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Suspended for Facebook Comments....Is it Right?

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posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 04:38 PM
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A North Carolina middle-school teacher has been suspended after reacting angrily on her Facebook page that she was subjected to a "hate crime" by Christian students.

hamptonroads.com... cebook-comments-religious-conflict

Apparently the teacher, a Muslim, was suspended after she posted comments on her Facebook page that she considered the Bible left on her desk by some Christian students to be a hate crime.


The purpose of this thread is not to debate whether leaving the Bible on the desk was a hate crime. I'm interested in the role Facebook or other social media play in the lives of government workers.

As a teacher, I've been told numerous times not to have a Facebook account....or at least to make sure said account is kept private. I understand this is the best way to prevent problems.....but is that a curbtailing of my personal rights?

I'm curious to find out what others think, since I'm still torn.




posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 04:45 PM
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I think it might be legit to do so. It's been used over and over and over as a format for employers (even law enforcement) as a means to make decisions based on what has been posted (by you or by others about you). Is it right? Don't know, but anyone with a bit of awareness would know that it is a possibility and seems to be acceptable within the law. Hiring/Firing in an at-will state (if this is one) will further negate any recourse for the teacher.

With every choice "we" make there are consequences that follow (positive, negative or neutral) and in this case, she made a choice that resulted in a negative consequence. But, still was her choice to make. People really need to get smart about what they allow about themselves on social networking sites.

ETA:
In some cases, employers will require that one disclose all sites and usernames the potential employee belongs to and uses, as a pre-hire condition. For this very reason, it may be wise to set up a "professional" site (like Linkd-in) for "professional" purposes and with only professional content. In many cases, it may appear suspicious if someone claims they do not have any affiliation to social networking and/or one would appear "out of touch"depending on the job, of course. For all other sites, it's wise to make certain that if employers search for you, they will not link to you. If that means using a pseudonym that friends and family know, fine.
Keep your work and private lives separate online. It's just good sense.



[edit on 16-2-2010 by LadySkadi]



posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 04:49 PM
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reply to post by LadySkadi
 


Thanks for your post. You have a lot of great comments.

I agree, we need to be very careful in what we post on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

I guess its all in the mindset. Since I pick the people I allow access to my info, I assume I'm speaking in confidence. In reality, this is not the case. In that sense, Facebook is simply speaking in public.



posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 04:53 PM
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reply to post by smyleegrl
 


Nothing is private on FB or other social networking sites.
Much of your information may belong to them, simply for using it.






[edit on 16-2-2010 by LadySkadi]



posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 05:22 PM
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Probably got suspended for more than one reason.
1) She probably posted on Facebook during school time.
2) She probably got suspended because she is quick to anger.



posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 05:24 PM
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reply to post by Alxandro
 


Good points....but most schools have filters that block Facebook from being accessed by school computers.

As for other motivating factors in her suspension, there maybe some.



posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 05:30 PM
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I am somewhat afraid to even put pictures or texts of my "social" life on line for my own sake.

Is it fair? Well, I think so. Fair in the regards of being used in a court or other case.

If they feel her comments should in turn lead to her firing, that is their issue.

Facebook is as public as you like to make it.



posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 05:44 PM
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Hey smylee...thought I'd check out some of your topics since you seem to be a sensible person



Anyway...I'm not sure if it is legal/ethical/right for them to suspend the teacher based off facebook comments. It is very easy to do things like not hire someone based off of their facebook page...but to actually use it as a reason for suspension is a hard sell. The reason I say this is because who knows if she actually typed those facebook comments...it could of been her husband. I don't know...it is one of those situations that could go either way. I know that teachers, just like a lot of government employees, need to keep up a somewhat clean image...because people don't like their tax dollars paying the salary of someone who is up to shady activity.

But for your case as a teacher...I could see how a facebook page could be very helpful for students/parents to get in contact with you....and also very stressful to watch what you say. So what I would do if I were you is to make two facebook pages...one for friends and family and one as Teacher Smylee. Even that can get hard if a student/parent knows someone who is one of your actual friends or a family member...then they may still hear about the comments you make on your 'private' page.

The way I think of facebook is that I am speaking out in public...or at the very least speaking to a group of very gossipy friends. And whatever I say on facebook is going to make the rounds.



posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 05:54 PM
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I have to agree with the above. I think professional pages could be beneficial... it's always (it seems) the private pages that get people into trouble. I have a teacher friend who uses her own site as a class information/communication tool. It's devoted strictly to information about what the class is doing, projects they are working on, upcoming events, etc. and there is a communication tool available to parents to reach her, though I'm not sure that's public. I think it's set up like an email link. Regardless, it's a neat way to maintain teacher/student/parent communication.

As for the other issue... bear in mind that any state that is considered "at will employment" does have the right to fire anyone for anything, just as the employee has the right to leave for any reason... presuming there is not a binding contract. FB can most certainly get ya fired.



posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 06:00 PM
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reply to post by LadySkadi
 


Thanks LadySkadi and OutKast. You both have excellent points, as usual.

We use a Wiki page in class....it's similar to a Facebook in that anyone can see it. Class members can add information to the posts, so it becomes almost a classroom online.

Only problem is, I live in a really low-income area and most of my students don't have computers, much less access to the Internet. But for those who do, its a fun way to turn in that traditional homework.



posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 06:12 PM
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I don't think it matters if you set your profile to private, anybody on your friends list who finds and posts a picture with you in it just needs to tag you in the picture and the whole world will be able to see it.

Not to mention groups you join which then attract nutters and next thing you are associated with them.

It doesn't bother me because I'm not trying to impress anybody but those I know who work for companies I warn them to watch what they do.



posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 06:14 PM
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reply to post by LadySkadi
 


I know some lawyers who work at the DA's office. They find pictures on facebook and myspace of criminal defendant's posing with guns, showing of their tattoos, swilling beer, or making gang signs. They then use these pictures as evidence at trial.



posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 06:15 PM
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reply to post by bigyin
 



anybody on your friends list who finds and posts a picture with you in it just needs to tag you in the picture and the whole world will be able to see it.



There is actually a setting where you can make it that only you see the photos you are tagged in and no one else...not even your friends.


I found that pretty quick when I started seeing pictures I was tagged in that I didn't want everyone to see



posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 06:17 PM
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I know when my cousin became a police officer he had to go through every picture on his facebook and remove any that had him holding any kidn of alcoholic beverage.

just a weird factoid.



posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 10:57 PM
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Just some thoughts on the case: first off there was just a high school student who was punished (suspended i think) for ranting or posting negative comments about a highschool teacher. I didn't look up the link but it was in the google news stories a few days ago. I think yesterday I saw an article there saying that the courts had ruled in her favor, saying that facebook comments or whatever are protected due to free speech.

This would set the precedent and allow this teacher to possibly sue the school, or at least repeal the suspension.

whatever the case, yes there are many privacy settings and so on. but for every security setting there is always a way around it. I speak from experience as a recent college grad currently searching for a job. if you have a facebook page your best bet is to set high privacy settings, but always assume that current or future employers or whoever will always be able to see the worst that is posted about you!


p.s. as a side note, i have often wondered about the pros/cons of creating a facebook page that grossly exagerrates (sp?) your positive qualities. if employers look at a page and assume the worst without factual evidence would it be wrong to put up information that is false but makes you look better?

Link to article on wired news covering the high school student's case: feeds.wired.com...
[edit on 17-2-2010 by Ozzy Mandias]

[edit on 17-2-2010 by Ozzy Mandias]



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