Ethics Obvious In Relationships Between Oklahoma Teachers, Students

Tuesday, May 13th 2014, 10:37 pm
By: Tess Maune

Cyber secrets come to light, and investigators say it's the main reason a Kellyville teacher is charged with rape. A sexual relationship with a student may have never been exposed without text messages and cell phone pictures.

Teachers are warned about using inappropriate uses of technology, but smart phones and social media are taking education to a new level, in some cases, it's the tipping point for teacher-student relationships that cross the line.

When it comes to a teacher-student relationship, ORU's Dean of Education, Dr. Kim Boyd said the ethics are obvious.

"If it doesn't feel right, then nine times out of ten, it's not right," Boyd said. "If it's something that you've got to hide, then it's probably not right."

While it may seem like common sense, it's something Boyd said must be addressed with future teachers, especially in the digital age.

At ORU, an Educational Technology course outlines the appropriate ways for teachers to use social media inside or outside the classroom.

"If you set up some type of social media that's appropriate for the class, that obviously parents have access to, that's one thing," Boyd said.

Teachers being friends with students on social media sites, Boyd said that's not okay.

"When you are in a social setting that groups of students are in as well, and you are one of the common folks, they don't see you as the person of authority, then you've crossed the line and you are no longer acting a professional, now you're acting as more of a friend," Boyd said.

Creek County detectives said a sexual relationship between former Kellyville teacher, Kayln Thompson, and an 18-year-old student started with texting.

5/12/2014 Related Story: Kellyville High School Teacher Arrested For Sex With Student

Boyd said teachers giving out their cell phone number to students is just another way to compromise the professional relationship. Still, she said, the majority of teachers know, and respect the boundaries.

"It casts a shadow on all teachers, who are doing the right thing and who love the profession and understand that they're called," said Boyd.

Some Green Country schools have banned staff from using social networking sites or texting to communicate with students on a personal level, others use an honor system.