OSBA: Social Media and the Law

Note: This is my second year at Ohio School Board Association Conference. These are notes from the conference. This, or course, assumes I have decent internet access at the convention center. These post tend to run a bit dry as they’re composed on the fly.

Understand the difference between personal and district use. Keep them separate. Yet understand that the two can sometimes overlap (for good or bad). Your personal page may be considered a public record (depending on the content).

Public Record and Social Media

What about comments made through social media that may be considered public record? Things you may want to keep in mind:

  • Disclaimer
  • Inappropriate content and language
  • External internet sites, adds, endorsements

Personal note: We may want to define social media use in light of what we have in our district Acceptable Use Policy.

Records Retention and Social Media

If you determine that the social media is record that needs retention, maintain it according to your records retention schedule. This is likely an area where the law hasn’t kept up with the technology. The lawyer says analyze the content of the post, not the medium.

How might you capture this content?

Look at 3rd party tools or primary social media that exports this information.

Ohio’s Open Meeting Law

Decisions should not be made via social media forum. Board members should not really be commenting on the social media forum as it might violate open meeting law. Need to be careful in this area.


Don’t post medical information on social media.


Will FERPA matter with photographs, videos, and awards. Bit unclear. Directory information is okay. Education record is the key. Best to use a do not photo list.

Copyright Law

Fair use isn’t an infringement. Basic standards of fair use.


  • Keep district policies updated.
  • Be aware who you are accepting as friends
  • Review terms of use
  • Always use good judgment.
  • Have a point person monitoring your social media pages.

Bottom line, don’t be stupid.

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