Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools Creates Texting Policy

4:50 PM, May 9, 2012   |    comments
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 PDF Document: Texting Policy  PDF Document: Texting Policy 2

Forsyth-County -- Winston-Salem Forsyth County School District's new policy is discouraging school employees, volunteers and coaches from sending text messages to individual students.

However, text messaging is allowed for school-related matters, as long as the adult follows these rules:

* Texting is only allowed for high school students. No texting to junior high or elementary school kids.
* Adults should use group texting websites to communicate with high school students.
* Parents must be invited to join the group texting website.
* All students' cell phone numbers must be in the school system's official database.
* Adults must keep a record of all texts sent and received from students.

The district recognizes the times are changing and text messaging is the norm. There wasn't a text messaging policy before, so the school board wanted to clarify its position.

School district spokesperson Theo Helm said, "The method or means of communication is not as important as what's being said. If somebody is saying something inappropriate, to us, it doesn't matter if it's through a text message or on the telephone or in a letter, email or face to face."

What happens if someone violates this policy? The district says it will be looked at on a case by case basis. The basic idea is to keep all communication between teachers and students professional -- whether it is emails, texts or even in-person conversations.

The district can't individually monitor every employee's personal cell phone. But, if there is ever a complaint from a parent, the board will be able to refer to this policy.

The school board approved the first reading of policy. It will become official policy after the second reading at the next school board meeting.

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