Part two: Navigating the virtual world

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HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - Harrison County school board members are one step closer to implementing the district's revised technology policy, a move officials have mulled since the summer.

The 30 day public comment period for Policy 5602 - "Technology and Acceptable Use" ended Wednesday, and board members could enact the policy as soon as their next meeting.

"We just want to make sure that any interaction that our employees have with our students or our students have with our employees, that we can monitor that so there's nothing inappropriate," Superintendent Dr. Mark Manchin explained.

In July, Dr. Manchin told 5 News that it was time to revisit the district's technology policy. That came a week after the arrest of Josh Nicewarner, the now-former Bridgeport High School football coach and teacher at Liberty, accused of sending a lewd video to a 14-year-old girl.

As of Thursday, police have not disclosed whether Nicewarner used any school property or sent the image during school hours.

In an interview this week, Dr. Manchin said Nicewarner's arrest was a factor, but not the catalyst in the board's decision to update the language in the acceptable use of technology policy.

"I had been talking about acceptable use for a number of years, particularly as Facebook, Twitter, and all of that just explodes," he said.

Under the policy, Harrison County Schools reserve the right to monitor any online conversations between a teacher and student, within the confines of the school.

Employees are strongly discouraged from "engaging in phone calls, texting, personal media messaging with students, unless the communications are related to community or non-school related organizations and programs."

Dr. Manchin provided an example that would be permitted, such as a coach who needs to contact a student about practice or other matters pertaining to a program.

But school administrators can only cast their net so wide. Under the proposed policy, employees are "discouraged from becoming friends with or communicating with students on social media sites, unless the student is a family relative."

However, the policy does not explicitly prohibit that type of communication.

In the full story, as well as 'Part one' in the 'Related Items' section, one parent explains her approach to parenting and social media.