Social Media Policy

Social Media Policy 

…for Official LM Social Media Accounts 

Lancaster Mennonite (LM) school recognizes the importance and benefits of communicating  through social media. Social media is a powerful vehicle through which LM disseminates  relevant news to our community, listens to voices and perceptions of LM, connects with our  audiences online, and builds good will. Social networks and other online media are excellent  tools for engagement and two-way communication, but there is the potential for significant risks  associated with inappropriate use. Existing legal responsibilities and school policies remain in  place when LM employees use social media. 

Audience for this policy 

This policy is for students, faculty, staff, and contractors on behalf of LM who manage or  contribute to official LM social media channels (those channels that have some oversight by  school faculty/staff) including but not limited to channels for academic departments, clubs and  offices at LM Social media channels can include but are not limited to blogs, wikis, and social  networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn. 

This policy DOES NOT pertain to informal student groups (as opposed to LM-affiliated clubs) or  to the personal use of social media by students and employees. LM employees and students  are strongly encouraged to review the employee handbook and student handbook when using  social media platforms to ensure they are not violating the code of conduct and incurring  disciplinary action.  

Authorized Communications 

Before creating an official social media account at LM, please contact the Director of Marketing  and Communications. They will discuss communications strategies specific to your needs,  review the name of your social media account to be clear it is in line with current accounts and  best placed for search-ability purposes. You should create an account only in the name of a  recognized LM entity if you are authorized to represent that entity and share the  passwords/access to the account to the Director of Marketing and Communications. 

The Marketing and Communications brand ID manager will help provide a logo and necessary  graphics for your account.

All official social media accounts at LM, with the name and contact information for the account  manager, must be communicated to Marketing and Communications. Post only on behalf of LM  or its affiliates in an official capacity where you have been explicitly authorized to do so. Discuss  with your supervisor whether you are empowered to respond directly to users and when you  may need approval to respond, or when you have questions about the appropriateness of  content for posting. 

Security 

Social media can be a potent tool for scammers and criminals. LM wants to be vigilant when it  comes to protecting our online presence. Employees and students should follow these security  steps if you are accessing or managing an LM social media account, and they are encouraged  to: 

  • Create secure passwords and set up two-factor authentication (when possible)
  •  Keep software and devices updated
  • Avoid phishing attacks, spam, scams, and other malicious threats
  • In the event that your password has been leaked or you feel there has been unauthorized access to the account contact IT and Marketing immediately to resolve

Confidentiality 

Do not post confidential or proprietary information about LM, or LM employees, students,  affiliates, or alumni that would violate such persons’ reasonable expectations to privacy under  applicable federal and state laws, HIPPA, FERCA, or other school policies. As a general rule,  permission should be granted before posting anything about LM or an individual that is not  already known to the general public. Non-disclosure agreements that prohibit the school from  disclosing information also bind its employees from disclosing such information. 

Privacy 

Do not post anything to an official social media channel that should not be shared publicly. In  particular, do not discuss a situation involving named or pictured individuals on a social media  site without their knowledge or permission. This does not include photos from the LM digital  collections and archives or photos in which individuals are not clearly recognizable. Keep in  mind that for reasons of privacy or security some students may not want it publicly known that  they attend LM. Never share Social Security numbers, addresses or other private information.  Remember that whatever you share may be public for an indefinite period of time, even if you  attempt to modify or delete it.

Do not include confidential information about the school, its faculty/staff, or its students in  materials posted on social media sites. Examples include information about a student’s grades  or performance, admission status, GPA, Social Security number; personally identifiable health  information such as medical conditions or injuries or healthcare sought or received; and other  private personal information that the person has not consented to have published. 

Responsibility 

Use of social media on an official LM channel must be managed responsibly because it reflects  on the school, its faculty/staff, its students, its alumni, and its employees. 

  • Emergencies and Crisis Situations: In the event of an emergency or crisis situation the Superintendent is the official voice of LM. Managers of official LM accounts are  asked to share only official information provided by the main LM social media accounts  and shared in official school messages. Sharing information found online or not  approved by LM may lead to false or confusing information reaching the community and  spreading online. Official accounts are also asked to delete or postpone any previously  scheduled tweets or posts during an emergency or crisis situation. 
  • Confidential Information: Social media account managers should take steps in  advance to prevent the exposure of confidential medical or student information.  Confidential information should never be posted online. Photos should also be inspected  closely before publication to make sure no confidential, personal information, such as  Social Security numbers, addresses, or academic records, can be seen. Check with  marketing for photo permissions for pictures of students. 
  • Other Users: Other users, including student groups at LM, may have different interests,  attitudes and opinions than official LM social media accounts. Before retweeting or  sharing content posted by others on official school channels, be careful that such  content is accurate and reflects the school’s position. 
  • Fake Accounts: Employees should never create fake social media accounts (i.e., an  account that seems to be the work of a third party) or share false or misleading  information through a school account. 
  • Correcting Information: If you unintentionally post something online that is incorrect,  correct it visibly and publicly as quickly as possible. Doing so will earn you respect in the  online community. 

