To be or not to be friends

Social media should not be restricted between students, teachers

Savannah Cox, Copy Editor

The issue of whether or not teachers and students should connect on social media has been a debate since the platforms became available.
Social media has come a long way in the last decade and if it continues to be a large part of society there is no reason why teachers and students can not be friends as long as they are appropriate with it.
“I do not seek out students to friend on social media, but if a student requests to follow me, I usually allow it,” AP U.S. History teacher Walt Cochran said. “My rationale behind that decision derives from the following–I do not use social media to talk about politics, and I am pretty boring–usually posting pictures about my family, Blazer soccer, and my photography business.”
However, there are others who do not think it is acceptable to be friends with their students.
“When I was a new teacher it was simply a professional boundary I didn’t feel comfortable crossing,” U.S. History teacher Andy Weber said.
Many accounts are public, so there is nothing stopping the students and teachers from being friends, unless their account is private.
Even with private accounts, though, everything on social media is technically public. If the account is not private then there is no reason why the student and teacher cannot be friends.
On Facebook, everyone has the option to accept or decline “friend” requests from each other. They do not have to accept people and they can choose who they have as friends.
On Instagram and Twitter, students and teachers have the option to make their account private or keep it public. If they keep it public they are saying it is okay to follow each other. At least if it is private they are saying that they do not want to be friends.
Most of this debate depends on the opinion of the student and teacher.
“I’ve always said ‘not until you graduate’. I want to see news about my family and friends more than I do previous students,” Weber said.
Regardless, information on social media is out there for everyone to see, so whether friends or not students and teachers should be mindful when posting.