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Teachers Behaving Badly on Social-Networking Sites

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I've heard about students being punished for what they write on social networking sites, but this article is the first I've heard of teachers being held accountable for making inappropriate comments online. Seven teachers in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district were flagged for posting inappropriate content on their Facebook pages, says the article. Four of those teachers have been disciplined for their posts and one is waiting for a ruling on whether she can keep her job.

The teacher facing firing apparently listed one of her activities as "teaching chitlins in the ghetto of Charlotte" and "drinking" as one of her hobbies, according to the article.

I have mixed feelings about employers holding their employees accountable for what they do in their private lives, but in this case, all the employees in question clearly identified their employer on their Web sites and left them open for public viewing, which means that any student could have stumbled across the derogatory and inappropriate comments. In that case, I tend to agree with the school district that disciplinary action against the teachers should be taken.

I do think, though, that more education about the school district's policies regarding both students' and teachers' behavior on social networking sites is necessary and appropriate at this point in time. While these particular teachers did display poor judgment in what they chose to share about themselves in a public forum, more explicit information about what is and is not appropriate couldn't hurt.

5 Comments

I think that we as teachers should be more careful in what goes up on our Facebook and Myspace sites. We become models for students and we could lose credibility with our students if we're not careful. I think that punishing teachers sends that message and makes teachers more aware about what they should and shouldn't put up on their pages. These days social network sites are being more and more revised by hiring companies as a form of screening their potential employees. So, why should we as teachers be any different?

It has always been my understanding from any teacher past, present, or future that social networking sites should not be used at all. I am a student at Auburn University about to graduate and I have already deleted my facebook site. I agree with Adrian in the fact that companies do use these sites for job recruitment so why should we be held at a lower standard? Students with ages ranging from 9-18 have Facebook and Myspace and can access your page. We are role models for most of our students, and for a student to see what was on that teacher's page hurts me as a future educator. I agree with the end of the article about the rules being laid out to the teacher's, but at the same time we as educators should be more responsible. Does anyone know about the fifth teacher and her punishment?

I'm in my second year of school, studying to be a special education teacher. Even now, we are held accountable for what may be lurking on our Facebook profiles. Teachers need to realize that the internet is more public than they may realize. Anyone can access anything you post on the internet, and we need to be responsible about it and set a positive example for our students. Teachers can have fun and have a private life, but it needs to be kept private and away from the internet.

Good post.

The respondent who commented that teachers should be barred from having online profiles is completely opposed to the First Amendment. Prohibiting a teacher from having a digital life is a throwback to the days when teachers were required to stoke the potbelly stove, sweep the floors and remain celibate. Of course all school employees should be held to a high moral standard, but denying them the basics of 21st century life, while telling them to teach students 21st century skills, is preposterous.

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