Accountability for myspace pictures and the like...

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out Archives' started by TeacherGrl7, May 28, 2007.

  1. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    I recently was going through the thread about the girl who was denied her degree because she had a photo of herself drinking out of a Goody cup online. Here is the link to the thread for those who aren't familiar:

    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=35606&highlight=myspace


    After drinking at a party last night, I got to thinking about this thread. I have heard many horror stories about teachers having issues at work because of things on their myspace pages. Personally, I don't have one. Not because of teaching, I just never jumped on that bandwagon. However, if I did I would have issues with the schools being able to punish me for things I was doing on my own time- legal things, of course.

    I am 23 years old, fresh out of college, and I teach pre-k. I don't drink very much at all, but I admit I go out and party from time to time and I don't apologize for it. I am of legal age, I am never falling down drunk or even close to it, I don't drink and drive, I never do anything that is illegal. The next day when the party is over, it has no effect on my life. The fact that I sometimes drink on the weekend has zero impact on my teaching ability. And I don't think I should ever be able to be penalized by the educational system or denied a job because I want to go out with friends and be silly and drink on my own time. I realize that teachers are held to higher standards, and I agree with that to a point, and we all knew going into this career that that is just something that happens. However, I know that when I started college for this I had no idea I could be held accountable for things like this myspace picture.

    Now, for my question. As I said, I don't have a myspace. But many of my friends do. And they post pictures of people on there. I know I am probably on some of their sites in random pictures from over the years. Now, if an "incriminating" picture of me was posted by a friend on his or her page, could that come back to haunt me? Can I be penalized for something that another person posts on the internet, even though I have no control over it? Obviously I could choose to not be photographed while drinking, but I think that is a bit much. I know this is a very sketchy area right now, but what do you all think? I am just curious.
     
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  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I don't think anyone would argue that teachers should not drink. You described legal, responsible socializing. I don't like pictures on MySpace (my daughter has an account and I hate it) for various other reasons, but it doesn't sound like you have anything legal to worry about. Why would you want your photos on there, though?
     
  4. TeacherGrl7

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    Oh I don't want them on there, that's why I don't have an account. But I know people that have accounts and post all of the pictures on their digital cameras. I can't really control whether THOSE people put pictures of me up, especially since I don't have an account to see what they are posting. I was just wondering what could happen if someone ELSE put up pictures of me.
     
  5. MissWull

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    Upsadaisy - I don't think she wants her photos on there, or she'd make her own account. She is just saying her friends probably have pictures of her on there and wa-lah, there she is on myspace.

    TeacherGrl - I don't think there could be much problem with you being on your friends' myspace pictures. Even if admins did go into myspace and search for you...they wouldn't find you. And if they can't find you, how can they find your friends that you drink with? If you have an account all your friends are listed, then they can easily go to your friends' pages and look at pictures. Unless...your friends' pages are blocked by privacy.

    So all in all, I don't think there is a way they could find these pictures. Unless perhaps the friends you drink with are teachers as well and if they happen upon one of their pages a picture of you may come up as well...but then again, that teacher should be taking the extra pre-cautions as well.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Drinking? no. Drunk? maybe. Drinking with students? (the most likely ones to actually post a picture of you) YES! (and of course I'm talking HS here.)
     
  7. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I know you don't want your pix on there - ask your friends not to photograph you and/or not to include those photos.
     
  8. MissWull

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    Easier said than done, I think. I remember seeing my friend's FRIEND'S page and there was a picture of me, in the background but you could make it out to be me! At the time it was no big deal, but think about this sort of situation and it's a little sticky!
     
  9. TeacherGrl7

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    Exactly MissWull, no matter how hard you may want to avoid that lens it doesn't always happen. I realize that the chances of someone finding that picture are slim, but the possibility is there.
     
  10. GatorGal

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    I'm no expert by any means, but I think you're fine as long as you're not doing anything stupid in the pictures.
    Teachers are allowed to have their own lives, but as Alice rightly pointed out: "drunk" pictures would certainly be questionable.
     
  11. Amers

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    I'll play devil's advocate here....I do have a MySpace page. I don't update it very often, but it's a good way to keep in touch with old friends. I do have pictures on my page, and some of them do contain alcohol. HOWEVER, my page is set to private. You have to be listed as my friend before you can even look at my page, which means I have to basically give permission for someone to look at my page. As for worrying about pics on other people's pages, I think the odds of someone (teacher, parent, admin.) finding these randomly placed pics are pretty much zero. I thought about deleting my page when I started teaching, but I didn't see the point. I'm not doing anything illegal, and the page is set to private so no one I don't know can see my pictures.
     
  12. TeacherGrl7

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    Amers, I think you should be able to have your MySpace page. I chose not to have one way back when they started getting popular, just because I didn't want to. But my choice to not have one has nothing to do with the fact that I don't want it to come back to haunt me as a teacher. As far as I personally am concerned, as long as you are not doing anything illegal, you should be able to live your life without looking over your shoulder to make sure someone down the road won't be able to use it against you.

    And on the note of "drunk" pictures being questionable, if that is the case where would one draw the line between "drinking" pictures and "drunk" pictures? Who gets to make that call? It's something so subjective. A picture of someone "drinking" could come off as them being "drunk," but it could be a situation where the person is just doing something silly or stupid that they would do with or without alcohol. Will we get to the point where you cannot take "stupid" perfectly sober pictures without being penalized because there is the potential that you were drinking? It's not something you can prove. Do you know what I mean?

