Social Media Guidance
This document is intended to help protect teachers and students as they use social media platforms to enhance teaching and learning. BPS understands that social media, when used responsibly, can be a powerful tool, but student confidentiality and professional ethics and conduct are crucial to best practices in online safety. We encourage teachers to follow this list of guidelines and support students when appropriate in creating a positive digital footprint.
NOTE: to share items to be posted on BPS district social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, etc.), email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post on Twitter with the hashtag #learnbps.
Definition and list of apps/tools
Bismarck Public Schools defines social media as websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.
Examples of social media include, but are not limited to:
- Special interest apps such as fitness (FitBit, Strava), music (Playlist, Bandlab), hunting/fishing (Fishbrain), etc.
It is expected that all social media activity whether personal or professional be in compliance with the following BPS policies
It is required by law that BPS have a policy in place regarding parents being able to Opt Out their child from Directory Information. If the child has been opted out, the directory information cannot be publicly published without prior written consent of the parent. Opt out information includes student name, address, phone number, parents’ names, date and place of birth, gender, participation in activities and sports, grade level, photograph, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of enrollment/attendance, diplomas and awards received, and most recent BPS school attended.
Bismarck Public Schools recognizes the increase use of social networking sites for sharing information among individuals and groups. BPS encourages social networking Best Practices which support the safety and dignity of all individuals. Persons who create Teacher, Group or other social media accounts that represent BPS staff, groups, teams or organizations, are solely responsible for the monitoring, maintenance, and use of the pages until it has been deactivated or until admin access has been transferred to another individual.
- It is required that any staff desiring to start a social media account for a school group first contact the building principal.
- It is required that parents are notified regarding the intended use of the social media account.
- All social media accounts that are associated with a school (courses/programs, clubs, activities, PTOs, school buildings, etc.) should be set up to include the school principal, or a principal designee, as a co-administrator.
- BPS Employees are prohibited from requiring or encouraging students to create and use specific social media applications.
- Bismarck Public Schools employees who create personal social media accounts are solely responsible for the content thereof.
- BPS employees should recognize that even though these accounts are personal, anything posted publicly reflects on Bismarck Public Schools, and in some circumstances can have professional repercussions.
- BPS employees should not use personal social media accounts to share information or depictions of BPS related activities.
Age Requirement & Targeted Advertising
Most social media user agreements requires that users be at least 13 years of age to join. Any and all profiles, groups, or pages created that represent a Bismarck Public Schools employee, group, school, organization, or team are expected to comply with all aspects of the user agreement. As a general rule, Bismarck Public Schools does NOT support the practice of "friending" current students on social media applications.
Some social media sites collect user information and then target ads based on preferences and browsing history. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) limits the collection of user information on children under the age of 13. For this reason, BPS staff may not have students under the age of 13 interacting on a classroom or group social media pages or feeds.
Posts and Pictures
- Consider what you are posting and do not post it if others may be offended. It is required that BPS employees only post professionally and educationally appropriate content in compliance with provider guidelines.
- Be aware of any students who are on the OPT OUT list.
- Avoid tagging in status updates and pictures.
- Consider what you are posting, and do not post it if others may be offended.
- Be aware that, even though you don’t have any control over it, anything that others post to their social media feeds that includes, references, or tags you is still associated with Bismarck Public Schools and can, in some cases, have professional repercussions.
- It is strongly recommended that BPS employees not post information or pictures of classroom or school activities using personal social media accounts.
Comments and Direct/Private messages
- Be aware of what comments students and others may be posting on your page.
- If something posted is offensive or questionable, delete the comment.
- Use any questionable student comments as a teachable moment and hold students accountable for what they post.
- Remore the ability to tag or ask students/parents not to tag comments or pictures and let them know that any tags will be removed. The page owner (BPS staff) must daily monitor and remove tags.
- Be aware that, as employees of BPS, you have a responsibility to conduct yourself professionally in any public setting including posts or comments you might make on other’s social media feeds.
- Be aware that as employees of BPS, anything you post on any public social media feed can have a direct effect on your professional standing and reputation.
- BPS employees should exercise restraint and judgement in engaging with students and parents on personal social media.
Friending and Following
- BPS employees must follow provider guidelines regarding minimum age.
- In compliance with COPPA, BPS employees are not allowed to “friend” or “follow” anyone under the age of 13.
- As a general rule, Bismarck Public Schools does NOT support the practice of "friending" current students on social media applications.
- In compliance with COPPA, BPS employees should not “friend” or “follow” anyone under the age of 13.
- BPS employees should strongly consider refraining from friending or following social media feeds of all current students and/or parents of students.
Best practices recommendations
In DESCRIPTION section:
The BPS Facebook page is maintained by [enter school or department name here].
The administrators for this Facebook page reserve the right to monitor all comments and if necessary, remove any inappropriate posts. The purpose of this practice is to maintain the sense of professionalism in our district community, as well as to protect the rights and privacy of all BPS students and employees.
We comply with all federal and state regulations regarding the online safety and privacy of minors. We will not knowingly post, solicit, or communicate in any way through this page with children under the age of 13.
By posting to the [Name of Page] Facebook page, participants:
recognize that they are subject to having their comments, name, and profile picture publicly visible.
will not post anything that is illegal, or that may be construed as promotion of illegal activity. This includes adhering to all copyright and fair use laws.
will not use any language that is considered abusive, lewd, or inappropriate for a school community.
will not post anything that can be considered harassing or bullying. Any such posts will be reported to the appropriate authority.
shall respect our staff and students by not posting any comments that are personally defamatory.
will not post spam.
- BPS employees should not use social media that is associated with BPS accounts for personal use. Use your personal email to sign up for personal accounts.