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"It comes down to a lack of information." Some members of Sheniger's staff use Tweet text, which turns public tweets into text messages that show up on a phone.Last month one of Sheniger's teachers started using Remind 101, a texting service that blocks phone numbers so that personal information isn't exchanged. Many schools just don’t have the will to move forward," he said.In recent weeks, rumors have been swirling that the city's policy might ban student-teacher Facebook friendships altogether.

"We also started to see students and teachers using the channel to build relationships that were very valuable in motivating young people to come to school and to sort of feel valued by their teachers and to feel more committed." Despite such touted advantages, some schools districts remain in a tough spot when it comes to encouraging the use of texting and social media, especially if the wake of a scandal: After the arrest of a teacher in Redmond, Ore., the Oregon School Boards Association last month spoke out against letting teachers send individual texts to students.

When former Harvard professor Mica Pollock collaborated on research for the One Ville Project with students and teachers at Massachusetts alternative school Full Circle/Next Wave, they began exploring the potential of text messages for providing students with support.

"It was the most obvious way to reach young people," said Pollock, now at the University of California, San Diego.

It's not because of these tools that teachers are engaging this way," she said.

"If a teacher has said something inappropriate to a child, are we going to ban teachers from talking to students?

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