567R-C - Instructional Use of Social Networking Sites by Employees

    1. Generally

      Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) recognizes the value of student, teacher, parent, and community interaction on social networking sites that are designed for specific educational purposes and directly tied to Frederick County Public Schools’ curriculum and instructional program. Collaboration, resource and information sharing, online tutoring, etc. all can be facilitated by the appropriate use of technology, online tools, social networking sites, and other online networking tools (referred to collectively as “electronic media”). FCPS may limit access to non-curriculum related Web pages as required by the Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2000.

      Employees of FCPS may communicate through electronic media with current FCPS students for educational purposes. All communication through electronic media must be appropriate, transparent, accessible to supervisors and parents/guardians, professional in content and tone, and in accordance with state law and/or school board policy. All electronic or any other communications by employees with students at any time shall be professional, consistent with the standards and curriculum of the school division, and limited to information that is school-related and necessary for both student and parent.

      For the protection and safety of both employees and students, employees should consider limiting Internet contact and communication with students to available school division-approved, work-related social networking resources made available through the FCPS network.

    2. Establishment of Social Networking Sites for Instructional Purposes

      An employee may establish one or more social networking sites to be used for instructional purposes and communication with the approval of the building principal. Social networking sites are generally defined as an online service or site through which people create and maintain interpersonal relationships. Examples of social networking sites include, without limitation, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Any such site used for instructional purposes shall have a clear statement of purpose and outcomes for the use of the networking tool, and a code of conduct for all site participants. The employee establishing the site shall: apply appropriate security settings, allow only approved participants access, be responsible for the site’s content, diligently monitor the site for inappropriate content, and post only information related to the site’s purpose that is appropriate for viewing by students, parents and the community at large. Employees are expected to read and understand all terms of service and privacy policies associated with the social networking sites they intend to use. Employees must also review the Frederick County Public Schools Social Media Terms and Conditions (“Terms and Conditions”) authorized by Regulation 602R, Community Relations- Community Communications and posted on the FCPS Staff Intranet and official social media pages of Frederick County Public Schools. These Terms and Conditions shall govern the use and content shared on an instructional social networking site.

    3. Employee Use of Personal Social Networking Sites

      Employees shall make student Internet safety, including the protection of students’ personal information, a priority. Therefore, FCPS does not recommend that any employee establish an online social networking relationship with a currently enrolled FCPS student on his/her personal social networking site(s).

    4. Consequences of Inappropriate Use of Social Networking

      Employee use of social networking found to be in violation of one or more FCPS policies, regulations or procedures and/or in violation of any applicable state or federal law may result in the employee’s FCPS account and/or access to the FCPS network being denied, revoked, or suspended. Misuse may also subject the user to oral or written reprimand or other disciplinary action recommended by the Superintendent or his/her designee up to and including employment termination. In addition, misuse may be referred to law enforcement for further review.


    Legal Reference(s):
    Children’s Internet Protection Act (Federal Communications Commission Regulations)

    Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, Section(s) 22.1-70.2, 18.2-372, 18.2-374.1:1, 18.2-390

    Guidelines for the Prevention of Sexual Conduct and Abuse in Virginia Public Schools, Virginia Department of Education, March 24, 2011


    Cross Reference(s):
    Policy 567P, Personnel- Acceptable Computer System Use

    Regulation 567R-A, Personnel- Acceptable Computer System Use

    Regulation 567R-B, Personnel- Electronic Mail, Social Media and Networking

    Regulation 567R-D, Personnel – Maintaining Appropriate and Professional Relationships with Students

    Regulation 602R, Community Relations- Community Communications


    Adopted: August 14, 2012
    Amended: October 15, 2014
    Amended: May 24, 2021 (Effective July 1, 2021)