Teachers Facebook friending students not good idea

Walking the fine line between our work persona and personal life is something many of us do daily on Facebook.

But teachers can't do that as easily with students on Facebook. Friending a student has the potential to create sticky situations, and teachers need to be extremely strict with privacy settings.

It's an uncomfortable situation that teachers increasingly face. If a student wants to ``friend'' a teacher on Facebook, should they accept? On one hand, it's another way to communicate, but it has the potential to get some professionals into inappropriate situations.

The easy solution for teachers: Just say no.

John Ristow, spokesman for Broward Teachers Union, said social networking dos and don'ts have become an increasingly larger part of the new teacher orientation workshop over the years. Because teachers are government employees, the union stresses for teachers to keep everything on Facebook tasteful, keep it viewable to friends-only and don't friend students.

``How is a 13-year-old a friend? It's your personal site, and you're letting them into your world,'' Ristow said. ``It would be like inviting your students over to your house as friends, and that's not appropriate.''

Young teachers, who have grown up using Facebook, might not see an issue. After all, are you really ``friends'' with all those users you connected with? No, because we treat Facebook as a new-age communication tool.

But I've spoken to teachers who witnessed situations in which friending as a mentor took a wrong turn

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