Should Students And Teachers Be Friends On Facebook

Should Students And Teachers Be Friends On Facebook

Facebook and other social media platforms have become a part of our day-to-day lives. It’s easy to find a friend request from an old friend or colleague through these platforms.

So, it’s understandable that a student may come across their teacher’s profile on Facebook. In a perfect world, the student could simply send a friend request to the teacher who would then accept.

Unfortunately, things aren’t that simple in the education field as teachers have policies they need to adhere to.

Most districts and educational institutions have policies that prohibit teachers from interacting with students on Facebook and other social media, as this can lead to favoritism, third-party misunderstanding, inappropriate relationships and accusations, and bias towards the student.

Let’s break these points down.

Why Teachers And Students Shouldn’t Be Friends On Facebook

While social media communication has become a part of our modern world, there’re various reasons why teachers and students should refrain from Facebook friendships.

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Over-Friendliness/Blurred Lines

Although a good teacher-student relationship can help students in various ways, over-friendliness could also lead to the teacher losing the respect of their students.

Facebook friendships can lead to over-friendliness which can impact how the student and their peers perceive the teacher.

Teachers need to be able to command respect in the classroom. Over-friendliness can undermine the authority of the teacher in the administration of their duties.

Third-Party’s Misunderstanding

Teachers and students aren’t the only people using Facebook and other social media platforms. It can be easy for parents and other third parties to get the wrong idea especially when a teacher is commenting on their student’s post or image.

While the teacher’s intentions may be simple and genuine, just knowing that a teacher is interacting online with their kids outside of school without the parent’s consent rings alarm bells.


While teachers are expected to remain professional in the administration of their duties, Facebook friendships with students can lead to biases.

This friendship may lead to unconscious biases in how the teacher treats the student in school.

Social Media Guidelines

Most districts and institutions have policies governing teachers’ use of social media. These regulations are enforced and any teachers caught in violation risk disciplinary actions.

Teachers are forbidden from friending or following students on Facebook and other social media platforms. Any interaction between teachers and students on social media is completely forbidden.

Teachers are therefore expected to adhere to their school and district guidelines on the use of social media. Teachers are expected to adhere to these social media policies:

  • Don’t post anything related to your students. This includes pictures of students irrespective of how proud you may be of their accomplishments
  • Don’t accept friend requests from anyone you don’t know. Students may sometimes create accounts under unidentifiable names. To avoid unknowingly friending a student on social media, teachers are advised to only accept friend requests from people they know
  • Don’t vent online. If you’re unhappy with your institution, students, or anything else related to your work, avoid venting your frustration on social media
  • Don’t join groups that may be considered unprofessional or inappropriate. It’s advisable to exit such groups if you’re already a member of one
  • Don’t use school equipment including computers for your personal tasks or social media activities
  • Do not post on your personal social media accounts during school hours. Even in cases where you’re not teaching, refrain from geotagging your location in your post when you’re on school grounds. That perfect selfie will have to wait till after school and you’re off-campus
  • Don’t post sensitive or offensive content. This includes posting images with alcohol or even posting bikini pictures
  • Implement strict online privacy settings. Check privacy settings on social media to ensure you only share with people you know

While these rules may seem extreme, it’s worth noting that the teaching profession comes with a huge responsibility that can even impact their personal lives. A typical example is a teacher getting disciplined or even fired for drinking in front of students even if it’s outside school hours.

Additionally, districts can also terminate any teacher if they deem any activity in their personal life to reflect negatively on the profession. Teachers are expected to serve as examples to the young and parents are only willing to trust educational institutions with their children because of the trust they have in these institutions and their teachers.

Career Risk

Protecting yourself and your career is essential as a teacher. In the event of any issues arising, teachers are at risk of losing more than their jobs. They could lose their teaching license and even face serious jail time. After years of studying to get your teaching license, it’s worth protecting.

Student Accusation

While most students might not accuse a teacher of inappropriate behavior without reason, there have been cases where teachers have been wrongfully accused by students. In the event of a student accusing a teacher, simply losing your job becomes the best-case scenario as you stand the risk of incarceration, and losing your license.

This situation becomes especially dire for male teachers who are easily seen as predators, especially at the lower education levels.

In this age of social media and spin, the court of public opinion doesn’t simply vanish even if you’re cleared of all charges. Parents would be uncomfortable with you teaching in any school their children go to even when you’re found innocent and cleared of charges.

It’s simply advisable to avoid such situations as best as you can to avoid any accusations of inappropriate behavior.


Both teachers and students have lives outside of school. And while teachers are advised to refrain from posting sensitive information online, their privacy may be compromised when they become friends with students on Facebook.

It’s possible that students may discover private information about the teacher that they otherwise wouldn’t know, which could be bad for the learning environment.

On the other hand, teachers would also be able to see the student’s posts (partying, and more) which they may consider questionable.


If the relationship between the teacher and the student goes south either inside or outside the classroom, Facebook could be used to harass one another outside school.

A typical example is a student expecting special treatment from their teacher because they’re friends on Facebook.

The teacher may be showing no favoritism in the administration of their duties but this could lead to a negative response from some students who’re unable to act against the teacher in the school environment. The fallout could be public and ugly on Facebook.

Age Difference

While there’re teachers who may be younger than some of their students, most teachers are expected to be adults and more mature than their students.

What may be considered appropriate by the teacher may not be seen that way by the student. Any form of content considered inappropriate for a certain age, posted on the teacher’s profile could have a negative effect on an under-age student.

The Bottom Line

Unlike most other professions, teachers are expected to adhere to some regulations even in their personal lives. Even in their Facebook and other social media interactions, teachers are prohibited from interacting with students unless with permission through the school’s official Facebook account.

Facebook friendships between teachers and students are forbidden by most districts, to protect both teachers and students.

Akshay Vikhe

I am an aspiring Data Scientist with a huge interest in technology. I like to review courses that are genuine and add real value to student’s careers. Read my story

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