When students and teachers collide on social media sites, unfortunate news headlines are sure to follow. To stop the problem before it starts, some schools are taking action.

With no possible way of preventing millions of students from using Twitter and Facebook, the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) is instead cracking down on how its teachers use those services.

According to new guidelines, the NYCDOE has instructed teachers to refrain from engaging students on Facebook and to make their Twitter accounts private. The department is also going to closely monitor the social media sites its employees use.

A video from the Wall Street Journal addresses the new guidelines:

When it comes to regulating the new restrictions, the NYCDOE isn’t pulling any punches. According to Mediabistro, supervisors will control nearly every part of a teacher’s social media presence. For example, one of the rules presses teachers to act online exactly as they would in the classroom:

“DOE employees should treat professional social media space and communication like a classroom and/or a professional workplace. The same standards expected in DOE professional settings are expected on professional social media sites.”

Other restrictions are equally draconian, forbidding teachers to open up new social media accounts without first informing a higher-up official. Supervisors will also keep a list of all faculty social media accounts for the record.

It looks like the only way to prevent bad publicity is to treat teachers as if they’re no more mature than the young students they’re teaching.

Photo by Seattle Municipal Archives