Wednesday, April 30, 2008

When Young Teachers Go Wild on the Web

Public Profiles Raise Questions of Propriety and Privacy

By Ian Shapira
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 28, 2008; Page A01

It's almost like Googling someone: Log on to Facebook. Join the Washington, D.C., network. Search the Web site for your favorite school system. And then watch the public profiles of 20-something teachers unfurl like gift wrap on the screen, revealing a sense of humor that can be overtly sarcastic or unintentionally unprofessional -- or both.

One Montgomery County special education teacher displayed a poster that depicts talking sperm and invokes a slang term for oral sex. One woman who identified herself as a Prince William County kindergarten teacher posted a satiric shampoo commercial with a half-naked man having an orgasm in the shower. A D.C. public schools educator offered this tip on her page: "Teaching in DCPS -- Lesson #1: Don't smoke crack while pregnant."

Just to be clear, these are not teenagers, the typical Internet scofflaws and sources of ceaseless discussion about cyber-bullying, sexual predators and so on. These are adults, many in their 20s, who are behaving, for the most part, like young adults.

Read more HERE

1 comment:

LegalBeaglette said...

"If teachers claim free speech protection under the First Amendment, Simpson said, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that governments can fire employees if their speech harmed the workplace's mission and function." Consider this one parent who 1) absolutely, positively believes that such conduct online (which, no matter how you "secure" it, is not secure) is wrong, should be prohibited, and cause for dismissal; and 2) would like to note that it is not just "young teachers" who are doing this.

If you want respect, you have to earn it, and while we as parents must work constantly against the wrongheaded media messages with which our children are bombarded, that the creators of such messages are employees of school systems is unconscionable. Worse, that our children might be topics of such idiotic and irresponsible behavior by the people to whom we entrust their care (as has happened in Charles County) is abuse.

Teacher web pages generated for student access have been a problem, too. The most notable, in my experience, has been the inclusion of external links: What may be a link to a legitimate learning site today may become the link to an altogether different sort of site at a later time.