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Castro Valley USD |  AR  1114  Community Relations

District-Sponsored Social Media   

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Social media means any online platform for collaboration, interaction, and active participation, including, but not limited to, social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, or blogs.

Official district social media platform is a site authorized by the Superintendent or designee. Sites that have not been authorized by the Superintendent or designee but that contain content related to the district or comments on district operations, such as a site created by a parent-teacher organization, booster club, or other school-connected organization or a student's or employee's personal site, are not considered official district social media platforms.

(cf. 1230 - School-Connected Organizations)

(cf. 1260 - Educational Foundations)

Authorization for Official District Social Media Platforms

The Superintendent or designee shall authorize the development of any official district social media platform. Teachers and coaches shall obtain approval from the principal before creating an official classroom or team social media platform.

Guidelines for Content

The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that official district social media platforms provide current information regarding district programs, activities, and operations, consistent with the goals and purposes of this policy and regulation. Official district social media platforms shall contain content that is appropriate for all audiences.

(cf. 0440 - District Technology Plan)

(cf. 0510 - School Accountability Report Card)

(cf. 1100 - Communication with the Public)

(cf. 1112 - Media Relations)

(cf. 1113 - District and School Web Sites)

(cf. 6020 - Parent Involvement)

(cf. 6145.5 - Student Organization and Equal Access)

Note: Federal copyright law (17 USC 107) and the courts have generally provided that teachers, students, and schools are allowed to make "fair use" of materials for instructional purposes in situations which are not likely to deprive a publisher or an author of income; see BP/AR 6162.6 - Use of Copyrighted Materials. Unless there is a clear statement that text, art, or photos are in the "public domain" and available for free use, such material should not be replicated without prior permission of the owner of the copyright.

The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that copyright laws are not violated in the use of material on official district social media platforms.

(cf. 4132/4232/4332 - Publication or Creation of Materials)

(cf. 6162.6 - Use of Copyrighted Materials)

The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that official district social media platforms are regularly monitored. Staff members responsible for monitoring content may remove posts based on viewpoint-neutral considerations, such as lack of relation to the site's purpose or violation of the district's policy, regulation, or content guidelines.

Each official district social media platform shall prominently display:

1. The purpose of the site along with a statement that users are expected to use the site only for those intended purposes.

2. Information on how to use the security settings of the social media platform.

3. A statement that the site is regularly monitored and that any inappropriate post will be promptly removed. Inappropriate posts include those that:

a. Are defamatory, discriminatory, harassing, bullying, intimidating, hateful, libelous, obscene or so incite students as to create a clear and present danger of the commission of unlawful acts on school premises, violation of school rules, or substantial disruption of the orderly operation of programs.

b. Are not related to the stated purpose of the site, including, but not limited to, comments of a commercial nature, political activity, and comments that constitute discrimination or harassment

(cf. 0410 - Nondiscrimination in District Programs and Activities)

(cf. 1160 - Political Processes)

(cf. 1325 - Advertising and Promotion)

4. Protocols for users, including expectations that users will communicate in a respectful, courteous, and professional manner.

5. A statement that users are personally responsible for the content of their posts and that the district is not responsible for the content of external online platforms.

6. A disclaimer that the views and comments expressed on the site are those of the users and do not necessarily reflect the views of the district.

7. A disclaimer that any user's reference to a specific commercial product or service does not imply endorsement or recommendation of that product or service by the district.

8. The individual(s) to contact regarding violation of district guidelines on the use of official district social media platforms.

District employees who participate in official district social media platforms shall adhere to all applicable district policies and procedures, including, but not limited to, professional standards related to interactions with students.

(cf. 4040 - Employee Use of Technology)

(cf. 4119.21/4219.21/4319.21 - Professional Standards)

Professional Effectiveness

Employees must be mindful that any Internet information is ultimately accessible to the world. To avoid jeopardizing their professional effectiveness, employees are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the privacy policies, settings, and protections on any social networking websites to which they choose to subscribe and be aware that information posted online, despite privacy protections, is easily and often reported to administrators or exposed to students.

When appropriate, employees using official district social media platforms shall identify themselves by name and district title and include a disclaimer stating that the views and opinions expressed in their post are theirs alone and do not necessarily represent those of the district or school.

All staff shall receive information about appropriate use of the official district social media platforms.

