1. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Teachers and students as friends on Facebook

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Steerpike, Aug 2, 2011.

    Missouri just passed a law making it "illegal" for teachers and students to be friends on social networks like Facebook.

    Bi-partisan effort. Not much else for them to do I guess.

    What do you guys think of this?

    I predict it will be challenged in court. Should be completely Unconstitutional in my opinion.
     
  2. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Speaking from my own experience I have at least two of teachers who taught me as friends on Facebook. One from by old high school (and we are both members of the Richard Dawkin's Society for Science and Reason too) and one of my university lecturers. One I talk to because he's a genuinely nice guy and we share interests, and the other I ask about university events. I don't see why that would be a problem.
     
  3. TheHedgehog
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    TheHedgehog Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't see the issue. For some teachers it's a matter of personal preference. Some my teachers won't accept student friend requests, others will. Former teachers, it shouldn't be a problem at all. If it's a current teacher, I think having the student friend the teacher or the teacher friend the student (with prior consent), is okay.
     
  4. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can see the problem. If a student gets really good grades and he/she is friends with the teacher on FB and places like that, it's easy to ask why he/she got those grades in the first place. And for that matter, why they are friends in the first place. Not saying anything naughty is going on, only that it's often tempting to go easy on your friends. If the students answeres a test, the teacher could accept answers he normally wouldn't and so on.
     
  5. CosmicHallux
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    CosmicHallux Senior Member

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    It doesn't make sense to me. I've taken child psychology classes for my preschool work, and I was taught that the more school/family/peer spheres overlap, the more they reinforced each other.

    For example, a parent who gets to know the teacher, even inviting him/her to their child's birthday party, or over for dinner, will be reinforcing the importance of school to the child. Likewise, the teacher will be reinforcing the relationship between the child and his family.

    Having teacher friends on Facebook just seems like it would reinforce the importance of education to the children because their teachers would be interacting (in a way) with the child's peer group, in a non-authoritarian way.

    It could also dispel the myth that children seem to have about teachers--that they are inhuman, mean, robots who's only purpose in life is to destroy your weekends with homework. It's hard to imagine what is wrong with being friends with your teacher.

    Even if pedophilia or favoritism were concerns, it's not like Facebook would enable that--it would just make it more transparent and easy to prove and trace.

    Of course, I can see how parents wouldn't want their children looking at photos of their drunk teachers groping random women or something...and there is the issue of teachers with strong political or religious views. They are certainly allowed to announce their political and religious views on Facebook, but not in the classroom. Still, is there some law that prohibits teachers from being friends with children or their families, outside of school? I don't see how face book is much different than regular friendships.

    If I was a teacher I probably wouldn't want to be friends with my students on Facebook. Parents can get so weird and freak out about anything--it would be a real problem for someone who had an unpopular religious affiliation or strong political views. I can imagine parents forming a petition against a teacher for something that was revealed on Facebook--like being Muslim or homosexual. They might argue that the teacher was imposing their views onto the children, because of the power dynamic in a teacher/student relationship.

    Edit: Maybe one solution is to simply hold the parents responsible. If they have a problem with the kids and teachers being friends, then they can do whatever parents do to prohibit that. That seems a lot more constitutional.
     
  6. mugen shiyo
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    mugen shiyo Contributing Member

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    It's a pretty risky thing to do as a teacher in today's world. a parent thinks you might be up to something and your career could be ruined. One rotten child who decides to pull a prank, or one who might just see something inappropriate as "friendly". There's so many ways to go down burning on that road, I would avoid it as a personal choice altogether.

    You could have a million child-friends and their parents who swear by you, it just takes one misunderstanding to ruin it all.
     
  7. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't see a problem in being FB friends after graduation, but before? I disagree with it. Here's why:

    When I was in 6th form, our media teachers - who thought themselves so young and trendy- accepted friend requests from students on FB. Then one day, I walk into class to find their facebooks up on the overhead projector, displaying a conversation between two classmates who had discussed bunking the lesson. They decided to turn up in the second half anyway, and came face to face with that. The whole class saw the conversation and the teacher thought he'd been really clever. He then reported them with his "evidence" - which he wouldn't have if it wasn't for him snooping about on the internet- and they were threatened to be thrown out.

    What business did he have finding that out and using it against them? They were over 18 and were attending 6th form through choice. If they waste lessons by bunking them then that's up to them; but they were punished based off of a discussion about it, and not as a result of poor attendance.

    They were so humiliated they were crying in our head of year's office. I think everyone agreed that what the teacher had done was sneeky and pathetic. Yes, they were stupid to post it on facebook where he could see - but what on earth was he thinking?!

