NYC Teachers Could Soon Be Banned From ‘Friending’ Students On Facebook

Chancellor Walcott Says Social Media Policy Could Be In Place By April

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City teachers are about to get schooled on social media, according to the Department of Education.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and the DOE are looking to put the brakes on interaction between teachers and students on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

“They don’t want to be put in a situation that could either compromise them or be misinterpreted,” he told reporters, including 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks Hears From Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott

Walcott said that a social media policy could be in place by this April.

Thursday’s announcement came at a time when all eyes are squarely focused on a rash of alleged misconduct incidents in New York City schools.

At least 15 DOE employees, including teachers and teacher’s aides, have been arrested in the first three months of this year. That is compared to 13 total arrests on similar charges, including forcible touching and sex abuse, in all of 2011.

“I think it’s important for all staff to be very conscious that they are staff and they are there on behalf of the students to educate them and provide services to them, but not to be online and Facebooking them and I think that’s something extremely important,” Walcott said.

Students who spoke with 1010 WINS’ Al Jones also seem to agree with the chancellor and what officials are hoping to have in place.

“I really don’t think it’s necessary to have a teacher as a friend on Facebook or anything on a social network because there’s other ways like email…it’s not really necessary to have them on Facebook,” Kevin Farerre, of Martin Luther King High School, said.

However, some are not sure of how effective such a policy would be.

“There are perverts out there, there are people that are gonna use Facebook to creep on students, but then again, you could just make a fake Facebook. A teacher could do that and do the same thing,” Noah Lucas, of LaGuardia High School, said.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones Gets Reaction From Students

Lucas said he is friends with several teachers and sees nothing wrong with it.

“I don’t [have a problem] if it’s used in just a merely social way. You can be friends with a teacher and still have a student-teacher relationship,” he said.

Should teachers be able to ‘friend’ their students and vice-versa?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below…

  • J. Jenkins

    I think our district is really lacking leadership and creativity on this one. First, teachers and students are not EDUCATED on all of the pedagogically sound ways to use social media like Facebook and Twitter. Most teachers in the urban high schools I work with are intimidated by these tools. Second, I think to bar urban students from learning how to use these kinds of digital tools turns this into an equity and access issue for me. 21century skill-building, networking, and creativity are essential skills that most people with cultural and social capital use to improve their life chances today (i.e. info on job opportunities, social innovations, community resources on health, social welfare, politics, etc). Urban students and teachers need to not only be aware of how social media tools can be leveraged to create opportunities for themselves (i.e. professional development, youth development internships, etc), but they need to know how to effectively use the tools and then incorporate them in a safe and systematic way into their schools, classrooms, and pedagogies.

  • Reason

    I still don’t see how FB make someone a sexual predator…

  • rocker90

    This would be a civil rights violation.

    • May

      You don’t have a civil right to fiend someone on facebook. Look up what a civil right is and get back to us.

      • rocker90

        This is a civil rights violation.

  • owilde1

    What an absolute waste of an incredible resource. I have used facebook pages so effectively to get all sorts of materials to a mass number of students. Responsible people will be responsible and use all of their resources, whether it is a classroom, an office or a social media page, appropriately. Those who are irresponsible will misuse the resources available to them. The DOE should focus on hiring responsibly, not turning back the clock on important educational technologies.

  • djbressler

    I think it’s a great opportunity that we’re tossing away.

    It’s a great opportunity to see the bullying happening, to interact with kids and provide healthy adult leadership. I think the teachers need to be educated, and trusted. Not regulated and treated like they’re all like the bad ones.

    More of my thoughts about this missed opportunity on my blog @


  • ODB

    as long as they don’t break the law they can interact with each other


    teachers have a career they should stay off all social media networks. these networks are like cancer to your career.

    • PeopleNeedToChill

      So teachers shouldn’t get on social media, but celebrities, business people, doctors, lawyers, etc, can? People of other careers? Okay.

      • Scott

        Adults friending kids is bizarre nevery mind teachers friending their students. It can only lead to trouble. Besides who needs sll that information about a person. Facebook is attention seeking narcissists.

  • Subaqua Noma IV

    Teachers who need to be TOLD not to befriend their students on social networking sites or in public, don’t deserve to be teachers. PERIOD! They should have enough common sense, professionalism, and pedagogical knowledge to know this themselves. As an educator, I’m sick of this “brand” of “teachers.” Write it into the contracts and fire them if they are not compliant.

    • May

      Agreed on all accounts.

  • Bklyn mom

    Teachers are figures of authority and NOT your friends! I think this is a good idea and hope that it is enforced if and when it is put into effect. If a student graduates high school and wants to “friend” an old teacher on Facebook, then that’s fine at that point.



    • ODB

      Now what happened if the students want to friend their teachers on Facebook? Have y’all think about that? if the student’s and teachers doesn’t like it they can block one another so they won’t interact with one another. There’s no need to make a policy that’s why Facebook and other social media out there have the option to block people. I’m just saying you wasting your time on this policy that’s all. it sound like a big deal but its not. its the student is the one who might go to the teacher school aid house or its the other way around. But if they choose to interact with each other is fine.

    • A school worker 29

      What better way to catch a pervert. School staff has been having intimate relationships with students long before the computer revolution. I work in the system so I know. Why not let them be “friends”. Now you can monitor what’s going on.

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