MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Yesterday in the Alabama Senate, the Education & Youth Affairs Committee passed legislation by Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) and Representative Mack Butler (R-Rainbow City) requiring all K-12 teachers and administrators receive annual training on appropriate behavior towards students, especially in the context of social media. The bill is strongly supported by the Alabama Education Association (AEA).
“Most teachers behave with admirable character and maturity in and out of the classroom,” Ward remarked. “However, there are ethical questions the use of social media has raised: for instance, is it appropriate for teachers to be friends with a student on Facebook? This training seminar will establish what the legal and ethical standards are for our teachers as they interact online and in person with students.”
Senate Bill 274 stipulates the training must include standards for interaction between educators and students inside and outside the classroom, with special attention given to social media.
“The use of Internet technology is essential in our classrooms, and that can certainly include social media, in certain circumstances,” Butler observed. “Yet we also need to make sure there are clear lines defining what is appropriate and inappropriate, especially as it relates to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This bill is about protecting our state’s most precious resources: our children. ”
“We commend Senator Ward for recognizing the need for this essential training for Alabama educators,” said AEA President Sheila Hocutt Remington. “AEA supports his efforts and we look forward to ensuring implementation in all Alabama school districts.”
Senate Bill 274 now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
Republican Senator Cam Ward represents District 14 in the Alabama State Senate, which includes all or parts of Shelby, Bibb, Chilton, Hale, and Jefferson Counties. He serves as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.