A leading psychologist has called for teachers to be banned from Facebook to prevent unprofessional relationships.
It comes after after a teacher was suspended following an exchange of 'inappropriate' emails with a pupil at an SA school.
Psychologist Darryl Cross has told 7News teachers should maintain a professional relationship with pupils at all times, and should refrain from socialising with their pupils online.
“We get a level of intimacy, which could get out of control,” he said.
“Teachers can be friendly, but not friends.”
He is urging teachers and students to decline each others' requests to become friends.
“It could have serious repercussions as to where a so-called innocent relationship on a Facebook site could end up,” he told 7News.
He said cyber safety is very important and teachers should be setting a clear example to students.
According to the Teachers Registration Board of SA 2010-11 annual report, a teacher was suspended after ‘inappropriate and overly familiar email’ contact with his young female student, which was ‘a breach of the normal boundaries of the teacher/student relationship’.
The Education Union has defended teachers’ right to be on Facebook, saying only a very small minority of teachers do not act appropriately online.
David Smith from the union told 7News: “Teachers have the right to use Facebook and any other social media in their own lives.”
Policies on social media usage currently vary from school to school.