NJ Considers Law Requiring School Electronic Communications Policy

school-computerA New Jersey State Senator this week introduced a new bill that would require every school district to implement a policy that establishes guidelines for how school employees communicate with students via electronic communication channels.

In at story at nj1015.com, Senator Diane Allen, the bill’s sponsor, was quoted as saying:

“We think the time has come to mandate a policy which, by the way, the districts can determine. The vast, vast majority of teachers already know what appropriate communication is and do it very well, but there are those few that we need to watch out for and it’s important that the district has a written policy.

Too often we hear of yet another teacher that has had some kind of contact with a child that some or all may consider to be inappropriate. We certainly don’t want to stop teachers from communicating with their students using electronic means; I think in many cases that can be a plus. It just is how it’s done and what the content is.”

Communication media covered in the scope of the bill include email, cell phone messaging, social media sites and other internet-enabled technologies.

Legislation like this is probably past due. In our experience, while teachers’ overall use of electronic communications with students has been increasing, the extent to which it is used and the media chosen vary widely. Having guidelines in place outlining exactly what is appropriate and what isn’t may spur a more widespread adoption of technology in the classroom that mirrors how students communicate outside the classroom.


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