Hayfield Schools Lead The Way On Social Media Policy

Posted at: 12/16/2013 9:29 PM
Updated at: 12/16/2013 10:47 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- As parents across the country try to keep their teens from posting risky material on social media sites, one local school is working to get ahead of the game.

Hayfield High School just became one of the first schools in the state to adopt a conduct policy specifically to address issues with social media.

"A lot of these things wouldn't be tolerated in a game and we just feel like it shouldn't be out on social media,” said Chris Pack, the school’s athletic director. “We just had some Facebook postings that were brought to a coach's attention and the coach didn't know if he could do anything about it or not, and that kind of got the ball rolling."

Under the new guidelines, any inappropriate material a student posts on a social media site, whether they post it while in school or at home, can result in suspension or dismissal from sports or other extracurricular activities.

What is considered inappropriate follows closely with the school's existing code of conduct and all situations would be handled by a committee of school officials.

Hayfield officials and some parents hope the new guidelines will cut down on poor sportsmanship and cyber bullying.

"I think it'll stop some of it, I do,” said Jane Masching, whose daughter plays on the Hayfield varsity basketball team. “There's going to be consequences and right now there's no consequences for it. It's not face-to-face, they can post anything they want. Let's make it more accountable."

School officials say they won't be actively looking for violations, but wanted to have a policy in place should a situation arise.

"We just wanted to take care of it before it got out of hand,” Pack said. “We know it's only going to get worse if we didn't do something."

School officials said they've already met with other schools looking to use Hayfield's policy as a template for their own social media guidelines.