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Bill would require school policies on social media contact between teachers, students

Jul 20, 2015

Credit Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

A new bill in the state House would require schools to adopt policies on social media interactions between students and school employees.

Supporters of House Bill 4791 say social media can be a great tool for teachers to communicate with students.

“But I also recognize the fact that there have been relationships of an inappropriate nature that have been facilitated through the use of social media as well,” said state Rep. Adam Zemke, D-Ann Arbor – the bill’s lead sponsor.

“I think it’s important that we make sure that staff and students are protected and try and prevent social media from being utilized in that inappropriate way.”

Zemke’s bill already has significant bipartisan support. The Republican chair of the state House Education Committee has signed on as a co-sponsor.

The legislation would leave it up to local districts to come up with their own rules – as long as they have a policy.

A recent WXYZ-TV report showed many Michigan schools do not have policies on social media interactions between employees and students.

Zemke says he and other lawmakers are working with statewide school groups to develop model policies for districts to adopt.