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Dear Tom - Politely refusing Facebook Request

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by LittleStreams, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    What on earth does that mean?
  2. Possibly. If the aforementioned situation arose, and someone retagged me in a picture I didn't wish to be tagged, I'd remove the tag again and delete them. If they were doing it maliciously, I'd report it to Facebook. I also actively try not to do stuff that makes me look like a pillock (any more).
    And, should the situation persist, I'd delete my Facebook, but it wouldn't, because I don't associate with small-minded and pernicious individuals.
  3. teachur

    teachur New commenter

    I think people have missed the actual point of the problem.

    Pupils should NOT be even asking to add you on Facebook. It is very important that you manage the relationship with a pupil carefully so that "adding" you on FB is not even something that they see as an option.

    Facebook, for all the hammering it gets, is NOT THE DAEMON, and is unfairly hit with too much criticism. Having appropriate boundaries with pupils, especially ones that you see as getting individually "close", is not only sensible, but a professional duty.

    A clear line must be drawn...not just for the emotional stability and support for the pupil, but also to preserve...you employment.

    It takes just ONE comment, ONE situation, ONE use of the word "friend" misheard and out of context to spur on potentially devastating and invasive investigations.

    If you see this as scaremongering, fine, do so. But "better safe than sorry" is always the best policy. No-one will thank you for being a bit more "understanding" or supportive of a child...if just one child/adult tarnishes your name with a false allegation.

    If you need any more info on the TRUE reason that caution is needed, find out about FACT.

    Above all...stop and think...if this child wants to add a member of staff as a friend on FB then they do NOT have a healthy understanding of the boundaries of relationships in their life. This is a bigger issue to deal with than a little FB friend request.

    Always...take a step or two back...and look at the bigger picture.
  4. LittleStreams

    LittleStreams New commenter

    Wow, this topic has gone way off track.

    The girl in question has, apparently, tried to add some other teachers too. I had a conversation with her head of year.
  5. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    While I agree with what you say generally, I honestly can't see how you can ever actually stop a pupil asking to be your Facebook pal... nor do I see a huge problem if they do in just saying "thanks, but no...."
  6. There are 2 or 3 teachers in my school - who are in my friends list - with numerous pupils as friends. The pupils are, in the main, from the sixth form, but there are some y10 and y11 kids there too. Our SMT has told the staff on several occasions that we shouldn't be adding kids and I am a complete loss as to why they would want to. It bothers me that, despite my privacy settings being well locked down, there is always the chance that if these teachers comment on a post of mine, it could be seen by their pupil friends. I'm tempted to unfriend them, but I don't really want to cause an atmosphere
  7. dc521

    dc521 New commenter

    This is what I've had to do when requests are made by children:

    Refuse the add on FB and then place the child on ignore / block (when you refuse a person on FB, this is an option). My account has the highest security settings possible.
    Then I have a quick chat with the head teacher to point out that yet again someone has tried to add me. Always do this ;)
    My profile on FB has a false surname that I change and the photographs of myself are 'normal', barring the one where I was wearing a tinsel tiara. I am slightly cautious about my language and I never mention the school name / events of the day at work in a post.
    Apart from showing that common sense approach to FB, I live my life!

    When dealing with the child that tried to add me, I just say "Sorry, you're not going to be added to my online accounts otherwise I would be seen as treating one person more favourably than the others". Nothing else is said.
  8. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    If it worries you, unfriend them. If they notice you've done so and mention it, tell them why. It shouldn't cause a problem if you're just covering yourself with the school policy, and might make them think twice. Besides, if they've anything to say to you, they can tell you in the staffroom! [​IMG]
  9. In response to the OP, as other have said, decline and block, then take a look at your security settings.
    We shouldn't even be asking these questions, there is no way that primary pupils and those under Year 9 should be on Facebook and perhaps E-safety lessons need to be teaching them about aspects of safety as regards things like Facebook, teaching them about security settings and tackling issues of appropriateness. Some schools I have worked it bury their head in the sand and the authority tell staff categorically 'You cannot even use Facebook' but surely this doesn't tackle the real issue? Other schools I have worked at have been very proactive and addressed the issue and see nothing wrong with teachers using Facebooks and educate their children accordingly.
    Over the years I have had a few requests, as I work in primary I always report these in line with the schools E-safety policy as the children are accessing Facebook and and they are under 13. I have also talked to some parents about this at parents' evenings but usually get pretty much told to 'mind my own business'. In one case, the child already had social services involvement because of aspects of abandonment so it was important this information was passed on. I log anything like this and the action I have taken.
    What makes me cross, as someone working in primary, is that these children shouldn't even be on Facebook in the first place and this is down to parents either not knowing what their children are doing or turning a blind eye, or thinking it is ok, or being afraid to say the word 'no' to their child. Isn't it time parents starting to take some responsibility and actually parented their children?
  10. You ignore the request then block her account so she can't ask you again.
    If she asks you in school why you haven't accepted her request you say that you are her teacher and not her friend.
    You also state that it would be unprofessional of you to add her on FB due to this fact.
    Discuss that you can continue to give her support during school hours and if that does not seem to be enough, offer her ways to access support from appropriate organisations (childline etc) out of school hours.
  11. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Since children under 13 are on FB, it's pretty pointless to say they shouldn't be. Horses and stable doors come to mind.
    The question is, what do we do given that children will ask...
  12. One danger to watch out for - NON friends (eg pupils) CAN send you (or anyone on facebook) mesages! I had this happen to me. Facebook isn't that neccessary and does not have enough safeguards. Better deleted!
  13. lisettethresh

