Ashley Payne, a high school teacher from Georgia, was confused as to why the principal of the school she teaches at asked her into his office for a meeting. She was even more confused when she was asked if she had a Facebook account. But things became really clear for the 24 year old when he finally spilled.
A parent of a student complained because one of her photos on her Facebook showed her holding two glasses of alcohol while on vacation.
Let’s make this clear. She was not drinking on the job. She was on vacation. And like the rest of us would, she was sharing her vacation photos with her Facebook friends, including a picture of her with alcohol.
Even more, Ashley’s profile is private. So she never would have thought any of her students or their parents would have seen her photos or snooped into her private life. And now, because of it, the principal was asking Ashley to either resign or be suspended.
Ashley had no choice but to resign.
This is just one more example of how anything on the web has become public knowledge. In fact, if you want to be alarmed, take a gander at Spokeo.com, a website that has gathered information from various places on the web about none other than YOU. Don’t believe me? Type in your name on the search engine and see what comes up about you. And then sit back and take in the fact that they know your address, your age, your salary…even your religion. Same thing with your Facebook page or the like. All someone has to do is copy your photo and put it somewhere else on the web and it becomes public knowledge – including companies that are BUYING your information. Don’t even get me started on the so-called privacy of Facebook. Basically, there is none.
The internet has guaranteed that no one has a right to control their own privacy.
And that’s what killed Ashley’s job. First of all, it’s imperative that anyone who is posting pictures or comments know that they are posting them for the world to see. So it makes it all the more important to not post anything that you wouldn’t want your grandma to see, let alone your boss.
But something is seriously wrong when a teacher is forced to quit her job because of a photo of herself having fun on vacation. And let’s face it, while it would be easy to believe that teachers live in their classrooms and drink nothing but water, that’s not reality. Teachers also go on vacation. They also enjoy a glass of wine. They are just as G rated as the rest of us in their private lives – meaning that they aren’t, just like the rest of us.
They are entitled to a life.
But then again, some parents might disagree. It eventually came out that the phonecall reporting Ashley’s photo was actually an anonymous tip – meaning that it may have been a parent, and it may not have been. But someone was so offended by the fact that a teacher at the school had posted a picture of herself on the web of her drinking during her social time, resulting in the eventual loss of her job. And this isn’t the first time I’ve heard of someone getting in trouble with their job over Facebook photos. In fact, many jobs will search their applicants on Facebook to see the person that is interviewing, and what they are like when they aren’t in front of them in a suit and tie.
Should teachers, and other professionals, be judged at work for their personal profile pages on Facebook? Do you feel that teachers have an even bigger job of making sure their lives away from the school are politically correct since they work with children and could be deemed role models?