School district blog policies

Nora Carr wrote in eSchoolNews in February about the need for schools to have policies regarding employee blogs. I thought it was interesting that she cited Harvard Law School’s policy as the model for public school districts since Paul Gillin, author of The New Influencers, notes that it may be the longest employee blogging policy he’s come across. I suppose it may be too much to hope for a school district to adopt Microsoft’s two-word policy: Be Smart.

For those of you who are looking for some model policies to guide your school system, Gillin points to a few examples that Charlene Li has posted on her wiki. If you know of any school employee blogging policies, drop the link in the comment area?

7 Responses to “School district blog policies”

  1. This is not meant to be critical but my thoughts are that the majority of Supts. and School Boards do not even know what a blog is or how it is used in schools. I would give it one more year before central office staff become more aware of blogging. This is timely because educational bloggers can have this information when the time comes.

  2. At the risk of sounding simplistic… Do we really need a policy to govern communications when we have been using digital and non-digital methods of communicating for quite a long time?

    Why does the introduction of blogs make this any different?

    I can understand that additional guidance may be needed to help all understand a slightly-less distinct line between what is personal and what is professional, but I cannot imagine it rises to the level of “yet another” policy.

    Am I crazy in suggesting that each time a new technology comes out that allows us to essentially do the same thing differently, that perhaps other well-crafted policies might apply?

  3. Shouldn’t the local board of education already have a policy in place that lays out the precedents placed by Pickering v. Board of Education, Connick v. Myers, & Waters v. Churchill? A blog is no different than a newspaper article. If something is aired that is within the realm of Public Concern, that employee could be eventually fired (don’t forget about Due Process). Maybe all of our employees should be made aware (not just the blogging ones)?

    Scott, what’s your take on these cases as they apply to blogging?

  4. Brian, like you and Joel, I often think that existing policies already cover new technologies. It’s about the behavior, not the tool or the medium. As you say, districts should already have a policy for when they can discipline teachers for public speech. They don’t need a new policy just for blogging.

    Similarly, they should already have a policy in place for student off-campus behavior. They don’t need a new one for student cyberbullying using off-campus tools. And they probably don’t need a new policy to deal with cell phones; simply use the existing policy that covers student disruptive behavior at school.

    Some policies may need to be tweaked to cover new mediums of expression or behavior, but a whole new policy? Often (usually?) unnecessary.

  5. Thank you for providing a forum on this very important issue.

    I have just started exploring this topic within my East Tennessee school district, and I agree that an additional layer of policy may not be the answer.

    But what about existing policies that need to be adjusted or tweaked to accommodate the explosion in web-based, self-publishing tools?

    I think this is the primary problem in my school district, which has a web publishing policy last revised in 2001. It states that all original web content must be posted to district web servers and prohibits links to external web servers, personal web pages, and messaging systems.

    I would enjoy hearing others’ perspectives. I wrote our school board’s web policy earlier this summer in my blog ( and included a link to a PDF of the policy. Please comment!

    As far as I know, ONE district employee is openly using a blog in his practice as a middle school librarian, and I was told (by an IT administrator also employed by this district) that “they are watching him closely.” Whatever that means.

  6. I am writing a paper for class from the perspective of the school district and cannot find anything about what school districts have to say about their choices to either have or not have fast food in school. Any help would be much appriciated


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