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Texas school district to monitor employees’ social media accounts


A Texas school district will screen its employees’ social media accounts for any content it deems inappropriate, it announced.

The Austin Independent School District will monitor staff’s social media accounts twice annually starting in September for any “illegal activity; violent, threatening, or sexually explicit posts; or racist, bigoted, or discriminatory behavior.”

The measure will help foster a suitable environment for students in and out of the classroom, the district said.

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Conducting the screening will be Social Intelligence, an independent company from California .

Using employees’ personal information, such as names, phone numbers, addresses, and emails, the company will view social media content.

“Social media checks include a review up to 7 years of history,” according to the Austin Independent School District’s website.

The district listed social media activities that will be deemed inappropriate.

“Social Intelligence will review employee’s social media content and will flag any media that may violate district policy, including: racism/intolerance, violence, potentially illegal activity, or sexually explicit material,” the district said. “Please note that if federal or state-protected class information is viewable within the flagged content, it is redacted from the final report sent to the District. Please see AISD Board Policy DC (Regulation) for more information.”

Violators will be contacted by supervisors and possibly the district’s human resources officers, and staff found to violate district policy are subject to “discipline, up to and including termination,” according to the district.

Posts made by staff members and those they are tagged in are fair game, but Social Intelligence is unable to access accounts set to private, the district said.

“Social media accounts that are set to private may not be accessed through Social Intelligence’s system,” according to the district’s site.

“Considering the district is running a deficit budget, the teachers are fighting for a 2% raise, why are we spending the money on this right now?” one employee asked, according to KXAN.

Leslie Stephens, the district’s chief human capital officer, justified the program as an attempt to clean an image.

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“It’s just a matter of trying to make sure that we represent our best selves forward to our students, parents, and community,” Stephens said. “There is always that opportunity to clean up those things.”

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