Officials in Virginia's public school system are set to vote on, and expected to pass, a series of recommendations for how teachers and students can interact digitally. At issue is whether students and teachers can be Facebook friends and whether they can text. Essentially: they can't. If this measure passes, it will be up to individual districts if they want to enact it although the state will encourage them to do so. The move is in response to the 120 incidents of sexual misconduct between teachers and student that officials have investigated since 2000. Not all teachers are happy about the move.
"A professional code of conduct should apply whether you are speaking with a student in person, on the phone, via email or through posts using a variety of online Web 2.0 tools. These tools actually provide a written record of communication, so that in itself provides a level of accountability. We should trust our teachers to interact in a professional manner instead of unplugging our students and quashing their ability to communicate and collaborate digitally. Part of our district's Technology Plan calls for students to 'possess the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to learn in and contribute to virtual communities.' How does restricting communication via 21st century tools help achieve this goal?"