Rationale

Providence Christian College embraces appropriate use of social media, but also recognises the inherently public nature of online communication and the challenges this presents in safeguarding the College community, its employees and most importantly, our students.

The College recognises that staff use social media outside of school hours in their private capacity. Inappropriate use of social media can have a negative impact upon the College and/or our community. The College expects staff to conduct themselves appropriately when online, whether on College or private equipment, and whether at home or at work. 

This policy applies to all staff members of the College and all persons who work at, or with, the College in a casual or voluntary capacity, i.e. fulltime and part-time staff (including peripatetic), volunteers, practicum students, and Board members.

Policy

Staff must not use the College’s computer systems to access social media unless the access is for teaching, pastoral care or educational purposes and prior permission has been obtained from their supervisor/Head of Learning Area/up-line manager.

Staff members will be held accountable for any social media use, both within and outside the College, on College or private equipment, where the College may be recognised and its name brought into disrepute.

Inappropriate use of social media against the employer or co-workers and/or excessive personal use of social media at any time may, in certain circumstances, result in dismissal for serious misconduct.

Online behaviour is always subject to the College’s Code of Conduct and observed breaches should be reported to the Principal immediately. In the case of an allegation against the Principal, the matter should be reported to the Board Chair. Staff should read, understand and comply with this policy. The following expectations apply regardless of whether you have restricted the access to your personal site or to selected persons only.

Expectations

  1. Only College-authorised accounts or platforms are to be used when corresponding with students and parents/carers.
  2. Staff are required to declare their purpose and their position as a representative of the College when using an official staff account.
  3. At least two members of staff should have access to any College-authorised social media account or platform, including a member of the Leadership Team.
  4. A personal relationship with current students via social media (for example, adding a current student as a ‘friend’ or ‘follower’ on Facebook , Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter or the like, or accepting an offer to join theirs) may exceed the accepted bounds of a teacher/student relationship and may leave the staff member open to allegations of improper conduct. Therefore, staff may not invite students into their personal social networking site or accept an invitation to theirs, and may not use social networking sites to email or contact students unless for educational or teaching purposes and permission has been obtained beforehand.
  5. Staff must be aware of “Conditions of Use” for social media sites to be used for teaching purposes and that these conditions could preclude account use by students below certain ages (13 years is frequently stated).
  6. Professional discretion should be applied before accepting ex-students or parents of current students as ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ on social media channels.
  7. No images that include other employees, volunteers or students should be posted on social media channels.
  8. Staff must not use the College logo or create College branded accounts which could be interpreted as representing the College. 
  9. Staff must not commit the College to any action or initiative without appropriate authority.
  10. Consistent with privacy laws and other College policies, staff must not, under any circumstances, reveal through social media confidential, proprietary or privileged information related to the College or its students, staff members, finance, policies or procedures, which is not otherwise publicly available.
  11. Staff members are expected to take note of and comply with any copyright or Creative Commons notices attached to content they wish to use or repurpose. Additionally, content sources must be cited or otherwise acknowledged when they are known.
  12. Staff should avoid making any political statements criticising the policies of political parties or groups that could be perceived to be attributed to the College.
  13. Staff members must not either during or after hours, under any circumstances, disparage or speak adversely about the College or other schools, College business matters or activities, its employees or its students through social media channels.
  14. No expectation of privacy should exist when it comes to content and information stored or posted in the social media environment. Even if information is intended to be kept private, it may unintentionally enter the public domain. For example, online content may inadvertently be shared, viewed or accessed by colleagues, the media, students or families of students.
  15. Staff may not post inappropriate content or information on social media which is capable of being connected with the College and/or may adversely affect the College’s reputation, a student’s reputation and/or the individual staff member’s reputation.
  16. Staff may not identify or discuss co-workers or post photographs that include co-workers unless you have obtained their permission first.
  17. Staff need to clearly understand that the College has the right to and may monitor staff use of the internet, email and social media at any time.
  18. Breach of this policy may result in disciplinary action being taken against the staff member. Disciplinary action may include limitation or removal of access to College systems or termination of employment or a contractor’s engagement with the College.
  19. Parent and Student Social Media Policies apply to parents who are employees of the College and their children who are enrolled at the College.

Inappropriate Use of Social Media

Inappropriate use includes, but is not limited to:

  • Conducting private business during working hours;
  • Using discriminatory, defamatory, abusive or otherwise objectionable language in content;
  • Accessing, downloading or transmitting any kind of sexually explicit material, violent images including graphic images of blood or gore (without medical purpose);
  • Accessing, downloading or transmitting information on the use and construction of weapons, explosives and other tools of violence or terrorism;
  • Accessing, downloading or transmitting any material deemed to be illegal under WA or Australian Commonwealth law;
  • Accessing, downloading or transmitting hate speeches and overt racism; material extolling the inherent or moral superiority or inferiority of a particular race, ethnic group, or sexual orientation; racial epithets; or religious bigotry.
  • Compromising the privacy of any person;
  • Using services for industrial campaigns (apart from messages sent by officials of unions and professional associations for informational or consultative purposes);
  • Engaging in personal attacks and/or harassing another person, whether directly or indirectly;
  • As it is also a criminal offence to menace, harass or offend another person, the College will report such actions to the Police;
  • As it is also a criminal offence to distribute intimate images or threaten to distribute intimate images, any staff member doing so will be reported to the Police.