Employees of Wisconsin school can't use social media to engage students

(AP) — Employees of a school district in southern Wisconsin will no longer be allowed to use their personal social media accounts to engage students.

Portage Community School District will now require staff members to create a separate social media account that's open to the general public in order to communicate with students, the Portage Daily Register reported.

"The board feels if you want to celebrate students, it's better for and expected by the community that we have a social media site open to all members focused on (that activity)," said District Administrator Charles Poches.

The policy prohibits staff from friending or directly communicating with students and from identifying students in photos or video on personal accounts.

School board member Connie Shlimovitz was the lone vote against the measure. She said she worries it's a step backward at a time when social media is extremely popular.

Portage High School Band Director Tom Shaver frequently uses social media to promote various band events for students and their parents.

Under the new policy, Shaver would have to create a separate account in order to give out information about school-sponsored activity, Poches said.

School board member Chad Edwards said the district hopes to avoid incidents where staff members are disciplined for posts on their social media.

A softball coach in Lodi was disciplined in June for posting about the killing of a raccoon on social media.

Keeping track of infractions is another concern, Shlimovitz said.

The district hopes to be informed of infractions by community members engaged on social media, Poches said.

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