TEACHERS are to be banned from befriending students on Facebook and other social networking sites as part of new rules governing interaction between teachers and pupils outside the classroom.
Teachers must also ensure they do not post any inappropriate images on their own Facebook profiles which can be viewed publicly.
It comes as fears have been raised about the use of social networking sites to bully students and teachers.
Four fifth-year students at Oatlands College in south Dublin were recently expelled after posting offensive comments about a male and female teacher.
The Teaching Council of Ireland, which is responsible for regulating standards in the profession, last month approved a new code of conduct.
Teachers found in breach of the code will be subject to disciplinary procedures which can include suspension or even being struck off the council's register, making them ineligible to teach in Ireland.
The new code will also bring an end to teachers providing paid grinds to their own students outside of class time.