5:125 Personal Technology and Social Media; Usage and Conduct
Includes – Means “includes without limitation” or “includes, but is not limited to.”
Social media – Media for social interaction, using highly accessible web-based and/or mobile technologies that allow users to share content and/or engage in interactive communication through online communities. This includes, but is not limited to, services such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and YouTube.
Personal technology – Any device that is not owned or leased by the District or otherwise authorized for District use and: (1) transmits sounds, images, text, messages, videos, or electronic information, (2) electronically records, plays, or stores information, or (3) accesses the Internet, or private communication or information networks. This includes computers, tablets, smartphones, and other devices.
All District employees who use personal technology and/or social media shall:
- Adhere to the high standards for appropriate Professional and Appropriate Conduct by policy 5:120, Employee Ethics; Code of Conduct; and Conflict of Interest, at all times, regardless of the ever-changing social media and personal technology platforms available. This includes District employees posting images or private information about themselves or others in a manner readily accessible to students and other employees that is inappropriate as defined by policies 5:020, Workplace Harassment Prohibited; 5:100, Staff Development Program; 5:120, Employee Ethics; Code of Professional Conduct; and Conflict of Interest; 6:235, Access to Electronic Networks; and 7:020, Harassment of Students Prohibited; and the Ill. Code of Educator Ethics, 23 Ill.Admin.Code §22.20.
- Choose a District-provided or supported method to communicate with students and their parents/guardians.
- Not interfere with or disrupt the educational or working environment, or the delivery of education or educational support services.
- Inform their immediate supervisor if a student initiates inappropriate contact with them via any form of personal technology or social media.
- Report instances of suspected abuse or neglect discovered through the use of a social media or personal technology pursuant to a school employee’s obligation under policy 5:090 Abused and Neglected Child Reporting.
- Not disclose confidential information, including but not limited to school student records (e.g., student work, photographs or students, names of students, or any other personally identifiable information about students) or personnel records, in compliance with policy 5:130, Responsibilities Concerning Internal Information. For District employees, proper approval may include implied consent under the circumstances.
- Refrain from using the District’s logos without permission and follow Board policy 5:170, Copyright, and all District copyright compliance procedures.
- Use personal technology and social media for personal purposes only during non-work times or hours. Any duty-free use must occur during times and places that the use will not interfere with job duties or otherwise be disruptive to the school environment or its operations.
- Assume all risks associated with the use of personal technology and social media at school or school-sponsored activities, including students’ viewing of inappropriate Internet materials through the District employee’s personal technology or social media. The Board expressly disclaims any responsibility for imposing content filters, blocking lists, or monitoring of its employees’ personal technology and social media.
- Be subject to remedial and any other appropriate disciplinary action for violations of this policy ranging from prohibiting the employee from possessing or using any personal technology or social media at school to dismissal and/or indemnification of the District for any losses, costs, or damages, including reasonable attorney fees, incurred by the District relating to, or arising out of, any violation of this policy.
The Superintendent shall:
- Inform District employees about this policy during the in-service on educator ethics, teacher-student conduct, and school employee-student conduct required by policy 5:120, Employee Ethics; Code of Professional Conduct; and Conflict of Interest.
- Direct Building Principals to annually:
- Provide their building staff with a copy of this policy.
- Inform their building staff about the importance of maintaining high standards in their school relationships.
- Remind their building staff that those who violate this policy will be subject to remedial and any other appropriate disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
- Build awareness of this policy with students, parents, and the community.
- Ensure that neither the district nor anyone on its behalf commits an act prohibited by the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act, 820 ILCS 55/10; i.e., the Facebook Password Law.
- Periodically review this policy and any implementing procedures with District employee representatives and electronic network system administrator(s) and present proposed changes to the Board.
775 ILCS 5/5A-102.Ill. Human Rights Act
820 ILCS 55/10, Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act
23 Ill.Admin.Code §22.20. Code of Ethics for Ill. Educators,
Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006).
Pickering v. High School Dist. 205, 391 U.S. 563 (1968).
Mayer v. Monroe County Community School Corp., 474 F.3d 477 (7th Cir. 2007).
Date Adopted: 6/26/2012
Date Amended: 12/18/2012
Date Amended: June 20, 2017
Date Amended: January 25, 2022
Date Amended: June 20, 2023