it is unlikely to survive a legal objection.” ..

“In particular, it is unconstitutionally ambiguous and widespread, means due process, and will cool the speech protected under the First Amendment,” Owens said.

Despite such concerns, some Louisiana school districts have similar policies for employees who use social media. The first one was the Orleans Parish School Board in June 2016. This is almost the same What the East Baton Rouge Parish is currently considering.

Locally, a school in the Livingston parochial school Adopted similar policy in July 2020.. Lafayette Parish School cWe considered a version of this policy in November 2018But quietly dropped the idea.

Currently, the school system of the East Baton Rouge Parish has a set of rules about what school employees can do on school grounds and on school computers. However, there are no specific rules regarding what employees can do on the Internet outside of school.

The school district has a policy that sets a general “code of conduct” for employees that can be called if they do something suspicious outside of school.

The new policy includes some new specific employee restrictions that, if violated, can lead to disciplinary action until dismissal.

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  • No sensitive information is posted about students, employees or the school district’s business.
  • There are no posts that “accuse or injure” the school board, school board members, school employees, or students.
  • All posts that relate to or refer to school districts, students, or other employees must be “experts.”
  • Posts of “blasphemous, pornographic, obscene, vulgar, obscene, vulgar, or sexually offensive language, photographs, graphics, or other communications reasonably expected to cause significant disruption to the school environment” is not.
  • There are no posts that contain “inappropriate content that adversely affects job performance.”
  • You may not post “identifiable images of a student or student’s family without the permission of the student and the student’s parent or legal guardian.”
  • Never accept current students as “friends” or “followers” or connect with students on social media sites unless you have a “family relationship or other kind of appropriate relationship born out of school”. please.

This policy defines social media to include personal websites, blogs, Wikis, social network sites, online forums, virtual worlds, and video sharing websites. It also covers “other social media that are not part of the Board of Education’s technology network and are generally available to the general public and consumers (Web 2.0 tools, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedln, Flickr, YouTube, etc.)”. There is also.

Gwin Shamlin, a corporate lawyer for the board, told the school board on May 5 that he helped develop new policies after being requested by Nicola Hall, chief officer of human resources. Told.

“This focuses on the use of social media employees that can occur outside the system, such as the use of the Internet and email,” says Shamlin. “That is, this is the use of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Shamlin said the policy was designed not to infringe on employee rights.

“There was a free speech issue to be aware of, so I had to walk a little tight rope to develop this,” Shamlin said.

In its letter, Owens invalidated the employee policy used by a May 10 judge at Jackson Public School in Jackson, Mississippi, which is similar to what East Baton Rouge is considering. It states. In that case, the judge The policy there was in breach of the Mississippi Constitution“But they also seriously threaten the public interest in public education.”

“JPS fully understands and participates in the public education system from students, parents, and other stakeholders such as lawmakers and taxpayers by silencing teachers, staff, employees, and supporters of the organization. It robs us of the important information we need to do so, and we meaningfully demand improvements where and when we need them, “special circuit judge Jess Dickinson wrote in a ruling.

New Orleans, Louisiana Recently settled proceedings In 2020, two public library workers said they violated the rights of Article 1 of the Constitutional Amendment over employee social media policies. As part of the reconciliation, the city government has removed the most controversial aspects of its previous policy. This includes provisions that city officials are not allowed to “engage or respond to negative or derogatory posts” about the city government.

Katie Schwartzman, Director Tlane University Law School First Amendment Clinic, Helped to represent these two city officials. She said the policies of the city of New Orleans differ in important respects, but said the policies proposed at East Baton Rouge raise her some potential First Amendment concerns. For example, this policy does not define an “expert” for what employees post on the Internet and may be used to target protected freedom of speech.

“What does it mean to be an expert, or is it intended to cover criticisms of public issues otherwise?” Schwartzman said.

What rules should Baton Rouge school staff follow on social media? New policy raises questions. | Courts Source link What rules should Baton Rouge school staff follow on social media? New policy raises questions. | Courts

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