EDISON, NJ – The Edison Board of Edison adopted two revised policies regarding electronic communications between students, teachers and support staff at Monday's meetings.

Policy 3283 – Electronic Communications Between Teaching Staff Members and Students

Policy 4283 - Electronic Communications Between Support Staff Members and Students

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The policies provide guidance and directions to prevent improper electronic communications between teaching and support staff members and students.

Electronic communications include, but are not limited to, emails, text messages, instant messages, and communications made by means of an Internet website, including social media and social media networking sites.

Early this year Governor Christie signed the legislation supported by the  New jersey School Board Association which requires local school boards to have policies governing the use of social media communication between teachers and students.  

“With the rise of the Internet, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites and digital communications, it became clear that school boards wanted guidance on how to maintain proper communications between students and teachers,” said New Jersey School Board Association President John Bulina .

The law requires school districts to adopt a written policy concerning electronic communications between school employees and students. At minimum, the policy must include provisions governing communication between school employees and students via email, cell phones, social networking websites and other Internet-based social media.

Improper communications include but are not limited to:

  1. Communications of a sexual nature or overtone
  2. Sexually oriented humor or language
  3. Sexual advances
  4. Encouraging, promoting or advocating use of alcohol or tobacco
  5. Illegal use of prescription drugs or controlled substances
  6. Illegal gambling or other illegal activities.
  7. Past relationships
  8. Profanity, obscene language, lewd comments or pornography
  9. Harassment, intimidation, or bullying

Prohibited Communications include but not limited to:

  1. Personal cellular telephone
  2. Text messaging – unless pre-approved related to course work or activity.
  3. Teacher’s personal social networking website or Internet based website.

“A policy designed to prevent inappropriate communications between students and staff is critical in helping school boards to ensure child safety and guide instructional staff. We hope our sample policy will serve as a tool that enables school boards to keep up with the changing digital world, and meet the requirements of the new law,” Bulina said.

Editors Note: The article is a combined synopsis of items referenced in each policy. Refer to the full policy for exact language and specifics.