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December 3, 2019

Policy 4283 Electronic Communications Between Support Staff Members and Students

Policy 3283 Electronic Communications Between Teaching Staff and Students

Dear Members,

On November 26, 2019, the Paterson Board of Education adopted two policies.  Policy number 4283 and policy number 3283.  Each of the policies listed above refers to teaching and support staff employee electronic communication(s) with students.  If you have not been provided a copy of these policies, by the District, I am providing you with a link where we have posted these policies on our website for your review (see above).  The P.E.A. strongly suggests that you review these policies in great detail.  While the board has adopted these policies, the Union believes that they are overbroad and infringe on your personal rights.  The Union is seeking an opinion from the NJEA so that we can properly field questions and provide sound guidance.  However, we still recommend that you employ the following common-sense practices when dealing with social media, email, and cell phone communication:

1.  Do not accept friend requests from any students.  
2.  Do not friend students on social media.
3.  Do not provide your personal email address to students.  
4.  Do not share your personal cell phone number with students.  
5.  **We understand that coaches of athletic teams primarily communicate with students via cell phone text.  As a precaution, however, because the policy prohibits this form of communication you should send an email to your athletic director regarding what the appropriate form of District approved communication shall be moving forward.  Make sure to do this via email.
6.  All parental communication should be limited to District approved telephones and/or email accounts/District approved programs/websites.    

Remember, even innocent-seeming communications with students can be misconstrued and such preceptions could cost your job and or your license.  Please exercise common sense when communicating with students.  Again, we encourage you to read each policy (see link at top) carefully.  Should you have any concerns about these policies, we ask that you contact your building administrator for further clarification.


John McEntee, Jr.