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Reply To: Private Facebook Groups

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Hi @Kelly-ann and @Mara Roberts,
There have been unoffical parent FB groups at all three schools that I have been at, and I am admin on 2 at my boys’ current school. Schools, sadly, can’t control these – or their content.

The pages that we have for our cohort have 2 admins and have a community statement that it is not a place to air grievances. They are both secret groups and parents have to invite other parents to join. Individuals are then approved by the Admins. In both of these groups there are a couple of staff members that have kiddies in the same cohort – that way the page is monitored unofficially by the school.

At two schools there has been a Rowing Parents’ Support Group. In one instance it is a closed page and in the other it is public. In both instances the Parent Group has been really open to working collaboratively with the school to adhere to their SM guidelines.

At these schools there is also a Boarding parent group, again in one instance public and the other closed. We requested in both instances that a member of the Comms team was an admin for the site, but that admin would only contribute positively (photos and event dates) or in the instance of a defined emergency or event. The Comms team worked closely with the parent committees to have them understand their social responsibility and the potential brand damage they could do if they weren’t adhering to the SM guidelines of the school.

At the end of the day, negotiate the rules under which the school’s name and branding can be used. Educate the parents to best practice (including not sharing photos of minors without permission and removing parents that have left the school from the group).

Consider whether in your negotiation a member of the Comms team is delegated as an Admin – but set the parameters under which Admin can interact. At the end of the day you have to trust that there are enough parents in the group that will defend the school or call issues to your attention if they are being discussed in a potentially harmful manner.

@Mara is right – if you become aware that the group is becoming malicious, then gather what evidence you can and ask the Principal to meet with the group so that they can discuss perceived issues openly.

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