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School, social media and professional standards.

(6 Posts)
Gertrudeisgerman Tue 10-Jan-17 14:23:48

Does anyone else have experience of their DC's school interacting with and shutting down school related things on FB?

I am part of a mums group set up for social reasons on FB (we went on Christmas parties, going up the pub etc) but it has turned into a bit of weird conduit for the school after the admin of thus FB group ingratiated herself as a member of the staff at school (she's also a parent, think queen bee of alpha mums).

There has been a major H&S issue involving the children and mums have been discussing it on this group & suddenly it has been closed down and a very passive aggressive message sent out by the head on a school letter instructing parents not to discuss things about the school on social media but approach the school instead. I didn't/don't post on the page so it's not a personal axe to grind btw but I'm uncomfortable.

It isn't up to the head to tell people that they shouldn't be posting their opinions about the school on social media is it? Or AIBU? It's seems unhealthy that they expect unquestioning positivity about the school and try to shut down any criticism or concerns from parents who are actually very respectful on the whole. It isn't a dictatorship and if parents want to share their experience and worries of this H&S issue don't they have the freedom of speech to do that? There wasn't any abusive opinions voiced, more annoyance that the school were not taking a particular action.

Personal conduct on FB between parents and staff at the school is odd too. The amount of parents who are entangled in 'working' there, either paid or voluntary is bordering on weird. Parents being 'friends' on FB with their child's class teacher and staff and parents going away on social weekends away etc. Teaching assistants piping up in school related threads also seems to be frequent. AIBU thinking there is a blurring of professional boundaries? If I had these kind of relationships with my service users that I work with (health & social care) my ability to practice objectively would be questioned, no doubt. We have clear guidelines about social media though that I guess education doesn't? AIBU to be concerned?

ailPartout Tue 10-Jan-17 15:52:55

You're being far too vague to give you real answers as to if you should be concerned.

I don't for a second think it's unreasonable to try to shut down bitching "more annoyance that the school were not taking a particular action". Do any of the commentators have perfect knowledge of whatever H&S issue occurred or is there a lot of gossip and 2nd hand information being bandied around. The sort that never has a positive effect. Libel laws could even be applicable. I think that a head appealing to parents to approach them directly instead of worthless moaning on social media is both reasonable and sensible.

Why do you have the word 'working' in inverted commas? Do you feel that they don't perform a worthwhile role at the school?

"staff and parents going away on social weekends away"

Should this be banned?

"Teaching assistants piping up in school related threads also seems to be frequent."

You mean on this special facebook page? Are these TAs also these ones who are entanged as they have children at the school. As long as they aren't revealing sensitive information, there isn't much a head could do beyond a friendly pointer as to what kind of conduct can make their professional life simpler or easier.

RB68 Tue 10-Jan-17 16:02:15

Basically someone needed to sort the settings on the page out so that it was private to members only and members were vetted. Schools often have in t&c that you won't use social media to tar the reputation etc - same as any employer or company would as well. It all too quickly gets out of hand.

I find it best if school and parents kept separate as far as possible on fb - so parents group but any neg discussions redirected to where they can sort ie school and no arguments between opposing parents - just address with school and if want to set up an action group they can recruit but any discussions take offline to pub or where ever.

Skang Tue 10-Jan-17 16:09:07

You've got to see it from the school's point of view - obviously they want to save their reputation. If they physically can defend themselves then why wouldn't they? Who is going to stop them? Any prospective parent to the school could read it and be put off by it.

Our class have a messenger group to discuss school related stuff and nights out. Not that I've heard any complaining so far.

SecondsLeft Tue 10-Jan-17 16:09:59

Our school has also contacted administrators of parent group facebook accounts and asked for similar. I actually wouldn't want to comment on school matters in such a forum, which is quasi public because lots of members and you don't know who is showing it to who. I think it is right and respectful to school and students.

Trifleorbust Tue 10-Jan-17 16:17:27

I think schools have a bit of a cheek to think they can control private conversations in this way. People can say what they want on social media provided it isn't libellous.

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