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We're reviewing our student messaging policies and I wanted to get some input from the community. So far, we have turned off Google Chat for students, but the result of that has been students going underground and messaging in other ways. I generally don't believe that blanket bans are a good idea, and in this case, I think it's important we give students a safe, monitored space to learn when and how to use instant messaging. It can also be used for coordination/communication amongst students and teachers. This website summarizes my beliefs pretty well:
I'm also wondering about messaging between students and their parents. Do most schools ban direct messaging between students and parents?
Thanks for you input.
I don't have a response to this - but would like to follow the conversation! I recently received several requests from a variety of teachers that run school groups such as Student Council and National Honor Society. They are looking for text messaging apps to communicate with students. Requests were for apps like GroupMe, WhatsApp and Slack. After reviewing, I am not comfortable with any of those requested, especially those that have disappearing messages. In my research, so far, Remind appears to be the safest option. We also have Google Chat on for high school students, but off for middle and elementary school students. And, we have a new cell phone policy, which doesn't allow cell phones out during the school day at the middle school level, and very limited use for high school students.
Good evening Kirk,
This has always been a great debate in any of the organizations I've been part of. I, too, am a firm believer in education rather than abstinence, where students can learn in a supported environment. In my current district, we do not allow individual chats (one-on-one) for our students in grades K-5; however, they are allowed to converse with each other in a discussion forum located on the class site in Teams. (We are a Microsoft district) Students in grades 6-12 can chat one-on-one with the knowledge that system administrators can access these chats if needed due to abuse or bullying. If it is abused, the student's ability to "chat" is disabled until the administration has determined it is safe/appropriate to provide access again. I find that if very clear guidelines are not implemented before providing access (proactive), sometimes much time and energy is required (reactive) to address negative behaviours. I have found these chats to be very useful if used in a productive way. I've even created sandbox areas for students just to be crazy with the stipulation that posts must be "school-appropriate".
In any organization I've been involved with, there has been NO direct messaging (or communication) between students and parents. During COVID, we allowed parents to be part of the virtual meetings BUT only as invited guests (they had to be let in by the teacher) and with guest privileges, so no access to any of the meeting chats. In my former position, the organization I worked for developed an "in-house" messaging system (app) to communicate with parents (rather than email) but it is one-way. I know there has been lots of interest in opening it up as a two-way system but I'm just not sure if teachers would want this as this just might be too time-consuming for them.
I'm very curious to see what your organization decides. I'll definitely be following this post.