    I think teachers should remain teachers until the students graduate. Personal lives shouldn't be mixed before then, because as I demonstrated, personal boundries seem to become lost.
     
  8. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I think it's unprofessional and teachers should ignore any friend requests from students, but getting the GOVERNMENT involved seems unconstitutional and idiotic as hell. Are they going to set up a Bureau of Social Networking Appropriations to monitor it or something?

    I have a few friends and professors who I'm still friends with, via email and social networking (although I've been leaving facebook alone lately), but we only added each other after I was no longer in their class (and, for the high school teachers, not till after I graduated). I also have a friend who teaches elementary school and she won't add or confirm anyone under 18 as a facebook friend, whether she teaches them or not.
     
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  9. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    /snip double post. -_-
     
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Exactly. All of the reasons as to why it is a good idea or a bad idea should be left to the teachers as well as students and their parents. It's not an issue for the government to regulate.
     
  11. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Many people seem to think that just because something is good/bad, it's fitting to have a government law about it.
     
  12. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. We have words for those people.

    They are on both the far-left and far-right it seems. It is unfortunate that so many people fall prey to this thinking.
     
  13. mugen shiyo
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    mugen shiyo Contributing Member

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    Isn't this kind of thing already covered anyway. I mean unless the FB page is open to all students an teachers to join freely, having students on your page or vice versa is considered fraternization. It's the first thing you hear when some teacher shacks up a kid.
     
  14. heyitsmary
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    heyitsmary Member

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    Back when I was in high school, before Facebook ever existed, I was good friends with one of my teachers and we were also friends on LiveJournal. It ended in disaster and teacher/student friendships have rubbed me the wrong way ever since. I wonder how they would enforce a law like that, though. Would Facebook and other social networking sites have to step in and monitor who every teacher and student was friends with?
     
  15. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    ^ That question is precisely why getting gov.t involved is a terrible idea. ;/
     
  16. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I agree. I think common sense can usually be relied upon, but it's the whole government thing that seems a bit ridiculous. Very odd...
     
  17. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yep. You'd be surprised how many people are willing, or even eager, to hand over their freedom and personal decision-making to the government.
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's an unfortunate reflex action these days.

    Got a problem? Legislate!

    It doesn't matter hwether the law makes sense of solves the problem. At least someone did something.
     
  19. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I agree with that sentiment, but just because teacher/student social networking is inappropriate doesn't mean that government-imposed law is a good solution.
     
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The lawmakers are more concerned with sexual predation. There have been several situations in which a teacher has used social media to get emotionally closer to students with whome they entered relationships.
     
  21. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I were an instructor, I would not accept requests from any friends until after they have graduated or completed my class simply because I would fear the repercussions society would throw at me. But if it were different, I see little problem with it.

    Teachers in general don't grow close to their students unless there is a real bond there or they sense that a student may need more guidance. It doesn't matter if there is online proof or not. Relationships like that always will be there and I don't really see a problem with relationships going from professional to friendly-professional or to a mentoring setup. I would encourage that, actually.

    It's too bad society doesn't get it. And it's worse that the government wasted money and time on something like that.

    I am Facebook friends with two of my teachers from high school and go out to coffee or lunch or just exchange email and phone conversations with another, and I have become online friends with instructors before the course ended. I feel like if the learning and teaching relationship is maintained, there is absolutely nothing wrong and actually a lot to gain from a mentoring friendship.
     
  22. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I agree. My 11th grade AP English teacher was an awesome mentor and made me into a way better writer than I was prior to that....not in terms of grammar/spelling but real writing quality, like setting up tones in a much better way. I still keep in touch with her.
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I had a very close friendship with my high school math teacher. She saw and encouraged an aptitude for math in me. But it was never in any way inappropriate.

    She was a very rare teacher, one who loved the subject she taught, and infected her students with her enthusiasm and energy.
     
  24. Jayyy1014
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    Jayyy1014 Jerrica Contributor

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    I don't see the issue, I'm 15 and I have most of my teachers I had/have on facebook. Honestly It's like having any other friend on facebook. They always support me on the things I do. Especially my writing. The teachers here never post anything on facebook un-appropriate because they think of the children first. I mean come on, If your mother was a teacher and you were 14/15 wouldn't you add her to your fb friends list? Same goes for any type of relative. So what's the difference? It's just my personal opinion I had to throw out there.
     
  25. TobiasJames
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    TobiasJames Contributing Member

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    No, no, no, no and NO.

    This is coming from a primary school (elementary) teacher. It would not only be inappropriate, it would be alarming to parents and quite rightly so.

    For older children such as sixth formers, I dunno. I would say that there is still a professional relationship that needs to be maintained, and this might be tricky if you had access to each others' personal details.
     

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