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205.5 - Board Member Social Media Engagement

The board sees the value in promoting the excellent work and accomplishments of the district’s students and staff. Social media is one of many effective communication tools that the district may utilize. Board members have been publicly elected to govern the district and accept a fiduciary responsibility. That responsibility means board members agree to always act in the best interest of the district. For this reason, the board shall expect that individual communications and social media posts will reflect the values and decorum expected of elected officials in the school community.

All board members enjoy rights to freedom of speech under both the US and Iowa constitutions. As such, the district will not limit protected speech of any board member. Certain categories of speech are not protected and may be subject to regulation. Additionally, board members should be aware that protected speech can still subject individuals to legal liability. If using social media to discuss district-related matters, board members should be aware that they may be prohibited from blocking individual communications and posters based upon the content of their posts. This may constitute viewpoint discrimination, which is when a governmental actor treats speech differently based on the opinion or perspective of the speech or speaker, which is prohibited by the US and Iowa constitutions.

The board as a whole and individual board members in their governance role have legal obligations to safeguard the privacy of information related to student and employee matters. Board members will refrain from posting or communicating on social media in a way that violates the district’s obligation to protect the privacy of its students and employees.

Board members are uniquely positioned in the school community to be both accessible and responsive to community concerns about the effective governance of the district. As a result, the board will remember their obligation to safeguard student and employee privacy when responding to any social media posts of communications, even if the response is intended to correct information for the rest of the school community. Board members will direct concerned individuals to the appropriate district staff to address their inquiry or complaint in accordance with board policy.

Adopted: 11/23
Related Policy: 403.35
Legal Reference: §§ 21; 22; 20 USC 1417(c); 34 CFR 99.3;
US Const Amend I, Iowa Const Art I-Sec 7
IASB Reference: 200.04