JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Teacher, student 'off their faces' on Facebook


Daniel Hurst

Education Queensland has ordered a teacher to remove a Facebook post from an apparently underage former student who joked about them both getting drunk at the weekend.

The girl's "inappropriate" post illustrates how contact between teachers and students on social networking websites can be fraught with difficulties.

how did you pull up yesterday??? i still felt drunk as when i got back to boarding... funny as i reckon!! 

Education Queensland this month banned all state school educators from using such sites to communicate with past and present pupils, forcing teachers to delete from their private pages any content deemed inappropriate.

One Facebook user - who attended Collinsville State High School, about 80km from Bowen, before she switched to a boarding school - referred to meeting up with a female teacher when she was back in town.

In her June 9 post on the teacher's wall, the girl asked: "how did you pull up yesterday??? i still felt drunk as when i got back to boarding... funny as i reckon!!"

It is unclear how the teacher responded to the comment as the girl's profile is set to private.

An Education Queensland spokesman told the teacher had been asked to remove the post in line with the department's new code of conduct.

"While individuals may not be responsible for material that can be viewed on their social networking sites the revised code encourages teachers to check these sites for inappropriate material," he said.

The spokesman would not say if the department planned to take any further action against the teacher involved.

The move comes amid ongoing debate on the new rules banning state school staff members from using Facebook, MySpace or YouTube to "contact or access present students enrolled in any school or institute".

"If you use internet social networks in your personal time you must ensure that the content is appropriate and private, and that you restrict access to specific people who are not students," the code of conduct states.

Independent Schools Queensland executive director John Roulston said today he was not sure if any private schools had introduced similar restrictions as it was up to the individual colleges.

Allan Todd, the headmaster of Redlands College, on Brisbane's bayside, said he believed a blanket ban on teachers contacting students on social networking sites would be "overkill".

Mr Todd said educators who didn't mind talking to pupils outside of school hours could use the sites to field questions about looming assignments or homework.

"It expands the possibilities for engaging kids in education," he said.

Some teachers at Redlands College regularly interact with students online, with one distributing information about auditions for next year's school play via Facebook.

Mr Todd said teachers needed to be careful with anything they posted to their pages, but one benefit of such sites was that all interactions were "recorded".

"There are boundaries of appropriate conversation with kids. It doesn't matter whether it's face to face or Facebook. That's where kids converse," he said.

"(But) these conversations are more easily recorded than face-to-face conversations.

"In some ways that's a protection."

Brisbane Catholic Education was not immediately available to comment on its social networking policies.

2 comments so far

  • This is typical of today's over-censorship and restrictive laws.
    This does not protect anyone from anything, only from information becoming 'public' through social networking sites.

    If the government, state or otherwise, was serious about protecting students while online, money would be put into education programs.

    In the instance of the this article, the student would still have had a drink with her old teacher; the fact that a flippant comment on Facebook has caused such a knee-jerk reaction is also typical of politicians legislating on things they really don't understand, or think will win a cheap vote at the polls.

    Melbourne, Australia
    Date and time
    October 27, 2009, 1:29PM
    • Politicians seem to see friendships as something to be suspicious of. Perhaps it is because they have so few friends themselves that their constituents should be made to suffer the same. A complete lack of understanding of community has occurred. Because a public servant is involved there is some perception that the comment is out of the ordinary or sinister. Should an everyday Joe who has ever met a teenager be held responsible for how that teenager behaves? The only person you can control is yourself. What another person chooses to do is not under your control.

      Date and time
      October 29, 2009, 8:18PM

      Make a comment

      You are logged in as [Logout]

      All information entered below may be published.

      Error: Please enter your screen name.

      Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Please enter your comment.

      Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

      Post to

      You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

      Thank you

      Your comment has been submitted for approval.

      Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

      Related Coverage

      HuffPost Australia

      Follow Us

      Featured advertisers