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Appropriate Ways to Communicate with Students

Elementary and high school teachers and staff, and religious education catechists and coordinators may email or text students, provided they do so using Archdiocesan Community Email Services​ or an email system that is administered by the Location, or a cell phone that is owned and managed by the Location. Such systems can be monitored, which protects both the educator and the student. Do not email or text students from a personal, private email account or cell phone that is not monitored by the Location. Do not send emails or texts under circumstances that could be viewed as inappropriate personal communication rather than official communication.

If a student sends a message on a personal, private email address or social networking site, the best practice is to not reply from the recipient's private email or the social networking site. Forward the student’s message to the email account that is maintained by the Location or to the Location’s cell phone so that the recipient and the Location will have a formal record of the communication. Address the message’s contents and the appropriateness of the method of communication with the student in a manner that’s appropriate to the nature of the message (e.g., if the message is fairly innocuous, talk to the student). If the message raises issues, discuss those with the person in charge at the Location and the student’s parents/guardians. The Location should consider having students understand and agree to the Contract for Appropriate Internet Use by Minors.

Under very limited instances and with permission from the person in charge at a Location, youth ministers may call or text students from their personal cell phone or email students from their personal email account to convey business information such as times and locations of meetings. Personal cell phone or email may not be used for any other type of communication with students.

See Prohibited Practices.