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School Law and Technology for the Waverly Staff Karen Haase Harding & Shultz (402) 434-3000 H & S School Law @KarenHaase

This is not your Grandma’s Inservice

Agenda  Social Networking by teachers  Social Networking by students • Cyberbullying of Staff • Cyberbullying of Students

Social Networking  Examples • Facebook • YouTube • Twitter • Tumblr • Linkedin • Yelp

Teacher Use  Causes for Concern • Drug/Alcohol Use • Sexual Inappropriateness • Inappropriate Communication with Students • Inappropriate Communication about Students • Selling School Property

Nebraska Law  NEB. REV. STAT. §§79-824, 79-827  Reasons for Termination and/or Cancellation: • Unprofessional Conduct • Immorality • Other conduct which interferes substantially with the continued performance of duties

My Suggestions  Make a professional page separate from your personal page  Don’t “friend” students or parents on your personal page  Don’t let yourself be depicted behaving unprofessionally  Ask: will this affect my classroom?

Privacy Settings     

Set your profile as “private” Only let “friends” see pics Require notification before tagging Turn off geo-tags Friend Facebook on Facebook

Social Media and Politics

Social Media and Politics  Political Accountability and Disclosure Act  In the Matter of Michael Nolan, Case No. 07-03

Accessing at School  Computer, Server, Internet Connection all belong to the district.  Use is permissive  Assume someone will read it eventually.

Student Use of Social Media

Cyberbullying? Cyberbullying, v: the use of technology such as computers and cell phones to engage in repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others. The term "cyberbullying" is used when the victim or bully is a child or teen. The term cyber harassment is used when the victim is an adult.

Cyberbullying of Staff

J.S. v. Blue Mountain Sch. Dist. Middle School Student made fake MySpace profile for principal • Included photo from school website • Initially public; then limited • Students could only access off campus • Student suspended for 10 days; parents sued

Layshock v. Hermitage Sch. Dist High School Student made fake MySpace profile for principal • Included photo from school website • Other students created similar and more offensive profiles • Students only accessed off campus • Student suspended for 10 days; placed in alt. sch, banned from extracurriculars, no commencement

J.S. and Layshock Inconsistent  Third Circuit granted en banc rehearing  Oral Argument June 3, 2010  Decision issued June 13, 2011  The Bottom Line? • Schools lost both cases

J.S. and Layshock  Key legal points • School can’t punish off-campus speech because it is vulgar, inappropriate or even criminal • School can only punish off-campus speech that is substantially disruptive

What About the Staff? “We recognize that vulgar and offensive speech such as that employed in this case – even made in just – could damage the careers of teachers and administrators and we conclude only that the punitive action taken by the school district violated the First Amendment free speech rights of JS.” • i.e. “We don’t care”

Wisniewski v. Weedsport (2007)  Student sent IM to classmates • • •

Gun icon with red dots above Beneath icon was "Kill [name of English teacher.]"

 Student suspended for 1 semester  Sued claiming violations of First Amendment

Fulmer v. Swidler (Pa. 2003)  Middle school student created website:“Teacher Sux” • • •

Compared math teacher to Hitler Had picture of her decapitated Asked for contributions toward hit man  Teacher sued  Jury awarded $500,000  Similar suit by principal settled

Cyberbullying of Students

Not My Students! • Tell teacher: 27% of preteens and only 9% of teens • Tell friend: 44% of preteens and 72% of teens • Told no one: 16% of preteens and teens

T.K. v. NY Dept’t of Ed., (2011)  LD student bullied by peers  Ct.: • No First Amendment protection for bullies • “…merely requires schools do what the Department of Education has told them to do for years.”

J.C. v. Beverly Hills Unif. S. D. (Cal.)  8th grade girls talking smack about a peer; uploaded to YouTube  Principal suspended student who uploaded  Court: no disruption to school, no nexus to education, no basis for punishment

If you discover bullying

Cyber/bullying Responses     

Keep “Responding and Reporting” separate in your mind (and your staff’s mind) Focus on Small Stuff DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT Look for nexus Don’t make promises you can’t keep

Helping Kids Deal; Tell them to: 

Stop. Don’t respond to the bully.

Block. Block the cyberbully or limit all communications to those you can trust.

Tell. Tell a trusted adult.

Victim Need Interventions? 

Interventions • Social skill training • Hygiene training with sped teacher, counselor or other staff • Peer mentor  Be ready for a 504 or SpEd request

School Law and Technology for the Waverly Staff Karen Haase Harding & Shultz (402) 434-3000 H & S School Law @KarenHaase

District 145-Waverly Staff  
District 145-Waverly Staff