In light of ever-increasing use (and abuse) of social media, school district personnel must be mindful of the rights and responsibilities—of students and of the school districts themselves—that come with this technology.

Interested in learning more about these rights and responsibilities?  If you are a Husch Blackwell client or a member of the Council of the Great City Schools, join us next Tuesday, May 22, at 2:30 Eastern Daylight Time for a complimentary continuing legal education webinar.  Click here to register.

One of the topics that will be discussed is cyberbullying.  We will define cyberbullying and discuss unique cyberbullying concerns and laws.  While no federal law directly addresses bullying per se, bullying also can involve discriminatory harassment when based on race, national origin, color, sex, age, disability, or religion.  When this occurs, public school districts have an obligation to address the harassment while balancing the rights of those involved.

Many states have laws directly addressing cyberbullying.  In Missouri, for example, cyberbullying is bullying through the transmission of a communication including, but not limited to, a message, text, sound, or image by means of an electronic device including, but not limited to, a telephone, wireless telephone, or other wireless communication device, computer, or pager.

Our webinar will also address in detail issues related to the use of social media by public school districts as a method of communicating with students, including the drafting of social media policies and enforcement mechanisms.  In addition, the presenters will discuss the current legal trend of prohibiting employers/schools from demanding access/passwords to personal social media accounts of employees and students.  Schools should be cognizant of these laws when establishing, updating, and implementing social medial policies.