Email and Instant Messaging

Instigating or participating in ‘chats’ of a personal nature with students via instant messaging

Teacher A is chatting to friends on a public instant messaging system when he notices that a few of his Year 12 female students are also online. It’s a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon so he shoots them a quick chat message, ‘What are you three doing inside, shouldn’t you be outside enjoying the beautiful day?’

  • In terms of your professional practice consider… Communicating via electronic means has no face or emotions and can therefore be perceived very differently to how it was intended.
  • DET Recommends: DET employees in schools do not instigate or participate in ‘chats’ of a personal nature with students via instant messaging.

Contacting a student via written or electronic means including email, text messages without a valid educational context

Teacher B teaches year 12 psychology in a suburban secondary school. A number of students have recently turned 18 and have been visiting popular nightspots in the CBD. Teacher B overhears them discussing one particular nightspot which sounds ideal for her 25th birthday celebration. That evening when Teacher B is researching possible venues she remembers this conversation and emails one of the students from the group for more information.

  • In terms of your professional practice consider… While teachers can be friendly with students their relationship must always remain professional and should never be on a personal footing.
  • DET Recommends: DETemployees in schools do not contact a student via written or electronic means including email, text messages without a valid educational context.

Instigating or participating in offensive or slanderous ‘chats’ regarding a colleague, student or parent via DET instant messaging systems

Teacher C receives a message from Teacher C. The message reads, ‘Have you got an appointment with Parent A for parent-teacher interviews?’ Teacher C responds, ‘Oh, you mean with Mr Touchy-Feely?’ Teacher C replies, ‘Hahahah, yeah unfortunately he’s my final appointment at 8pm. I hope someone else is around.’ (Via DET’s instant messaging systems)

  • In terms of your professional practice consider… All messages sent via the DET instant messaging system (e.g. Communicator) are recorded and can be accessed at any time.
  • DET Recommends: DET employees in schools do not instigate or participate in offensive or slanderous ‘chats’ regarding a colleague, student or parent via DET instant messaging systems.

Using your DET email address for casual and personal emails

Teacher D receives an email with the subject line: HILARIOUS!! The email contains an attachment of humourous bloopers some of which contain images of naked people. Teacher J then forwards this to their friends. (While connected to the school network)

  • DET Recommends: DET employees in schools do not use their DET email address for casual and personal emails that may be deemed as pornographic or offensive..