The timing of this news story is appropriate given the recent Twitter discussions. (See my posts from the past couple of days) One of the points made was that teacher do have support from their federations; administrators don’t. It reinforces a couple of points that were made.
- How does this apply to the use of Twitter?
- Someone monitors staff Twitter messages.
And the story …
ESPN suspends Jemele Hill over NFL tweets
The article mentions that it’s the second violation of the company’s social media policy. We’re going to hear about this for a while, I suspect.
The key to this is that it was the second violation of the policy. To me, that implies that there was obviously a first violation, presumably an awareness made to what the policy is, and that this second violation was deemed to required further action on the part of the employer.
And there’s a policy. Presumably the policy outlines what’s appropriate and draws a line over which employees should not step.
It’s difficult to know where that line actually is. Is it subject to a particular whim of a boss or to someone who might be having a bad day? Is it subject to interpretation?
You can’t help but tie this back to the conversation that Paul McGuire started. Read my last two posts if you’re not up to speed.
I would think all of this would lead to some soul searching.
- Does your employer have a social media policy? If so, when was the last time you looked at it?
- Is there a clearly defined line of appropriateness? If not, why not?
- Are you prepared to see if you can find that line?
I think that there are some pretty easily defined lines.
- Engaging in a racial discussion gone ugly
- Show pictures of students on social media if it’s prohibited by policy
- Put any student at risk because of your actions
- Taking any issue to a heightened personal level
- Engage in illegal conversations
Then, there’s the fuzzy line drawing that drew considerable discussion recently. To what level can you criticize decisions made by the employer that you don’t agree with? Can you reach too far?
Unfortunately, we live in a time where people actively are challenging the line or, if you’re in a position of authority, go way beyond the the line. We’ve come to expect this level of social media use. Does it set a new level? Or does it reinforce the notion that we should stay clear of that line?
Or, maybe most importantly, perhaps social media isn’t the forum to have these discussions after all.
4 thoughts on “Yeah, it can happen”
And if it is using social media, maybe it’s not options that are limited to 140 characters … I love Twitter and tweet a lot, but I think of some of the more contentious blog posts I’ve written. How would those same messages come out in tweets? Not everything, in my opinion, is meant to be shared through microblogging.
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Hi Doug. Enjoyed this post as many of us are weighing in on what it means to be a “connected” educator and the benefits of Twitter use both and the impacts it has on our teaching practices. I tend to agree with your last sentence. Social media has become a very easy platform for anyone and everyone to have a voice. I still believe that in fairness to all parties involved, any conflicts/ disagreements are best had face to face.
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Hi Doug. Thanks for your posts over the past few days. Very interesting discussion. Reading the comments and your post again I think it is important to point out that disciplinary action is not a black and white thing. I think we are all looking for the smoking gun – the obvious tweet that is clearly over the line. It is not as simple as that and not everything can be resolved through a face to face conversation either.
When it comes to a violation of board policy leading to disciplinary action, it is the school board that defines what is appropriate and what is not. They are the ones holding all the cards and they determine what is appropriate. They issue the letter and add in that any further ‘violation’ will lead to further action including suspension without pay.
These are extremely effective actions because they do not need to define what a violation really is.
When you don’t have to clearly define the policy or the violation almost anything can be considered a violation. This effectively shuts down the person who receives the letter.
School Boards are well within their rights to do this and in Ontario at least, nothing can be done about this, especially if you are an administrator.
You do not have to say or tweet something critical of the board, you just have to do something they disagree with. None of this is obvious and none of this falls within the easily defined lines you mention above.
What is the result of all this? Basically, silence.
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