    lisettethresh New commenter

    I am more worried that parents should let an 8 year old on facebook! Cyberbullying exists and it is not a subject that is dealt with in year 3!
    I would take it up to SMT and ask them to advise parents on this issue!
    You also need to protect yourself, I only allow my students to become my friends after they finished University; by this stage they have forgotten.

  14. lisettethresh

    lisettethresh New commenter

    Absolutely! I totally agree woth Lomo! I have two children of my own, and one who is 8; whilst he is very bright, he has not got the maturity to deal with internet comments. I would be terrified of him being friends with my older son's friends whose language is sometimes very bad - but the difference is that my older son has the maturity to deal with this.
    As a teacher, I would definitely take this to the parents, via a newsletter and definitely report my worries to SMT.

  15. lisettethresh

    lisettethresh New commenter

    Absolutely. No teachers would have this worry with any pupils if all teachers refused kids on facebook!

  16. Why does the girl NEED to communicate by Facebook? By definition, it involes sharing information that should not be part of the pupil-teacher relationship. Having suffered a tenacious student 'stalker' this year, I'm reluctant to accept as friends even when they've left school.
    The words of advice given are good, "It is not school policy to allow...."
    And as someone's said, don't forget that things can go wrong. At that point you regret closeness to a student. The same applies when such a student under-achieves in an exam.
    Keep it professional but pleasant
  17. I am very professional in my workplace, during my working hours and while carrying out any professional duties and tasks. My profile is set to private, and beyond this I will not censor myself among my friends, virtually or in reality. I don't drink excessively anyway, nor do I curse like a sailor on leave, but I will not alter my natural behaviour outside of work just in case there is a parent, grandparent or other relative nearby who might associate me with 'misbehaviour'! I am sure it is not just me who glances around me to ensure that there are no children around me in Pizza Hut before I slip a tiny expletive into a conversation, but I won't be deprived the right to have a 'real life' because I am a teacher. It's unlikely that any sensible professional in any field is running amok getting arrested for D&D at the weekends, but if I occasionally stagger slightly getting out of my taxi at the weekend, or I have my photo taken in a club with pals, it is my right to share that with my friends as I choose to. Sorry, but sometimes I think the word 'professionalism' reeks of behaviour-modification! I do agree, however, that it is a bit crazy NOT to set these things to private in any profession... :)
  18. Of course, none of this discussion would be at all necessary if every school had clear, uniform, widely-publicised policies forbidding any staff from adding students on Facebook. But while that doesn't happen...
    In short, I agree with those saying "don't add her, but tell her why." I'm not a teacher, I'm a features journalist specialising in education, but I can offer a tonne of perspective on this. Ten years ago I was on the other side of this situation - not with a teacher but with an older woman I had a professional interest in as a teenager, who allowed me to do promotional work for her for free. At the time I was 17 (much older than the girl you describe) and presented with a textbook checklist for a schoolgirl crush (lonely, fed-up, all-girls school, friends all living the other side of town, undiagnosed SpLD, associated depression...). She happily and obliviously took me out to lunch in the West End, advised me on my university choices and shared personal details of her friends' and colleagues' lives with me. Eventually, after a breakdown at university, I told her as much of the truth as I could do with dignity, and we're now about as amicable as we could be given the circumstances, but it messed up my life for years and the legacy is still there even today (I'm 27).
    Facebook can be a tough one to call because there's no analogy for it in any adult's youth. I did have a primitive version of the internet as a teenager, though, and it was the main hole my infatuation seeped through. What you have to remember is that a fragile teenager - however precocious they seem - doesn't have an adult's sense of boundaries, and it's up to you, as a responsible adult and carer, to instill that in her. Do it carefully but do it soon.
    (And re inappropriate teacher/pupil relationships generally: One of my sixth form teachers - an ex-college lecturer - casually informed my classmate once after a lesson that she hadn't had a **** in ages...)
  19. 1. It is not that it isn't allowed. It is the content of conversations and messages that is the issue.
    2. I cannot be friends with my own children at times and I love and adore them. You will clean the toilet when you make a mess and make your bed etc. So how could I be friends with a Student?
    3. Would you like your Child to be an online friend with a Teacher? This Child's Parents are entitled to know.
    3. Sort your settings out - it's not fair on the child either.
  20. Its such a shame, that we have to spend hours planning lessons, mark books, sort out pastoral issues and then - work so hard to limit our own enjoyment and fun all in the name of professional integrity!
    I do not have face book or any other social networking things available, but I just feel that it is so unfair, that we have to panic/fret/worry over every action that we take.
    Oh well, they did say the teacher's reward is in heaven.

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