Kanawha school board considers social media policy

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Kanawha school board considers social media policy
By Ryan Quinn, Charleston Gazette-Mail

Kanawha County’s school board is considering three policies, including a “social media policy” in which the district claims wide latitude to monitor communications. Other policies would almost completely ban animals from school property, and lay out punishments for employees who don’t complete trainings.

Kanawha school board members had an official first reading of the policies, and little discussion of them, at a meeting Thursday. Board general counsel Jim Withrow said they’ll be placed online for 30 days of public comment and will likely be up for a final vote in September.

The proposed social media policy has a scope beyond what its title may imply to Facebook and Twitter users. It states “social media includes communication, collaborative sharing, and reaching students, employees and guests for educational purposes using websites, platforms, resources or documents.”

It also says “Social media can be engaged in by various ways, for example, through text messages, instant messages, and email.” The policy would let school officials “inspect, review, or retain electronic communication created, sent, displayed, received or stored on User’s personal computers, electronic devices, networks, internet, electronic communication systems, and in databases, files, software, and media that contain School District information and data.”

The school system would be able to inspect electronic communications sent or received on “another entity’s computer or electronic device when Users bring and use another entity’s computer or electronic device to a School District location, event, or connect it to the School District network and/or systems.”

The next section states: “The above applies no matter where the use occurs,” including people’s homes and their use of “mobile computing equipment and telecommunications facilities.”

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