ANKENY, Iowa - On Friday, an Ankeny teacher pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation by a school employee.
Police reports don’t specify if social media was a direct factor in the relationship between teacher Mandy Davenport and a student but the incident has lead school districts across the state to deal with how they should communicate with their students.
The Ankeny Community School District says it revised and clarified wording in its social media guidelines.
“What was clarified in this specific case was referring Facebook and Twitter and some of the other social media sites by name,” says the district’s communication director, Jarret Peterson. “We also clarified teachers can use social media to push information out and that students should not be followed or 'friended' on social media.”
The district is currently in the process of meeting with teachers and coaches in social media training sessions to reinstate social media expectations.
The Iowa Association of School Boards says school employees and student communication and relationships are a growing concern because of social media.
“If you want to become a teacher you need to recognize a lot of your private life is private in order to have the respect in the classroom and maintain those professional relationships,” says the IASB attorney, Mary Gannon.
A generic social media policy is provided by the IASB for school districts statewide. It suggests employees do not add their students or parents and to make their profiles private by using an alias.
Ankeny Schools allow each building to create a Twitter or Facebook account.