Social media can be crucial to learn about student activity

EDEN, N.Y. (WIVB) – A former assistant wrestling coach who admitted raping two teen girls chatted with his victims on social media, and prosecutors say that was key in pressing charges against Justin Farrara.

But what are the rules when it comes to teachers, staff and students interacting on social media? A tweet ultimately led to the investigation and arrest of Farrara. Learn more about that here.

Using social media to track students is new for school districts. Some parents like Kathy Beck are okay with the district attempting to monitor student activity.

“I think you have to do what you have to do to find out the truth about a case,” she said.

Eden School District Superintendent Sandy Anzalone says there’s a fine line between protecting versus policing students.

“We don’t police students, but oftentimes what they do outside of school does come back into school,” she noted.

Eden school policy says, “Employees are encouraged to maintain the highest levels of professionalism. They have a responsibility for addressing inappropriate behavior or activity on these networks.”

There’s also a fraternization policy in place and all district personnel have to sign it. It prohibits teachers from talking to students through social media about anything other than coursework.

“We are making sure this year that all of our teachers and all of our coaches sign off on that as well, along with all of our other mandatory policies,” said Anzalone.

Western New York Regent Bob Bennett says parents, not just school districts, need to be monitoring social media for clues about their child’s behavior.

“The technology to be able to report cases has grown very significant, most of it pretty good,” said Bennett. “But some of it needs to be watched by parents.”

As for Beck, she still has concerns.

“I’m very concerned, I don’t know, all we can do is watch the best we can and keep an eye on it.”

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