Social media has become a part of our daily lives in our modern world. We post updates, images, videos, and more on our profiles which are usually visible to our friends and the general public.
And with students, parents, and the general public actively patronizing social media platforms, districts, and educational institutions have instituted policies for their teachers to follow.
Some of these policies govern what teachers can post on social media. A typical example is teachers posting pictures of their students on social media. While these policies may seem restrictive to some, they’re implemented to protect the school and its teachers, and most importantly, the privacy of its students.
One such policy that’s debated in various academic circles involves posting pictures with alcohol on social media. Are teachers allowed to post pictures with alcohol on these platforms?
No, most districts and educational institutions have implemented policies that forbid teachers from posting images with alcohol on social media, as it serves a bad example for any students who may chance on such images.
Social Media Rules For Teachers
While regulations governing teachers’ activities on social media may differ depending on the district in question, we’ll be outlining some of the most common policies below.
Determine District’s Social Media Policies
Identify your district’s policies on the usage of social media and interactions. Most districts have regulations governing how teachers should comport themselves on these platforms.
Don’t go with what you think may be right as good intentions alone cannot keep you out of trouble. Confirm your district or school’s regulations on social media usage for teachers.
Don’t Follow Or Friend Students
Refrain from making friends with your students on social media. This means that you reject their friend requests and you do not like or comment on their posts.
Implement Strict Privacy Settings
Now it’s time to learn a few things about privacy settings. Simply joining social media isn’t enough as you need to make sure there’s a distance between yourself and your students.
Check privacy settings to ensure any posts or updates on your account are shared only with people you know. Always set your personal Instagram, Facebook, and other social media accounts to private.
If you don’t know how to do this, try asking another teacher, head of IT, or someone with sufficient technical know-how. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Decent/Appropriate Posts And Images
Ensure that all posts on your personal account are considered decent according to the standards of the institution. This means no talking about provocative topics, posting improper images and content, no gang or drug-related topics or signs, and definitely no alcohol bottles in your pictures. This includes profile pictures as they might still be visible to others even when third parties are blocked from seeing your posts.
No School Affiliation
Refrain from affiliating yourself with your educational institution on your personal profile. Never write about your school in any of your posts. This regulation is a little relaxed in some schools as they may allow teachers to say something about the school so long as it doesn’t depict a negative image of the school. Some even recommend that you pass any mention of the school by the appropriate authorities first.
Don’t Post Pictures/Grades Of Students
This particular regulation is very important in every district as teachers are expressly forbidden from posting student grades or pictures on social media. Irrespective of how proud the student made you or your good intentions, you can only post any identifiable information about a student with the permission of your institution and a guardian.
While some parents like to post pictures of their children on these platforms, others refrain from doing so. Posting a student’s image on social media platforms without the permission of their parent would be violating the child’s privacy.
No Geotagging/Posting In School
Do not post on your personal social media accounts during school hours. Even in cases where you’re not teaching, refrain from geotagging your location in your post when you’re on school grounds. If you love to take selfies, simply wait till after school and you’re off-campus to take them.
While it’s easy to believe that posts on platforms like Snapchat would vanish after a certain period, the truth remains that, information doesn’t disappear in our modern world.
Snapshots can easily be taken, making it impossible to completely lose any posted information.
Complaints About Your School/Students
You should refrain from complaining about your school or students on your social media accounts. This is especially true if you’re friends with coworkers on social media.
Don’t ever contact students on social media irrespective of your reasons. If you’d like to provide them with some information, try contacting their parents to avoid any issues.
Can Teachers Get Fired For Posting Pictures With Alcohol
Yes. While most districts and educational institutions would simply warn teachers who violate policies governing social media posting, teachers can be fired for any activity that is considered to bring disrepute to the profession.
Parents, students, and other stakeholders use social media platforms daily. And even if teachers have strict privacy settings preventing students from seeing their posts, information easily travels in our modern world.
Parents and other stakeholders would complain about the teacher’s behavior which could lead to an investigation and some form of punishment for breaching school policies. In the case of repeat offenses, the teacher could lose their job.
Can Teachers Get In Trouble For What They Post On Social Media
While various factors including context and district regulations need to be considered, there have been multiple cases of teachers being fired for their social media postings.
District policies prohibit teachers from posting any information, images, or videos of their students on social media without authorization from the educational institution or guardian.
Irrespective of your reasoning, students have the right to privacy, and teachers who violate these rights would face consequences.
Additionally, teachers are forbidden from posting images about provocative topics, improper images and content, gang or drug-related topics or signs, and visible alcohol bottles.
Complaining about your school on social media would also get you into trouble, especially in cases where a coworker has access to this information.
It’s advisable to refrain from affiliating yourself with your school on your personal social media profile. Simply pass any mentions of the school through the appropriate authorities in your educational institution before posting them on your personal social media profile.
Teachers who violate these policies can face suspension or dismissal depending on the severity of the consequences of their actions. So, to answer the question, we’ll say:
Yes, teachers can face consequences for any social media post that breaches district or school social media guidelines and policies. They are prohibited from posting content that depicts drugs, alcohol, scanty attire, drug-related topics, and signs.
The Bottom Line
Teachers are expected to serve as role models to students and society expects them to live up to a certain standard. And while what’s considered appropriate may differ depending on the context and other factors, educational institutions expect teachers to put their students first.
Even in the case of drinking, districts do not forbid teachers from drinking but only that they do not drink in the presence of their students or in public.
Posting pictures with alcohol on social media would set a bad example for students and may lead to parents lodging complaints.