(cf. 4131 - Staff Development)

(cf. 4231 - Staff Development)

(cf. 4331 - Staff Development)

Communication with Students

Staff members shall not communicate with current students through social media sites which are personal to staff members or students, and which do not have an instructional or educational purpose, or those not relevant to school-related activities.

Staff members should be mindful about maintaining appropriate professional boundaries with students. Should a student directly or indirectly communicate to a staff member about known or suspected child abuse or neglect, a threat of harm to the student or others, or evidence of a crime, the staff member must immediately notify the appropriate authorities and Superintendent or designee.

Communications through social media are not private. Consequently, staff members must ensure they are not sharing confidential information concerning staff, students, or families. Social media may not be used to publish student information including, but not limited to, names, assignments, grades, attendance data, photographs, videos, or other likenesses, without permission of the student's parent or guardian.

Staff members are responsible for their social media use and may be subject to liability if such use is found defamatory, harassing, discriminatory, threatening, or in violation of any applicable law, policy, or regulation. Staff members may also be liable if they use confidential or copyrighted information (such as music, videos, or text) belonging to others. All such postings are prohibited under this policy.

If a staff member's social media use violates a law, the staff member may be subject to legal remedies and penalties including, but not limited to, any criminal law sanctions or penalties, if a criminal law is violated. The District shall not be liable, under any circumstances, for staff use of social media, and shall not reimburse employees for any errors, omissions, loss, or damage claimed or incurred due to any social media use.


Account Managers shall require that the privacy rights of students, parents/guardians, staff, Board members, and other individuals are protected on District Social Media sites. Social media and networking sites and other online platforms shall not be used by District employees to transmit confidential information about students, employees or District operations.

Public Nature of Communications

By submitting content to any of the publicly available District Social Media sites, users understand and acknowledge this information is available to the public. The District may use this information for internal and external purposes, and other users may use posted information in ways beyond the District's control. Users who do not wish to have the information used, published, copied or reprinted, should not post on the District Social Media pages. Postings may be considered a public record under the California Public Records Act.

Visitor Generated Content

If District Social Media sites allow posting of content by other users, such content does not reflect the opinions or endorsement by the District and the District is not responsible for such content. Users are fully responsible for the content they post on District Social Media sites.

The District reserves the right to block or remove any content from District Social Media at any time without prior notice if the District deems the content to be inappropriate for students or to violate any agreements, terms, policies, procedures, or regulations established by the District or social media provider; or whenever the District deems it in its best interest to do so. For example, the District may block or remove content it deems threatening, profane, obscene, a violation of intellectual property laws or privacy laws, commercial or promotional of organizations or programs not related to or affiliated with the District, illegal, or otherwise injurious to minors or the educational program.

The Account Manager has the authority to monitor discussions and comments, providing feedback as needed and removing comments that violate District policy, rules or regulations, and comments that do not relate to the purpose for which the District Social Media site was established. Account Managers shall include, when technically possible, the following notice on District Social Media sites:

"Notice to Visitors: Thank you for your interest in the District. We encourage comments concerning this site, but are not creating an open forum for public discussion. We encourage responsible use of this site. The District reserves the right to remove any content that is deemed to violate District policies, rules, regulations and/or applicable laws."

Personal Social Media

1. Personal Social Media - Personal Social Media is defined as any social media site that is created and maintained by a District employee in their individual capacity for personal purposes without the use of District resources.

2. Work/Personal Distinction - Personal Social Media shall not be used for District purposes or for purposes related to District employment. District employees are encouraged to maintain a clear distinction between their Personal Social Media use and any District-related social media use.

3. Prohibition on Use of Student Information on Personal Social Media - District employees shall not use Personal Social Media for communicating with District students outside of the District Social Media sites. District employees may not send, share or post pictures, text messages, emails or other material that personally identifies District students in electronic or any other form of Personal Social Media or use images of students, student e-mails or other personally-identifiable student information for personal gain or profit.

4. Professional Effectiveness - District employees must be mindful of the public nature of Social Media. To avoid jeopardizing their professional effectiveness, employees are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the privacy policies, settings, and protections on any Social Media sites to which they choose to subscribe. Employees should be aware that any information posted online, despite privacy protections offered by those sites, may be made available to the public and could be reported to the District. Because online content can be spread in mere seconds to mass audiences, the District encourages employees to determine before posting any information online whether they are comfortable having this information shared publicly beyond their intended audience.


approved: August 10, 2017 Castro Valley, California