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Chappaqua School Board Mulls Student Twitter Policy

The rules are being considered for use of Twitter accounts that are set up for academic purposes in school.

Chappaqua school board members are considering changes to the district's acceptable use policy for technology to add specific references to the usage of Twitter, the social media platform where users write short messages to each other that are under 140 characters.

The changes are being considered because of a request for a pilot run in LIFE School program, explained board President Alyson Kiesel.The board first took up discussion at Tuesday's meeting.

Kiesel noted that there have been a lot of requests from high school teachers to use social media for educational purposes, with Twitter in particular getting interest. Currently, Kiesel explained, teachers have been using accounts to direct their students to assignments.

The proposed technology use policy changes being considered for students would cover Twitter accounts that are used for school purposes. These accounts would be registered with district email accounts that would be issued to students and the ability to follow other accounts would be limited, according to the draft, to “users with a clear connection to academic need.” The intent would be to keep followers channeled to students and teachers corresponding with each other.

Inappropriate language and distribution of images considered offensive would also not be allowed.

School board member Victoria Tipp, who looked into the idea with Kiesel, described Twitter as being useful academically.

“It’s happening and we want to encourage new uses of technology," she said.

The policy would not govern students' private Twitter handles.

Kiesel stated that having the accounts registered through district email accounts would allow for the district to make sure the students are using them safely and allow for them to monitor it.

The policy could be broadened in the future to include more social media.

“We can always expand it," Kiesel said. "Policies are not set in stone.”

The board will bring up the revisions at a future meeting and will make similar changes to its acceptable use policy for faculty.

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