- Associated Press - Saturday, July 30, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union and a teacher organization are opposing the Kanawha County schools proposed social media policy because of concern over monitoring communications.

Jeff Martin, interim executive director of the ACLU of West Virginia, says parts of the policy seem to indicate the school system would claim the right to review information on personal devices brought onto school property, even if those devices aren’t logged into the district’s network.

“You can imagine a situation where you come to a basketball game,” Martin said. “Does that mean, (for) any person attending that basketball game, the school system has a right to look through their cellphone? It has some serious implications because the language is overly broad.”

Rosemary Jenkins, a Kanawha representative of the American Federation of Teachers union, said there are concerns that the policy would allow school administrators to look at workers’ personal communications for no reason.

The social media policy is posted online for public comment until Aug. 29, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported (https://bit.ly/2apBBOf).

District General Counsel Jim Withrow says the policy would maintain limits on when phones could be searched and what could be searched on them.

The social media policy covers text messages and emails, in addition to sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Part of it states: “The School District has the right, but not the duty, to inspect, review, or retain electronic communication created, sent, displayed, received or stored on User’s personal computers, electronic devices, networks, internet, electronic communication systems, and in databases, files, software, and media that contain School District information and data.”

One school board member, Ryan White, said Thursday he doesn’t think he can support the policy in its current state. White said the policy language needs changes, saying it’s too broad.


Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, https://wvgazettemail.com.

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