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School Board To Discuss Social Media Policy at Meeting

Anne Arundel County Public Schools currently do not have a social media policy.

The Anne Arundel County school board will discuss a new social media policy at its upcoming meeting on Wednesday morning.

The board will give a first read to a new policy that could end the ban of some social media sites in the classroom. Currently, Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) spokesman Bob Mosier said the school system does not have a social media policy.

Mosier said every new policy or regulation goes before the board three times. Wednesday is the first time the members will see this policy. The board will only give it a first read and there will not be a vote until the third reading.

“These policies and regulations are designed to be able to take advantage of opportunities as it relates to instructional purposes,” Mosier said. “They are an attempt to put in place procedures that take advantage of opportunities and minimize consequences and downsides of social media. We hope to lay out clear guidelines of what is acceptable and what is not.”

All social media sites are currently banned in school, meaning they can't be accessed on school computers.

Mosier said there was “no question” that social media could be used for instructional purposes; however, the board will examine each site on a case-by-case basis.

“We are going to look at it site by site,” Mosier said. “You have Facebook, Twitter and YouTube—we will look at each one and any others and determine whether there are instructional uses for that site. Every social media site will not be unblocked. We will look at each one."

According to an article in The Washington Post, the new policy would allow access to certain sites based only for instructional purposes. Anyone found to be misusing the sites could be reported by school administrators to the Office of Safe and Orderly Schools. The policy also bans direct communication between students and teachers, except when monitored by school officials.

In September 2011, AACPS launched an official Facebook page to further reach out to parents and county residents who desired to receive information about the school system. And in July 2012, the school system introduced a Twitter account.

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