Thursday, November 19, 2009

With a correct employee handbook, teachers should be able to text studetns and parents

Hidden in today's Express-News "Texting incident leads to teacher resignation" was the fact that several major school districts have not addressed this form of communication in their employee handbook.
If you are a school board member or a district administrator, I would like to give some insight into texting.
First, it's hard to text with my big fingers, but it's an effective way to reach people. There are several clients who I can only communicate by text or a Twitter direct message. Somehow, a text message via cell phone or Twitter reaches a growing number of my clients and friends.
Second, as the article does note, it leaves a message trail. That way, when school teachers need to reach out to a parent on a matter it documents the call. And, if you are trying to reach someone and leave a message, they either don't get the voice mail right away or their receptionist often doesn't bother to give the message to them.
Thirdly, students could also text their teachers before school to confirm an appointment for a makeup exam or tutoring.
So, I believe the best policy is to clearly document that if a district can prove that a teacher sent risque photos of themselves to students or allegedly said "You suck" in a text missive that those are grounds for immediate firing.
For many who don't use texting as a communication tool, the early assumption is to eliminate it entirely. Yet, for many, it's the best way to reach people. The 99.99999999999 of teachers who use texting responsibly will help open communication channels to parents and students.

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