Social Media Guidelines Imposed on Teachers of Trenton School Districts Causes Online Marketing Company fishbat to Offer Perspective

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An article published by The Times of Trenton reports that Trenton New Jersey school board has adopted a new social media policy for teachers and staff members. fishbat, an online marketing firm, commends the Trenton school board for their adopted policies.

On November 1, social media agency fishbat responds to an article published by The Times of Trenton which reports that in Trenton, NJ, the Trenton school board recently adopted a new social media policy to maintain professionalism amongst faculty members. fishbat, Inc. responds to the school board’s decision, commenting that it was “bold and justified.”

The Times of Trenton reports that the Trenton school board policies suggest that teachers remain professional, stating that they should not post “inappropriate photos or otherwise embarrass the school district,” accept student friend requests and that they should “[k]eep all conversations focused on school and learning.”

The article reports that Jaime Maniatis, technology teacher at Daylight/Twilight High School, favors professional boundaries in social media. “Students try to Facebook-friend me, but I won’t allow it,” she said. “I do think there’s a fine line there. It’s very important that teachers remain in a professional role with students and keep that role.”

According to The Trenton Times, “Trenton school officials said while they haven’t experienced problems with staff on Facebook or other similar sites, the near-universal popularity of social networking meant it was high time the district codified its rules on social media usage.”

In an interview with The Trenton Times, Sybil Trotta, the district’s human resources manager for policy, labor relations, negotiations and legal affairs stated, “The regulations give us an opportunity to spell everything out.” Trotta goes on to explain, “Basically, when you’re on Facebook or something of that nature, you’re discouraged from friending students, to retain that level of respect and professionalism. We discourage that type of interaction.”

Mike Yaple, a New Jersey School Board Association (NJSBA) spokesman, commented on the Trenton policies to The Trenton Times stating that young professionals who have grown up with social media don’t realize the professional boundaries needed for social media. “The policy we came up with for New Jersey doesn’t tell staff they can’t use Facebook or social networking sites, it just sets the ground rules for professional behavior,” comments Yaple.

“Professionals sometimes forget that what they post on the Internet stays on the Internet,” comments Nick Renna, social media agency fishbat’s Social Media Strategy Manager. “While most of us want to post photos of our greatest moments of debauchery, users of social media should stop and think for a moment, asking themselves, ‘Who might see this?’ which more often than not does not happen.”

Maniatis commented to The Trenton Times that it is impossible not to address social media to students and that “Even teachers need to understand the issue of how to present themselves online. You want to develop relationships with your students, but how do you draw the line and use these tools? How are you presenting yourself to the world?”

“Social media is still defining itself to the world. Mistakes will be made and careers will suffer from not understanding boundaries. The mistake of boundaries can be made with interpersonal relationships as well but to eliminate human contact is ridiculous,” comments Renna. “As long as professionals respect the tools of their trade, no harm will come. The actions of The Trenton school board were bold and justified.”

fishbat, Inc. is a full service online marketing firm. Through social media management, search engine optimization (SEO), web design, and public relations, fishbat strives as a marketing firm to raise awareness about your brand and strengthen your corporate image.


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Scott Darrohn
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