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Text Messages Top Causes of Lost Teachers Licenses in Tennessee
posted by: Alix | January 10, 2011, 04:14 PM   

New technologies have completely revolutionized the way we communicate. From Facebook wall posts, to text messages and blogs, we can communicate at all times and almost anonymously. However, this new form of impersonal communication can wreak havoc in the work place, especially for teachers who work with children. A recent Associated Press report finds that more than half of Tennessee teachers who lost their teaching licenses last year were revoked for inappropriate relationships with students, mostly through text messages.

"Technology is making it easier to engage in inappropriate communication with students, and fewer educators are deliberate about how they conduct themselves because it's easier to say something in a text message than in person," said Rich Haglund, an attorney for the Tennessee Board of Education.

Haglund reports that firings due to inappropriate messages have increased in the last year. More than half of the 27 cases in which teachers lost licenses in 2010 involved inappropriate contact with students, records show. Among those, at least seven specifically included texting by the teacher. This behavior was not limited to new hires, but veteran teachers as well.

In the state of Tennessee, individual school districts set their policies on contacting students and social media. In Nashville, there are explicit policies on contacting students and using inappropriate websites.

"The rapid growth of social media and advances in technology have brought as many issues for people as they have provided benefits," Nashville school system spokeswoman Olivia Brown said.

Inappropriate behavior via social networking sites and text messages can be career ending for some. With the dawn of these new technologies, we have posted tips and tricks on to handle these new and evolving situations.

Well meaning teachers who see no harm in giving out their cell phone number can often be caught in the crossfire. Be sure to read and understand your specific district's policy about contacting students and be sure to protect your career with liability insurance through AAE.

What do you think of situation in Tennessee? Are you protected?
Comment below.

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