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Teacher-Student Communication Focus of New Bill [AUDIO]

Most teachers already know what is and is not appropriate when communicating with a student, but it can’t hurt to make sure they know the rules.

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David Martyn Hunt, Getty Images

That’s the opinion of state Sen. Diane Allen (R-Cinnaminson), who is co-sponsoring a bill to require all school districts to create an electronic communication policy.

“We think the time has come to mandate a policy which, by the way, the districts can determine,” Allen said. “The vast, vast majority of teachers already know what appropriate communication is and do it very well, but there are those few that we need to watch out for and it’s important that the district has a written policy.”

The guidelines would be set for all electronic communications between every school employee and every student. This would include cell phone calls, texts, emails and social media interaction.

“Too often we hear of yet another teacher that has had some kind of contact with a child that some or all may consider to be inappropriate,” Allen said. “We certainly don’t want to stop teachers from communicating with their students using electronic means; I think in many cases that can be a plus. It just is, how it’s done and what the content is.”

Under the legislation, each school district would have 120 days after the effective date of the act to adopt a written policy concerning electronic communications between school employees and students enrolled in the district. The policy must include, at a minimum, provisions designed to prevent improper communications between school employees and students made via email, cell phones, social networking websites, and other Internet-based social media.

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