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Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien,WA 98166

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Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Procedure 4309 - STAFF GUIDELINES FOR SOCIAL MEDIA USE

Need help? Call Communications at 206-631-3002

Highline Public Schools’ staff members are required to follow these guidelines, in accordance with Board Policy 4309 Social Media, 2022 Electronic Resources and related procedures. Please read these guidelines closely. Contact Communications if you have any questions.

Do these guidelines apply to me?
These guidelines have been developed for employees who:

  • Maintain social media accounts and websites—personal or professional—that mention Highline Public Schools or its schools/students/staff; and/or
  • Post content about Highline Public Schools and/or students on social media sites including, but not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Vimeo, Periscope, Tumblr, SchoolTube, MySpace, SlideShare, Yammer, Blogspot, Flickr, any public blog and any other emerging social media platform.

Irresponsible social media use can risk legal action against Highline Public Schools.

Staff are allowed to set up social media accounts for schools, programs and departments. These accounts must be approved by the Communications office and staff must agree to the page/account owner requirements. Please refer to the last section of this document for guidelines and procedures. The following social media accounts are approved for schools, programs and departments: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Vimeo.

The do’s and don’ts for staff use of all social media platforms:

  • Check the Photo Opt-Out List: Families who do not want their student’s photo or video published are required to notify their student’s school office. Office staff are required to add this information to illuminate. Staff are responsible for checking the photo opt-out list in illuminate before posting any photo and video on social media. To view the list of students on the photo opt-out list at your school:
    • Log into illuminate
    • Select Reports
    • Select List Reports
    • Using the search bar, search for Photo Opt-Out
    • Select the Photo Opt-Out Report
    • See a list of students who cannot be photographed at your school 
    • The Photo Opt-Out report has also been added to the favorites widget on the dashboard.  ‚Äč

Please note: The photo opt-out list is reset at the start of every school year. The list can be updated at any point in the year. It is important to review the list before posting any photos or videos on an approved school, program or department social media account. 

  • Get Permission. Check with your colleagues before posting their photographs and/or video images.  Additionally, students, parents, and colleagues should not be cited or obviously referenced without their approval.  It is acceptable to discuss general details about projects, lessons, or events and to use non-identifying pseudonyms for an individual as long as the information provided does not make it easy for someone to identify the individual or violate any privacy law. 
  • Share information. Schools are encouraged to provide the Communications office with content for the district’s social media pages. Staff in central office departments should also work with Communications to incorporate specific messages into district-managed social media tools.
  • Be professional.. Always express ideas and opinions in a respectful manner.  Staff are encouraged not post negative comments or remarks related to Highline Public Schools, its schools, students or staff. If you have an issue or concern as an employee, we encourage you to speak with your supervisor or contact the Human Resources team. Posting concerns on the internet or social media sites is not the most constructive way to resolve a concern. The Electronic Resources Policy 2022 and its Procedure 2022P apply to all Internet and social media use.  What you write is ultimately your responsibility.  Exercise good judgment and err on the side of caution. When in doubt, don’t post it.
     
  • Be transparent. Your honesty—or dishonesty—will be noticed in the social media environment.  If you are posting about your work on a District-affiliated site, use your real name and identify your employment relationship with the District.  Be clear about your role.  If you have a vested interest in what you are discussing, be the first to point it out.  If you publish to a site outside the District’s network, use a disclaimer to state in clear terms that the views expressed are your own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Highline Public Schools.
     
  • If confronted with a difference of opinion, keep your cool.  If you make an error, be up front about your mistake and correct it quickly.  Express your points in a clear, logical way.  Sometimes it is better to ignore a comment rather than give it credibility by acknowledging it with a response.
     
  • Your use of any social media network and your postings, displays, or communications on any social media network must comply with all state and federal laws.
     
  • Everything published on the district’s social media sites is considered public record and can be requested as part of the Public Records Act Public Records Act (RCW 42.56).
     
  • Remember that it is unacceptable to converse with students outside of school except for authorized educational purposes. Staff are required to adhere to the standards outlined in Policy 5253 Maintaining Professional Staff/Student Boundaries and its procedures. Public social networking sites are not the place to conduct school business with students or parents.
  • Students and staff should not reveal student personal information on websites, blogs, podcasts, videos, wikis, and email or as content on any other electronic medium. No student pictures or names can be published on any class, school or district website unless the appropriate permission has been verified according to Student Records, Policy 3250 and Procedure 3250P. 
  • Make sure your online activities do not interfere with your job.  District technologies are provided for educational use.  Personal use of social media during District time or on District equipment is prohibited.

Setting up  a social media account for your school, program or department:

  • Staff must get approval from the Communications office before establishing a social media account for a school, program or department.
  • To receive approval, please return a completed Social Media Account Registration Form, found on the Board Policies page of the district website.
  • Requests to establish a page should be addressed to Communications office. Please include the purpose, audience, type of content planned, timeline, and how you plan to promote the page. Please call Communications at 206.631.3002 if you would like to discuss or have questions.  
  • Staff must grant administrator permissions to the Communications office when establishing a Facebook account, and provide username and passwords for all other social media accounts created for schools, programs and departments. Please call Communications at 206.631.3002 if you would like to discuss or have questions.
  • Once a social media account is approved and set up, staff must register the account with Archive Social, the district tool that archives social media content. The Communications office will send staff an email with instructions on how to register with Archive Social following approval of the account. Please call Communications at 206.631.3002 if you would like to discuss or have questions.

Many staff have Twitter accounts staff use that do not represent their school or program, but do represent them or their classrooms. If your account meets at least one of the following criteria, it must also be registered with the communications office:

If you are not sure, contact the Communications office. We want to talk to you and help you figure it out.

We consider the following in granting the privilege to establish a social media account will include:

  • Purpose must be educational or promote Highline Public Schools programs, schools or departments.
  • Approval must be obtained from the school principal or program/project director prior to seeking approval from Communications.
  • A school or district administrator must be assigned to monitor the social media account to ensure the content is appropriate and the account is kept up-to-date with fresh content.
  • Postings to the account must follow all Highline social media and electronic resource policies and guidelines.

Highline School District 401
Adopted by the Superintendent: August 2013
Revised by the Superintendent: July 2017