This Policy is under review.

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

Last Updated Date: 05/24/2021

Adoption Date: 08/03/2010

Revision History: 06/21/2011, 08/14/2012, 05/24/2021

Frederick County Public Schools requires that all communications between and among employees, school volunteers and students be appropriate 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. Electronic and online communications between and among employees, school volunteers, and students must be transparent, contemporaneously accessible to supervisors and parents/guardians, and professional in content and tone.

The school division is aware that unacceptable published content and/or inappropriate communication between parties may adversely affect the reputations and careers of students and educators. Frederick County Public School employees are expected to be role models and must recognize that once electronic communications and information are posted or published online, a digital imprint is created and is nearly impossible to retract. Therefore, it is the intent of Frederick County Public Schools to make all employees and students aware of the expectations and procedures of the school system in regard to the proper use of all telecommunication devices and computers when communicating with others.

It is strongly recommended that Frederick County Public Schools employees not use Frederick County Public Schools’ accounts when establishing email and/or social networking accounts for personal use. In all use of personal social networking sites to which students, parents, FCPS employees and volunteers have access, employees should:

  • Maintain appropriate professional boundaries and authority as a classroom teacher, administrator, or supervisor;
  • Practice online reputation management by considering the personal, professional and social impact of what you post;
  • Establish appropriate privacy settings to limit access to personal information contained on your social networking site;
  • Establish social networking relationships with caution and consider limiting access to personal social networking sites to those who post inappropriate content;
  • Refrain from inappropriate electronic communications with students;
  • Recognize that students may not exercise good judgment and may use social media inappropriately;
  • Avoid the appearance of impropriety;
  • Refrain from posting negative information about students, fellow employees or the school division;
  • Refrain from uploading inappropriate content;
  • Exercise caution when posting links to other Internet or social networking sites and consider ad-free sites for hosting videos to eliminate inadvertent access to inappropriate advertisements and content; and
  • Refrain from posting or sharing content that would be in violation of School Board policies and regulations.

This regulation is not intended to limit the proper use of technology as an effective teaching tool. Employees are expected to use technology and web-based resources to support learning and enhance instruction. The use of technology resources for instructional purposes may require online collaboration between students and/or the teacher. All web-based resources and communication tools must be used in a safe and responsible manner.

Employees are required to comply with state code and all policies and regulations, directives and guidance, procedures, and practices of the school division regarding any communications with students, parents, and staff.

Any Frederick County Public School employee who has a reason to suspect that inappropriate communication is occurring between an employee and student, school volunteer and student, or among employees and/or volunteers shall report the matter immediately to their principal/immediate supervisor or the Assistant Superintendent for Administration.

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

Code of Virginia, Section(s) 22.1-307

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

Memoranda to School Administrators dated September 5 and September 17, 2008: E-mail Communication

Policy References: