Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

WAYNE SCHOOLS ; County Mulls Social Media Policy

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

WAYNE SCHOOLS ; County Mulls Social Media Policy

Article excerpt

Wayne County's school board is considering creating a social media policy, and the lawyer drafting it says she's looking at the version Kanawha County's school board has been considering as an example to possibly follow. But attorney Leslie Tyree, who provides legal services for Wayne and the five other county public school systems in Regional Education Service Agency 2, said Tuesday that she won't look at Kanawha's version exclusively. She said she plans to start drafting the policy this week.

"It's not necessarily going to mimic Kanawha County's or any other county's," Tyree said.

Kanawha's board hasn't yet approved its own proposed "social media policy," which has a scope beyond what its title may imply to users of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It says "Social media can be engaged in by various ways, for example, through text messages, instant messages, and email."

After an official first reading of the policy at its July 21 meeting, the Kanawha board posted it online for a public comment period, which normally lasts 30 days.

In that version of the policy, Kanawha's public school system would've claimed wide latitude to monitor communications. Much of the language in that version exactly mirrored policies available online from several Pennsylvania school districts, including the Pottsville Area School District and the Methacton School District.

The West Virginia branches of the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Federation of Teachers union criticized that draft - the ACLU alleged it would've violated the Fourth and First Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, as well as state law - and the issue didn't reappear on a Kanawha board agenda until November, when the board had an official second reading and placed it out again for public comment.

The school system used outside attorneys from West Virginia- based Bailey & Wyant to develop the new version, which still contains much similar language to the first version that was placed on public comment.

Jamie Lynn Crofts, legal director for ACLU of West Virginia, said Tuesday that she has looked over the language of Kanawha's new version and saw some improvements, but said the ACLU hasn't yet finished a full legal analysis.

Despite the fact the latest public comment period was set to end Friday, she said the ACLU probably will write another letter to Kanawha's board if her organization does find any problems with the new version. …

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