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Fairfield Teens Veto Idea of 'Friending' Teachers

Luke Sheeran said he has never gotten this dreaded message: “(Your Math Teacher) Wants to Be Friends on Facebook.” But if the situation ever arises, the Fairfield Prep student can predict exactly what he would do: accept the request, then quickly reconsider and “de-friend” the teacher.

“I’d realize it was a pretty big blunder because they’re just going to see all the stuff that I post, and I don’t want that,” Sheeran said. “So I’d probably de-friend them, and ask them about it at school, to see what they we’re thinking when they friended me. Because that’s just weird.”

Westport’s Board of Education adopted a new policy last week that prohibits teachers from connecting with their students via Facebook and other social networking sites. Westport Superintendent Elliott Landon said the idea behind the policy was to protect students, ensuring that teachers “maintain appropriate, professional boundaries.”

Fairfield’s Board of Education does not have a policy relating directly to Facebook or other social media. The district encourages teachers to set up their own websites hosted on town servers but also has guidelines against using those homepages for nonscholastic reasons.

But based on an informal survey of Sheeran and a few of his friends, Fairfield doesn’t have to worry about teachers and their students becoming linked on Facebook. “I would not accept it,” said Ludlowe’s Fiona Donovan. “That’s just creepy.”

Peter Katz, a student at Joel Barlow High, says he’s friends with one of his teachers on the social media site but said it wasn’t the teacher’s personal page. Instead, the teacher set up a “school-safe” Facebook page to notify students about events and activities in the music department.

But if a teacher used his or her personal page to send the friend request, Katz also said he would do the same as he does with his parents: a speedy denial. “I think that crossing over personal life into the classroom can be a distraction,” he said.

Do you think it would be appropriate for teachers to become friends with their students on Facebook? Start the conversation in the comments below, or on TheDailyFairfield’s own Facebook page .

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