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District considers teacher-student communication policy

By Jebb Johnston jjohnston@dailycorinthian.com

The Corinth School District is developing a policy regulating communications between faculty and students on cell phones and related platforms.

It deals with situations such as a student having a flat tire on the way to a sports practice or simply asking about an assignment. Board attorney Bill Davis said it is an attempt to strike a balance between the effective use of technology and shielding against the problems that could arise with inappropriate contact between students and faculty.

"We felt like, at the end of the day, a policy that said there can be no direct communication is neither realistic nor practical," he said.

The proposed policy would limit electronic communications to platforms approved by the school district, such as Canvas Student and Remind, so that a record of all of the direct communication is archived. The communication would also have to be with a student who is in the faculty member's class, sport or activity, and must be related to that class, sport or activity. Communications of a personal nature would be prohibited.

It is one of several things the board is looking at along with development of a comprehensive employee handbook. The board of trustees discussed the communication policy at length Thursday evening, expressing some concern about not making it too restrictive for faculty members who are trying to help students, but did not act on the policy, pending some further tweaks. Likely additions include a provision for faculty members who have a dual role with employment outside the district and a provision for a review procedure.

The board also discussed a policy dealing with field trips in order to formalize some current practices, such as parents signing students out after an event or giving permission for a student to ride home with someone.