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Social networks and George Mitchell School

Although it is never schools' responsibility to monitor social networking systems to look for inappropriate behaviour, it is correct to: (a) guide the student community in appropriate Internet behaviour (b) respond to inappropriate behaviour as it is reported to the school

Although it is never schools' responsibility to monitor social networking systems to look for inappropriate behaviour, it is correct to:

(a) guide the student community in appropriate Internet behaviour

(b) respond to inappropriate behaviour as it is reported to the school

The legal framework surrounding this matter would suggest that parents and students need to consider the following:

(a) Comments parents and students make can be considered as defamation if they lower a person's/school’s reputation. When defamatory comments exist in a permanent form (online viewable by others can be considered as such) then it is libel and may be responded to by the authorities. Forwarding on defamatory comments is itself defamation.

(b) Comments that are perceived by others as being racist, homophobic or intimidating are also illegal and may be responded to by the authorities.

(c) When they comment in a 'public' social networking system it potentially has an impact on the way the general public view the school, and therefore students of the school.

Students should also be very clear that universities and employers can make use of the Internet to make decisions about offers of a place or a job. Information online can be copied easily, often cannot be removed and may influence future decisions. In a 2010 study by Microsoft "70% of surveyed HR workers in the US (41% in the UK) admitted to rejecting a job applicant because of his or her Internet behaviour"."