Cobb County Schools has new social media and public comment rules
After passing their controversial resolution against the teaching of race theory in Cobb County Schools, the board turned its attention to employees who use social media and established new rules they will be bound by going forward.
According to the new policy, the 18,000 employees of Cobb Schools are prohibited from using social media sites in a way that disrupts the “smooth and orderly operation” of the system and bans them from posting information that “places in doubt the reliability, trustworthiness, or sound judgment of the district, the Cobb County Board of Education, or any of its employees.” The district employees also cannot post information that harms or discredits the system’s reputation or disclose information that may be considered private or confidential. Employees are prohibited from adding students as friends or followers, exchanging private messages with students, and uploading photos and videos of students on a personal social media account.
The components of this rule, again, is said to be put in place to protect staff and provide guidance on what would be appropriate and not, according to Darryl York, the county’s policy and planning director. He says the new policy will protect employees who may unknowingly violate federal education privacy laws. York said employees who violate the policy could receive a range of disciplinary actions from being issued a corrective letter to being fired.
The rules regarding public comment before the board has also been altered. The district will now cap the number of speakers to 15 with each limited to two minutes to address the board. “You can get your point across in two minutes,” said Scamihorn. Superintendent Chris Ragsdale added that speakers can sign up online the night before the school board meeting, but only residents will be allowed to speak at either the work session or the meeting, but not both.
Cobb County schools also modified its employee rules regarding ethics and added a new policy regarding employees and the media. Those employed by the district are now required to coordinate media interviews through the district’s communications office. They are not allowed to speak to the media on behalf of the system or school board.
As with everything that occurs at the Cobb School Board, members approved the changes along a party-line vote, 4 yes and 3 no.