Should parents friend their child's teacher on Facebook?

BALTIMORE, Md. - The number of people logging on to Facebook continues to grow. It's a form of communication for some people.

Schools now have a Facebook fan page to let parents know what's happening.  Schools post information on classwork and upcoming school events. Should parents friend their child's teacher?

Sharon Mostyn has two teenagers in high school.  She is friends with teachers on Facebook.

"I think it's great.  It gives them an opportunity to continue to connect with the parents after they had their children especially in the younger grades.  You develop a relationship with them," said Sharon Mostyn, mother of two teenagers.

Ellen O'Laughlen has taught Kindergarten and First grade. She friends parents.

"Anyone who asked me to be a friend I was.  I friended the parents that I've been close with and I've known their children for a long time and taught siblings.  I feel comfortable enough to talk to them and share my life with them," said Ellen O'Laughlen, a teacher.

Maryland educators have not seen any major problems with Facebook, but other states have.  In 2007, a Michigan Middle School teacher was fired after inappropriate pictures of her were taken during a Bachelorette party.

Students and parents gained access to the photos, which were posted on the internet.  The teacher was fired. She appealed and won, but these situations are what educators want to avoid.

"We tell our teachers that to communicate with the parents use your Baltimore City email and email them.  We do not advocate friending parents on Facebook," said Marietta English, President of the Baltimore Teachers Union.

"You shouldn't be posting anything that you wouldn't show a parent or boss or anything else on social media.  It's important to make sure that your privacy is taken care of and that you are not putting things out there that shouldn't be upsetting," said Mostyn.

The Baltimore City Teachers Union is being proactive about Facebook holding seminars to educate teachers on social media.  The seminars are packed with those who want to freshen up on what is appropriate and what is not.

Attorney Keith Zimmerman leads the discussion.

"I think that posting information on the internet is inappropriate.  I think it's a wonderful idea for parents and teachers to get to know each other.  I don't think there is anything wrong with parents and teachers becoming friends with each other and communicating, but not through the informal methods of the internet.  Email is just fine," said Attorney Keith Zimmerman, leads Social Media seminars.

Dr. Bernard Sadusky, the Interim State Superintendent of Schools, also recommends emails or face to face communication between parents and teachers.

"We are in a different age and folks are used to friending each other and we understand that, but as long as we safeguard the students and teachers it should be fine," said Dr. Bernard Sadusky, Interim State Superintendent of Schools.

Ginny Deise has triplets in high school.  She is not ready to friend their teachers.

"I struggle with friending teachers because I don't want to cross that line of parent, teacher for my child to be slighted because I am a Facebook friend or not so I've never friended one of the current teachers and probably wouldn't ever do that," said Ginny Deise, mother of teenagers.

Maryland does not have any legislation on teachers friending parents and students on Facebook.

Print this article Back to Top