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MySpace or Not?


The opportunity for free-running self-expression is one of the big reasons people create their own pages on social networking Web sites. But the recent firing of a Florida teacher over his MySpace page calls into question how free a teacher can ever be to express his or her thoughts.

John Bush, a 52-year-old physical education teacher at Landrum Middle School in Augustine, was terminated after Bush’s page turned up with a photo and text that the school board attorney said were not pornographic, but “inappropriate for school teachers in St. Johns County.”

Bush, who’s fighting for his former job, says he didn’t post the material, hypothesizing that someone hacked into his site. He added that he took down the content in question as soon as he learned about it. His MySpace page currently shows his portrait and identifies him as a divorced teacher looking to date and meet friends.

"I don't think that's inappropriate, personally," said Stephanie Eastman, the parent of a Landrum student. "He is a person, after all, at the end of the school day."

Teachers know they have to set a certain standard of behavior, whether they’re at school or not, but where do you draw the line? How much authority should administrators have over teachers’ personal, non-school-affiliated Web sites?

What do you think?


This scares me. I am not sure what he had on his website---but shouldn't a teacher be allowed to have a personal? Would he be in the same trouble if his profile was on a dating site?

I have a blog that I share my opinions on issues but I did fear that someone might use some of my opinions against me so I did remove my name, but I still blog.

Yes, we do have ethics to follow as teachers but we should be allowed some mistakes especially if it was not material that was damaging to anyone---sometimes "not appropriate" can be a judgment call.

For instance, if he had mentioned that he was a gay teacher, some might have felt that to be "inappropriate."

I think each district needs to set guidelines about what in the cyberworld falls into the ethics category.

My school district has a rule that teachers may not have a MySpace account. Although I do not, the stripping of my first Ammendment right to freedom of speech and assembly both terrifies and repulses me. How dare they place restrictions on my personal life! However, as an employee, do I dare voice an objection without legal representation? Is it worth losing my job over an issue that doesn't involve me? For now, I am quietly appalled.

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