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|0101||POL||Introduction to Policies and Regulations||Jun 28, 2001|
|0210||POL||Affirmative Action Program For School and Classroom Practices||Jun 28, 2001|
|0500||POL||Product Recycling||Jun 28, 2001|
|1100||POL||Official District Logo and Seal||May 10, 2012|
|1101||POL||School Mascots and Other Identifiers||May 10, 2012|
|1110||POL||Distribution of Materials Through Students||Oct 24, 2002|
|1110||REG||Distribution of Materials By and Through Students||Oct 24, 2002|
|1120||POL||Community Relations and Public Information||Jun 28, 2001|
|1121||REG||Communications To Parents and Public||Jun 28, 2001|
|1130||POL||Parent Participation: Project Development and Implementation||Jun 28, 2001|
|1140||POL||Family Engagement||Nov 12, 2015|
|1211||REG||Public Records||Sep 20, 2007|
|1212||REG||Confidential Information: All Employees||Jun 28, 2001|
|1213||POL||Public Concerns||Jun 28, 2001|
|1213.1||REG||Public Concerns||Apr 22, 2004|
|1214||POL||School Visitors||Jun 28, 2001|
|1221||POL||Participation By School Groups in Public Events||Jun 28, 2001|
|1221||REG||Participation By School Groups in Public Events||Jun 28, 2001|
|1222||POL||Contests For Students||Jun 28, 2001|
|1222||REG||Contests For Students||Jun 28, 2001|
|1223||POL||Fund Raising||Jun 28, 2001|
|1223||REG||Fund Raising||Jun 28, 2001|
|1232||POL||Commercial Activities||Jun 28, 2001|
|1232||REG||Commercial Activities||Jun 28, 2001|
|1310||POL||Community Agencies||Jun 28, 2001|
By Ian Whitaker
Tuesday, April 5, 2016 | 2 a.m.
Should teachers be able to text and message their students online through Facebook and Twitter?
It’s an issue that’s attracting attention at the Clark County School District as more teachers are arrested on allegations of being sexually involved with students.
The connection couldn’t be clearer. A 2015 investigation by The Sunday found that a vast majority of recent teacher sex abuse cases — around 80 percent — involved some type of private communication between the student and the teacher.
And out of the five teachers arrested since that investigation was published, four were found to have communicated privately with students without the knowledge of their parents.
Experts say private contact with students often encourages and magnifies “grooming” behavior, where would-be abusers lower a student’s resistance through constant “friendly” communication.
Charles Young, a 29-year-old teacher’s assistant at Sedway Middle School, reportedly messaged the student for weeks over Facebook and sent nude photos over chat, according to the police. Young was arrested for lewdness last August after he reportedly admitted to police that he lured the boy to his apartment for sex.
Jillian LaFave, a 25-year-old English teacher at Valley High School, was arrested in January on allegations that she had kissed a special ed student. Police said they later found LaFave and the student had sent over 13,000 texts to each other in just three months.
Harney Middle School teacher Robyn-Lea Gentile, 23, reportedly exchanged 800 text messages with a high school student before she was arrested in early March on allegations that she had kissed him several times.
Then, just last Friday, Legacy High School teacher Frank Bayer was arrested on allegations that he had sex multiple times with a student in his classroom and the back of his van. Bayer reportedly told police they had exchanged "hundreds" of messages over Facebook and engaged in cybersex. When the police questioned the girl, she reportedly told them the chats also included innocent conversations about school and homework assignments.
In response to the rise of these cases and the media coverage they inevitably bring, CCSD is looking at ways to provide students and teachers a safer way to communicate, though they haven’t offered specifics.
"CCSD is exploring multiple technology platforms and applications that allow students and teachers to communicate in a setting that protects both the students and staff members from inappropriate and private messaging while still allowing a means for communicating critical information pertinent to academic achievement,” district spokeswoman Michelle Booth said in a statement.
The district is also looking at what other school districts have done to address the issue.
Meanwhile, officials in the teachers union say they are open to changes to conduct policy.
Teacher conduct rules currently negotiated by the district and union hold that “the personal life of a teacher is not an appropriate concern of the district.” Another regulation states that "activities that may be construed as … abusive, offensive, and/or sexually explicit communications are not acceptable and have no place in the District,” though that applies only during school hours or using district devices.
“We would support a policy that made that kind of behavior and activity prohibited,” said John Vellardita, CCEA executive director. “And we would tell educators that’s off limits.”
Advocates and experts on teacher sex abuse cases say there’s no reason why teachers should have a secret channel of communication with students without their parent’s knowledge.
“Our kids are at risk without proper policies setting no-tolerance boundaries,” said Terri Miller, president of SESAME, an advocacy group dedicated to holding school districts accountable for abuse.
Miller, a mother of four who uncovered systemic sexual abuse by a teacher at Pahrump Valley High School in 1994, said CCSD already operated its own networks, namely InfiniteCampus and ParentLink, designed for teachers to communicate with students and their families.
“There is absolutely no reason for teachers to have personal communication with students,” she said. “They need to make it very clear that any use of personal technology to communicate with a student will result in severe consequences.”
Dozens of schools around the country have established social media policies, but they’ve yielded mixed results. A 2011 law in Missouri preventing teachers from chatting students online was repealed the same year after it received pushback from teachers and the American Civil LIberties Union due to concerns it infringed on First Amendment rights.
Some argue that barring teachers from interacting with students online is an overreaction that threatens their ability to mentor and support, often seen as some of the core functions of a teacher. Instead, critics of social media rules suggest educating teachers about how to use them properly, not ban them altogether.
"We understand the challenges when teachers use social media for class lessons as well as the means to communicate with students about last minute changes to after school practices or other activities as well as serving in mentorship roles,” Booth said in a statement.
The district didn’t offer a timeline on when it would release a plan to address the issue.