Social Media Policy

At Sewickley Academy, teachers, students, staff, and other school community members use social networking/media (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.) as a way to connect with others, share educational resources, log Global Studies travel experiences, create educational content, enhance the classroom experience, and network within and outside of the school community. While social networking is fun and valuable, there are some risks we need to keep in mind when using these tools. In the social media world, the lines are often blurred between what is public or private, personal or professional.
Social media refers to online tools and services that allow any Internet user to create and publish content. Many of these sites use personal profiles where users post information about themselves. Social media allows those with common interests to share content easily, expanding the reach of their ideas and work. Popular social media tools include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, YouTube and Flickr to name a few.
Below are guidelines to follow when members of the school community (students, faculty, administrators, and staff) are representing Sewickley Academy in social media spaces, regardless of whether these are considered professional or personal spaces.
Use good judgment
  • We expect good judgment in all situations. Behave in a way that will make you and others proud and reflect well on the school.
  • Know and follow the school’s Community of Respect and Responsible Computer Use Policy (noted at the end of this page under Additional Resources).
  • Regardless of your privacy settings, assume that all of the information you have shared on your social network is public information.
Be respectful
  • Always treat others in a respectful, positive, and considerate manner.
Be responsible and ethical
  • Because you represent the school, please stick to discussing only those school-related matters that are within your area of responsibility.
  • Adults should be open about their affiliation with the school and the role/position they hold.
  • If you are someone’s peer, interact with them online if you are so inclined. If you are an employee thinking about interacting with a student, consider the following questions before proceeding. What is the purpose of my interaction with a student? (If it is not related to your classroom activities, reconsider using a social network.) What is the social network in which I propose to interact with a student? (If the social network in question has limited professional applications – Facebook, for instance – reconsider using that social network.) If you are uncertain how to proceed, consult your division head.
  • Share and interact in a way that will enhance your reputation, the reputation of others, and the reputation of the school, rather than damage them.
Be a good listener
  • Keep in mind that one of the biggest benefits of social media is that it gives others another way to talk to you, ask questions directly, and share feedback.
  • Be responsive to others when conversing online. Provide answers, thank people for their comments, and ask for further feedback, etc.
Be accurate and appropriate
  • Check all work for correct use of grammar and spelling before posting.
  • A significant part of the interaction on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks involves passing on interesting content or sharing links to helpful resources. However, never blindly repost a link without looking at the content first.
            And if you don’t get it right ...
  • Be sure to correct any mistake you make immediately, and make it clear what you’ve done to fix the mistake.
  • Apologize for the mistake if the situation warrants it.
  • If it’s a major mistake (e.g., exposing private information or reporting confidential information), please let your division head or supervisor know immediately so the school can take the proper steps to help minimize the impact it may have.
Be confidential
  • Do not publish, post, or release information that is considered confidential or private. Online “conversations” are never private.
  • Use caution if asked to share your birth date, address, and cell phone number on any website.
Respect private and personal information
  • To ensure your safety, be careful about the type and amount of personal information you provide.
  • Avoid talking about personal schedules or situations.
  • Never share or transmit personal information of students, parents, faculty, staff, or colleagues online.
  • While taking care when posting to safeguard people’s privacy, be sure – as necessary and appropriate – to give proper credit to sources. In cases of doubt, privacy should be the default.
  • Generally use only first names of students. There may be special circumstances where a student is widely known for a particular achievement, in which case the use of the full name may be appropriate. If there is any doubt, use only first names or ask the Director of Community and Media Relations for guidance.
  • Always respect the privacy of school community members.
Post images with care
  • Respect brand, trademark, copyright information and/or images of the school.
  • Do not caption photos with the names of current students.
  • Do not post photos of students who are on the “Do Not Photo” list. (Ask your teacher or see the Director of Public Relations for details.)
Be aware of site-specific guidelines (Global Studies Blog, for example)
Guidelines for the Global Studies (GS) Blog should be followed in addition to the guidelines above. Sewickley Academy’s Global Studies Blog is hosted at It is a public (not password protected) site. It will be linked from the public side of the website as well as the portal pages.
  • Sewickley Academy faculty chaperones and students on the trips are approved to post on the Global Studies blog.
  • All posts must follow the Social Media Responsible Use Guidelines and the Community of Respect.
  • Do not post details (exact time and exact locations) of travel itineraries.
  • Post about the day’s activities after the fact ... avoid saying what you “will be” doing the next day.

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