Page 1

School Law and Technology for the Thayer Central 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


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


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”


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

Thayer central staff  
Thayer central staff  
Advertisement