Virginia’s teacher texting ban postponed, again

Virginia teachers will have to wait another month for the Board of Education to consider revised guidelines restricting them from communicating with students via text messages, social-networking sites and other non-school “platforms.”

The original proposal was given to the board in the fall, but was postponed first until January and then until February.

The board expects to hear the revised proposal at the March 24 board meeting, according to Charles Pyle, director of communications for the Virginia Board of Education.

“There was an original proposed that was fairly prescriptive that was presented to the board in November. A less prescriptive version reflecting public comment received during November and December was to be presented to the board in January, but before the January meeting the board president decided that, given the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays having an impact on the word getting out, that she wanted to extend the public comment period,” Pyle said. “So it was extended for another 30 days until Feb. 12 and what we’re doing now is we’re looking at the comments and further revising the proposal.”

Intended to discourage school employees from cultivating inappropriate personal relationships with students, the guidelines have been questioned by some, including journalism advisers, for their potential impact on teachers’ ability to oversee after-hours extracurricular activities and to supervise students on trips.