Tag Archives: news

Teacher fired over Facebook photo

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. 

The photo that killed Ashley Payne's job

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?

When bad news happens

The fire in San Bruno, September 9th 2010

9 years ago this Saturday, I was woken by the phone ringing continuously. My grandma was on the other line, letting me know that my parents were ok, and that they told me not to worry – they’d get a hold of me when they could.

“What are you talking about???” I asked her.

“Go turn on your TV.”

For the next few hours I was glued to my television, just like the rest of America. And I watched fearfully as image after image showed different angles of the twin towers being hit by an airplane, eventually showing them as they crashed to the ground. Would we be next? Had war entered our country? Did we need to make a plan of escape should the worst happen on our side of the country? And what about my parents, who had chosen that very week to visit New York for their vacation? Would they really be ok?

At the time, my kids were too young to know what was going on. My son was only a baby, my daughter just 3 years old. My daughter asked what was going on, and I told her that some planes had crashed into a building. She sat with me and watched the images for awhile. And as I watched people jumping from buildings to their death, dust covered people running for cover, and images of planes repeatedly crashing into buildings, I became aware of the state of emergency on the television through her wide, innocent eyes.

Around the same time of year in 2005, Hurricane Katrina reared its ugly head and devastated the southern states, particularly Louisiana and Mississippi. Homes were leveled, signs all twisted up, boats eerily taking residence in the middle of abandoned streets. Some of the nation’s poorest were left without homes, food, or water. All they had were the clothes on their back. Heartbreaking video was captured of people standing on their roofs with as many belongings as they could save, surrounded by the flood that drowned their homes from the broken levies. Images of children, reminiscent of the children we see on commercials about third world countries, looked out at us with haunting eyes. And we watched as the devastating scene unraveled from an area of our country that had suffered from an angry act of god. My kids were now ages 3 and 6, and both were worried as the images took up the screen and entered our living room.

Yesterday, a devastating fire broke out in San Bruno. The television showed images of fireballs reaching astounding heights from a broken gas main. Homes were destroyed. Several people perished. The scenes were like those out of a movie, so unreal. Cameras scanned the scene to show areas of devastation, exhausted firemen fighting the burning inferno, and news stations played video seemingly on repeat as the whole city seemed to go up in flames. And at 9 and 12, my kids were fully aware of what was going on.

Kids are affected by the images of disasters we see on the television. But different ages react in different ways, and depending on the child. When my son was younger, he almost didn’t see the world around him. Images could be blowing up on the television, and he couldn’t tell the difference between reality and disasters shown in a movie. In his mind, none of it was real. My daughter, on the other hand, saw it all as very real. And images like those on TV when 9/11 happened worried her. Even though it was happening on the other side of the country, she felt like it was right in our own backyard. When I found her sitting next to me watching all the chaos going on in New York, I did the only thing I could do. I turned the TV off. And then we talked about the reality of the situation as best as a 3 year old could understand. At the time I wasn’t sure what was going on, or if we were even safe. But a toddler wants reassurance that they ARE safe. She wanted to know what was happening, and I gave her a very short description without getting into too many specifics. And I gave her the reassurance she needed – she was safe.

When the kids were older, conversations were able to expand more regarding devastating events in the world. When Hurricane Katrina happened, I limited the amount of TV images the kids were seeing. But I didn’t let them be ignorant of the situation either. We talked more about the people who were in need because of what they had lost, and the reality of crime on the rise due to the devastation. I didn’t let it consume our whole lives as we went about our day to day, but I used the event as a way to think about what we had, how lucky we were, and what could be done to help others in need.

At the age the kids are now, I don’t censor the images – though I still don’t have the images filling our living room through TV or the Internet. The fires in San Bruno have opened up discussions about what people have lost, and what we would do in this kind of situation. Many families didn’t even have a chance to think about it – the firemen were knocking on doors right and left telling people to get out NOW.

“What would you save?” I asked my daughter this morning.

“Whatever was closest to me, and I would get the heck out of there!” she said realistically.

Earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, hurricanes, terrorist attacks….  When bad things happen, it’s all over the news.  But how much of it do we share with our kids?  At times, the images on the news may seem like something out of the movies. And while it’s important for kids to understand the reality of these events – a conversation with a 3 year old will look very different from the conversation you’d have with a 12 year old. You shouldn’t necessarily lie to your younger children regarding scary events, but it’s better to shield them from every detail of the truth so that they aren’t overcome with worry.

And as for the media? When the same images are filling your living room over and over, sensationalizing the trauma so that it’s bigger than life…sometimes it’s better just to turn it off.

Doctors brawl while mom labors

The fight over c-sections continues, this time INSIDE the labor room.

Imagine this. You’re in active labor, and things aren’t going well. Your doctors are deciding what action will be taken. One is ready to perform a c-section. The other disagrees. And while you are contracting and ready to get the whole thing over with already, the doctors start throwing blows at each other.

This is exactly what took place in Italy earlier this week, and the result was devastating.

30 year old Laura Salpietro had to have her uterus removed after a fight between her doctors delayed the contested c-section she ended up needing to have by over an hour. And her son Antonio is suffering from heart damage and possible brain damage. Her parting prize? An apology from the Health Minister over her botched delivery.

As if that will give Laura a healthy son and a chance to have more children.

The delivery room fight brings to light the constant battle over c-sections – particularly elective c-sections (presently on the projected state-funded ban list in Utah, along with elective epidurals). Any kind of surgery doesn’t come without risk, and c-sections are no different. A woman who elects to have a c-section is at risk for severe bleeding, future fertility and pregnancy complications, severe post op pain, and an increased chance of fetal or newborn death, among other dangers. And yet the rate of c-sections is growing steadily despite the dangers involved (researchers have found that nearly one-third of first time births are by c-section – a trend that has risen 50% since 10 years ago).

But c-sections do have their benefits. For a smaller boned woman, a large baby can be impossible to deliver safely. Same with babies who refuse to turn. And I can’t help but think of my cousin as a baby whose hips are permanently affected by an attempted v-birth that went horribly wrong and resulted in an emergency c-section that saved both her and my aunt’s lives. And then there was me. I have had two c-sections – the first because my daughter was almost 10 pounds, the second because my son refused to budge after 42 weeks and it’s too dangerous to induce in a VBAC. In the past, VBACs (vag birth after cesarean) were also forbidden by doctors for fear of the uterus rupturing. That danger still exists, but has been diminished thanks to modern medicine that has changed the way doctors perform the incision. Today, most mothers can safely give birth after a previous c-section.

Laura’s case is causing Italy to question the intermingling of private doctors in the delivery room. It also raises the importance of a very clear birth plan that covers all bases – including what should happen if things go wrong.  And it makes me wonder if they had just made a decision – whether it be c-section or not, how would Laura and Antonio have fared?

What are your thoughts on c-sections?