A state Senate committee in Trenton on Monday advanced a proposal that would require professional development training on appropriate relationships with students for all public school teachers in Jersey.
“It is a troubling reality that in schools across our state, social media, email and texting have blurred the lines of appropriate student-teacher communication,” Sen. Diane Allen (R-Burlington) said after the Senate Education Committee sent the bill on.
“We must take professional development into the 21st century and ensure that every public school teacher in New Jersey has the knowledge and training to prevent harmful interactions that can jeopardize a child’s health and welfare as well as destroy their own reputation and career,” Allen said.
Allen's bill covers:
· Best practices for maintaining appropriate relationships with students;
· The role of social media in teacher-student relationships;
· Legal and ethical responsibilities.
The State Board of Education would be responsible for establishing appropriate requirements, including a minimum-hour training requirement.
The board could also extend the training to other public school staff.
“As classrooms and teaching curriculum continue to become more integrated with technology and online applications, we need to make certain for both the protection of the student and the teacher that there are understood boundaries when it comes to online communications,” Allen said. “The professional development mandated in my bill will help teachers define those boundaries and ensure a safe and healthy relationship with their students.”
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