Transparency 

To both protect the LM name and build trust with users, social media such as blogs, Facebook  pages, Twitter feeds, etc. that are established on behalf of LM entities should be explicit  regarding the nature of the relationship of such media to LM. Similarly, LM-related social media  should not be used for any private business or financial transactions nor should any staff with administrative responsibilities realize any personal monetary profit from LM-related social  media. 

Content shared via official LM social media channels, as well as pages or accounts that these  channels like or follow, should reflect the mission and values of LM. Official LM accounts should  refrain from posting content and liking or following users or pages that reflect personal interests  or that may be in conflict with LM mission or values. 

Official LM accounts should encourage engagement and interaction with and among followers;  however, they should reserve the right to remove content that is spam, commercial, obscene,  harassing or derogatory. If the social network allows for it in the “Bio” or “About” section, official  accounts should post a disclaimer similar to this: “Third-party posts on this wall do not imply  endorsement of that content by LM. We reserve the right to remove content that is spam,  commercial, obscene, harassing, and/or derogatory.” 

Copyright 

LM official accounts must follow general copyright guidelines when posting intellectual property,  including photos and videos, online. 

  • Materials posted online should be your property, in the public domain, have a Creative  Commons license, or fall under fair use. For all other instances, you should seek  permission from the copyright holder. 
  • Where possible, best practice is to include credit/attribution.
    • Due to character limitations and platform norms, credit is not necessary on  Twitter or Instagram.
    • On Facebook and YouTube/Vimeo, you should include a credit.

Terms of Service 

Official social media accounts at LM must follow the Terms of Service set forth by the social  media channels they are using.  

(Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn

Best Practices 

LM has created best practices and guidelines for the most popular social media platforms.  Official channels should follow the best practices for each platform. In some cases, deviation  from best practices is warranted, but failure to follow best practices to the detriment of the  school may result in, but not be limited to, exclusion from official LM social media lists or platforms, lack of promotion from the main LM channels, and possible deactivation or deletion of  the offending account. Deactivation and deletion will be at the sole discretion of LM and will be  carried out by contacting and working with the school’s communications director or the highest ranking officer of the department. 

General Practices to Remember 

  • The purpose of using these communication channels on behalf of LM is to support the  school’s mission, goals, programs, and sanctioned efforts, including school news,  information, content and directives. 
  • When using an officially recognized social media channel, assume at all times that you  are representing LM. 
  • Exercise discretion, thoughtfulness and respect for your colleagues, associates and the school’s supporters/community (social media fans).
  • Avoid discussing or speculating on internal policies or operations. 
  • A healthy dialog with constructive criticism can be useful but refrain from engaging in  dialogue that could disparage colleagues, competitors, or critics. 
  • If you have school information and news that you would like to announce to the public or  media, please contact LM Marketing & Communications. 
  • If you have any doubt about posting content on these social media sites, please consult  the Marketing & Communications team. 

Moderating Comments 

  • LM encourages our fans, followers, and friends to share their thoughts with one another  by commenting on a story, feature, tweet, or post that speaks to you. We encourage positive and encouraging kind of talk, thoughtful and civil conversation with the following guidelines:
    • Comments must be relevant to a topic discussed and to the point.
    • Keep your comments clean and constructive.
    • Posts that are off-topic, abusive, contain profanity, are threatening in tone or  devolve into personal attacks will be removed. Period.
    • Excessively long comments—as determined by the site’s editor—are subject to  editing for length, clarity and space limitations.
    • LM reserves the right to review and remove comments.

Inactive Accounts 

Social media channels at LM must be continually updated and monitored. Accounts that have  been inactive for more than one month may be subject to deactivation or deletion. Deactivation  and deletion will be carried out by contacting and working with the school’s communications  director or the highest-ranking officer of the department.

Personnel Recruitment 

While social media continues to evolve and develop as an effective tool for advertising jobs at  the school and for recruiting candidates, it does not replace or otherwise eliminate the need to  use the school’s existing recruitment systems and processes for posting positions, collecting  applications, conducting background checks, making offers of employment and other related  activities. Offers of employment should only be extended through existing and accepted  processes, and should not be communicated through social media. 

Other Documents: 

This policy is to be followed in conjunction with the school’s other policies related to social  media for employees and students: 

Technology Acceptable & Responsible Use Policy 

Anti Cyberbullying Policy 

Student & Employee Handbooks