ERIC Number: EJ918606
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr
Reference Count: 6
Social Networking Sites and the Free Speech Rights of School Employees
Russo, Charles J.
School Business Affairs, v75 n4 p38-41 Apr 2009
In the midst of growing controversy over the limits of student expression on the Internet, a federal trial court in Pennsylvania addressed the extent to which education officials can restrict the ability of student teachers and, by extension, teachers and other school employees, to exercise their rights to free speech on Internet social networking sites. In "Snyder v. Millersville University" (2008), the court upheld the authority of university officials who, acting in response to requests from educators in a local school district, terminated the assignment of a student teacher. Officials agreed to end the plaintiff's placement because, in addition to concerns about her subject-area knowledge, she violated university directives that she received during her student teacher orientation by posting an inappropriate remark about her cooperating teacher on her personal MySpace page that was accessed by her students. Based on the legal issues that "Snyder" presents for school business officials and other education leaders with regard to the free speech rights of employees, however broadly this term is understood, this column is divided into two substantive sections. The first reviews the court's analysis in some detail since it can provide school business officials and other education leaders with insights into preparing policies for use in their own districts. The second section offers suggestions that school business officials and other educational leaders might wish to incorporate into their policies with regard to employee use of Internet social networking sites and their effect on district operations. The column rounds out with a brief conclusion.
Descriptors: Student Teachers, Legal Problems, Cooperating Teachers, Internet, School Business Officials, Administrators, Court Litigation, Social Networks, Privacy, Computer Mediated Communication, Legal Responsibility, Freedom of Speech, Board of Education Policy
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania