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School Law and Technology for the Palmer Staff Karen Haase Harding & Shultz (402) 434-3000 khaase@hslegalfirm.com H & S School Law @KarenHaase


This is not your Grandma’s Inservice


Agenda  School Law and Technology Issues • Social Networking • Cyberbullying


Social Networking  Examples • Facebook • Twitter • Snapchat • Vine • Kik


Social Media is Here to Stay  Ed. Professionals are using social media • 85% of Americans use social media monthly • Twitter grew over 500% in the last year • More video is uploaded to YouTube in 60 days than big 3 networks created in 60 years

 Facebook dominates social media • • • •

500 million users as of July, 2010 50% of active users log on daily Average user has 130 friends Largest group of users aged 35-54


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


Caselaw Fisher, 476 F.2d 375 (8th Cir. 1973): Without a connection between the teacher’s misconduct and the school district’s interest, a teacher may be able to argue that the reasons underlying dismissal were arbitrary and capricious.


Free Speech


Free Speech Pickering, 391 U.S. 563 (1968) If a employee speaks as a citizen on a matter of public concern the district must show it had an adequate justification for treating the employee differently from any other member of the public.


Free Speech Garcetti, 547 U.S. 410 (2006) When public employees make statements pursuant to their official duties, the employees are not speaking as citizens for First Amendment purposes, and the Constitution does not insulate their communication from employer discipline.


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


Cyberbullying of Students


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


Cyber/bullying Responses  Keep “Responding and Reporting” separate in your mind (and your staff’s mind)  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.


Does 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 Palmer Staff Karen Haase Harding & Shultz (402) 434-3000 khaase@hslegalfirm.com H & S School Law @KarenHaase

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