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Should Schools Forbid Teachers from Friending Students on Facebook?

One NH teacher was dismissed this week for refusing to unfriend students on the social media platform.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo

It’s a topic that brings much discussion, and depending on who you ask, the question of whether or not a teacher should be friends with a student on Facebook is one that elicits different answers.

Some school administrations have a rule in the books that this is not allowed. For others it’s left to the educators to decide. While students will friend teachers - is it OK for them to accept?

If the school system has a policy on the books - the answer is no.

A popular New Hampshire substitute teacher found out the hard way this week when she was dismissed from her Clarmont, NH job after refusing to unfriend students, despite it being school policy, Boston.com is reporting. Carol Thebarge, 79, was a teacher for 35 years, nine at the school she was currently in and students have been pretty outspoken about losing her. Thebarge herself reached out to students and administration on her Facebook page on Sunday about the situation.

The school’s superintendent told WBUR TV he had no choice to terminate the beloved educator because she didn’t follow school policies when as it applies to social media.

What do you think? Should teachers be allowed to be friends with students on Facebook or do you think it’s just a bad idea all together? Tell us in the comments section below.
Kathleen April 09, 2014 at 12:09 PM
Can't understand people on here advocating for their children to be 'friends' with their teachers on FB...They are NOT friends, they are teachers, mentors and there are many other ways that they can mentor a child if they want to help them. How about the good ol' face to face discussion? Probably would do more to help a child that is in need of a little guidance better than FB. Also, many teachers today set up classroom blogs for day-to-day communication with their students, which is a great use of technology. Also, most of these kids shouldn't even be on FB since the rules of FB actually require that you be 18 to sign up. (though this is usually not enforced by FB or parents, me included). Once a student reaches 18 or 21 years of age and they are no longer students of their teacher(s), then fine if they want to be friends with their teacher(s). Just doesn't make sense to me that parents don't understand that their should be boundary lines while they are.
nedlam1968 April 09, 2014 at 06:48 PM
Unfortunately, we've become a society where too many do not understand boundaries. I don't think it's appropriate for school staff to "friend" student's - there are "rules" that outline appropriate and inappropriate behaviors with students ... unfortunately, everyone thinks that what matters is being "buddies" with the kids ... too many professionals have forgotten how to be professional ...
Mrs. B April 10, 2014 at 12:09 AM
Teachers friending students on Facebook is unprofessional. I would think a teacher would be intelligent enough to know this without being told by authorities.
Waffa Freij May 31, 2014 at 08:37 PM
Yes!

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