ANSWER: PTAs must adhere to school district policy when posting information and images from school related activities, such as events during the school day or clubs and activities, which are not PTA activities. It is important to respect the partnership between the PTA and the school/district. Local units should check with their school principal for information about their school district policies with social media at school events. For example, school districts require paperwork authorizing parent permission to post student information or images on a website, newsletter, Facebook or YouTube video. If the district has policies in place, PTA needs to be transparent in what they are doing and make sure that they are not putting the principal in a difficult position.
However, if the activity is a PTA event, PTAs should adhere to their PTA social media policy. If your PTA doesn’t have a social media policy, the executive committee should spend some time developing one. With any social media campaign you should have a plan for why you are doing it, what you are doing and how it ties in with what else you are doing. It is confusing to just jump into social media and just do anything and everything without a plan – it comes across as just a jumble of information, people need to understand the connection.
Here are some links that might be helpful:
· Social Media the PTA Way
· Social Media Tipsheets
· Information on National PTA's YouTube channel
Some additional ideas for your PTA’s social media efforts:
· Create a PTA YouTube channel to be clear that this is a PTA video and not a school video.
· Establish a means for obtaining permission from parents to post videos showing children in YouTube videos, or post photos that clearly show children on the website, Facebook or PTA newsletters and establish a clear system of maintaining this paperwork.
· Follow school district policy on all school activities. Videos or photos taken during a school event as opposed to a PTA event would need to be authorized by the school.
· Consider sponsoring a PTA contest where student clubs could submit a video on a topic that is posted to YouTube and the community votes. A parent permission slip would be included as part of the registration form to participate in this contest.
· Consider hand-picking a small number of students, that you could easily get parent permission for, to create specific videos for the PTA or write articles for the PTA newsletter.
· When listing student names for a PTA program, such as Reflections, on the PTA website and in newsletters, consider listing first names and last initial.
· When covering activities and clubs in PTA newsletters, consider keeping these pieces general and without any identifying any student information.