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Should Teachers Be Texting Students?

When it comes to communicating with a student outside of the classroom things can get very tricky. To many, talking outside of class hours is a challenge as teachers try to be caring, considerate and professional in their interactions with students. Students primarily text their friends and have not had to be professional themselves so they aren't always aware of concerns that teachers have about this mode of communication. 

“It’s a real mess for schools to be dealing with right now,” said Richard Clapp, president and CEO of NEOLA, a school policy consulting company, according to Wane.

“The advent of social media has created a real slippery slope for administrators to try to negotiate when they’re trying to protect kids from those who have non-healthy intentions.”

What seems to be a big concern is the obvious transition that can be made from a school-related topic to more inappropriate ones. Each year comes the reports of scandals surrounding unprofessional relationships between students. The problem is, not all teachers would engage in such activity and the majority of teachers don’t.

“A lot of times what happens is after there’s a predatory situation, people will say, ‘Well, I saw this person communicating with them after hours. I saw this person giving them gifts. I saw this person working with them alone or giving them rides.’ Those are all red flags,” said Director of School Building Physical Security and Safety for the Indiana Department of Education David Woodward.

“The problem is educators don’t know the red flags because they haven’t had the training. A lot of times you’ll see things and you’ll trust the person more than your policy and what we need to do is get past that.”

If a district turns into monitoring communications, some teachers and students privacy could be invaded. 

Email, school communication apps and text messages are useful add ons to speaking to students (and families) one-on-one in a school meeting. Teachers need solid training in communication skills and in using today's tech tools to avoid problems in the future.

Read the full story.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor

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