MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) - Social networking and teachers, that was the topic of a public hearing in Mobile Thursday. School board members are trying to put social media guidelines on paper. The issue came to light in January after a parent felt that a Causey Middle School teacher sent inappropriate messages to a student on Facebook.
The Mobile County Public School System is revamping its social networking policy.
The need arose after a sixth grade teacher Marlon Smith was placed on administrative leave after allegations surfaced with a student via Facebook.
Superintendent Dr. Roy Nichols says Smith is still on leave.
"There are some other complicating factors not related to social networking in that case, so can't speculate on how long that will be...probably until the end of the year," said Dr. Roy Nichols.
Smith was placed on leave in January.
Superintendent Nichols is recommending school board members adopt a new policy on staff conduct; it includes a section on texting, social networking and other personal portrayals on the internet.
The old policy never made mention of them.
The Alabama Education Association said the new policy is a bit too wordy and broad.
"A simple solution to simply say any contact with students has to be on an official Facebook page. Mrs. Smith's second grade Facebook page," said Wade Perry with the AEA.
Superintendent Nichols said the policy is not banning social networking just stating what's appropriate and what isn't.
"The reason you write policy is for the who don't have a clue of where that in appropriateness begins," said Dr. Nichols.
School officials hope the new policy will make the rules clear for teachers, students and parents.
Another public hearing is planned for next week, before the school board members vote.
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