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Wilton Teachers Could Have Social Media Restricted

WILTON, Conn. – It’s hard enough for parents to monitor how their children use social networking, but for the Wilton school system, it presents a peculiar concern.

“Since the mid-2000s social networking started as a river, then a flood, then a waterfall and it really is enveloping every part of everything we do,” said Mathew Hepfer , technology director for the Wilton school system.

And now that social media is a part of regular life, creating a policy that dictates how employees should present themselves while on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other similar sites.

Currently, the school district has no policy on social networking, but Hepfer and Ellen Andrews, school human resources director, told the board of education that it is something it should have, just in case.

“For school systems, they can be very dangerous, costly and damaging to someone’s career,” Hepfer said of social media sites. Implementing a policy would not only protect employees, Andrews said, but the district as well.

Hepfer spoke about a special education teacher in Alabama who had posted inappropriate photos and comments about one of his students on Facebook, and because the system had no policy, there was little they could do.

The only thing that may hinder the policy is the Wilton Education Association, and Andrews said that the concern was from wording in the policy.

“I think that at the end of the day the board is going to have to decide,” Superintendent Gary Richards said.

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