BECKLEY, W.Va. – Teachers in Raleigh County are not allowed to send personal text messages, e-mails, or instant messages to students. It’s a rule the Raleigh County Board of Education recently made official with a new policy addressing electronic communications.
In part, the policy reads as follows: “All electronic communication conducted by an employee with a student must be relative to the educational services provided to the student and shall be delivered by means provided by or otherwise made available or approved by the school system for this purpose.”
“Approved school system electronic communication methods are e-mail, school-sponsored teacher websites, school websites, and other electronic communication that is approved by the Raleigh County School System,” according to the policy.
In other words, electronic communications about classwork are okay, but those that get personal are not allowed. “Whether it’s an e-mail, a school-sponsored website, whatever it might be, it needs to be related to the educational process,” said Brown.
The policy change followed two recent incidents involving teachers in Raleigh County who were accused of sending inappropriate text messages to students. Brown would not comment on those specific cases, citing pending legal actions.
He said, with this new policy, there should be no questions about boundaries at a time when technology is being used, more and more, in classrooms. “We want to make sure we’re proactive, front loading what those expectations are,” he said.