    Don't we all just love the 21st century??
     
  13. Amers

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    Yeah, you've gotta love the internet. Such a dangerous little device, isn't it? Both a blessing and a curse. :)
     
  14. 6thgradeteacher

    6thgradeteacher Rookie

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    Ditto! I DO have an account as well , and I enjoy having it very much. I am able to keep in contact with friends, because my time is so limited. Now, I also have my profile set to private. You have to have my permission to see my page. With that being said, I think it is a teacher's responsiblity, NOT to steer clear of Myspace, but to conduct themselves at all times as a "teacher" and a rolemodel. If that's the case, then one wouldn't have anything to worry about in the first place. I do think being of age and drinking responsibly IS being a good model. I don't think there's anything wrong with it and I STRONGLY disagree with anyone being criticized of what they are doing on their own time and in their own lives if it is legal and of good judgement. By FAR, that girl should NOT have been denied her teaching degree if she had a DIXIE cup in her hand! How dare they judge her on a silly picture like that, which happened to be several years before she taught anyway.

    Sorry....I'll get off my soapbox now. :) Sometimes, I just think that congressmen, administrators and others have no clue about what we, as teachers, really go through. ......sigh....
     
  15. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    It depends on the district and the community you are in. There was a case a few years ago where a teacher was fired for drinking wine on her porch in a small town in Texas. :eek: It was upheld in court as being against the morals of the community. I would ask my friends to avoid putting pictures of you up if possible.
     
  16. Amers

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    I don't think I would want to work somewhere like that....or live in a place like it for that matter. It is a little over the top, IMO. Fired for sitting on her porch drinking wine? Give me a break. :eek:
     
  17. 6thgradeteacher

    6thgradeteacher Rookie

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    I agree! I wouldn't want to live in a town like that. We aren't in the 1800's anymore! Sounds like that "community" needs to find something else better to do with their time! OVER the TOP!
     
  18. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Well, if any "incriminating" photos exsist, then the person should not have been doing what was in those pictures to begin with if they are incriminating. Follow what I am saying? I am talking illegal or unethical things. If they are just random pictures then IMO nobody should be up in arms. If you simply did not want a friend to post pics of you on a page then I would ask for them to blur you out or not post them. Also, if you think about the age you teach, it may have a different affect. Pre-K kids I would hope would not be surfing the net on My Space. If you were a high school teacher, that may be a different scenerio.

    I have a MySpace page. I never cared for it until my husband made one and I looked on his page. Out of boredom I made my own one night when he was away at a Packer game. I happen to stumble upon a few old high school friends. I use the page to keep in contact with people I normally do not get to see often or talk to often, and it has reunited me with some old close friends from my past. I keep my page private, meaning nobody can look at it unless they are approved by me. I use my page as a tribute to my family, my children, and I blog about life and update people about me. I have nothing immoral or questionable in the least. To the younger crowd, I am sure they would think my page was pretty boring.
     
  19. JenPooh

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    Just want to add...I have my niece on my friends list along with 2 of my little cousins who are teenagers...it's a good way for me to keep their eyes on them since their own parents do not. :)
     
  20. MissWull

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    Oh gosh. Parents would be blown away by what their own child could have on their Myspace page. My half-cousin (I think, not really sure how the relation goes...) has posted herself smoking (and not just cigarettes here) drinking, etc. and she's only 14!!! No wonder we don't keep in touch with that part of the family. Ya you have to be a certain age to have a myspace, but who really checks it! Yikes!
     
  21. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    MissWull, I myself am blown away by what one of my little cousins has on her page. The weird thing is, the cousin who has a very inappropriate page...her parents look at her page often. The cousin whose page is very clean and appropriate...her mom never looks. Both are 14.

    The first one I mentioned...her title says "The Bit** Everyone Loves to Hate" and says "I'm a Bit** and Proud of It". She has s e x jokes on there. No risque pics, but come on...I would NEVER allow my child to talk like that at that age and what is a child doing with s e x related material??? Her parents allow this garbage. Needless to say, she has already been suspended from school for drinking and smoking. And her parents wonder why both their children are out of control.
     
  22. bettyb

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    Years ago I applied for a job that had a place on the application where I had to sign that I would never drink in public. It was a very large private school. I decided against teaching there because it looked like my whole life would be spent in a fishbowl. Of course, there was no MySpace back then.
     
  23. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    Wow, Betty I wouldn't have signed that either. Just a foreshadowing of things to come. Plus, I'll admit it, I don't want to sign away my right to hang out at a bar on a Saturday night!
     
  24. Amers

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    My youngest brother is 16, and he has a Facebook page. I am always checking up on his page. He has no idea that I check all the pictures he and his gf post for signs of alcohol/smoking/etc. So far, so good! It might be sneaky, but it's nice to know he is making good choices (or at least seems to be!). I don't think it is sneaky for parents to check their kids' myspace/facebook pages....I just say I'm being sneaky because I'm his sister, not really an authority figure....just overprotective. :)
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2007
  25. GardenDove

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    They are too busy getting DUIs and fooling around with secretaries and pages to pay attention...:rolleyes:
     
  26. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE with my administration. Sorry, I think you're waaaay off base here.

    That's like an administrator saying online for the world to see that teachers end their day at 3pm or that nurses sit at their station all day drinking coffee. Probably all true in isolated cases, but NOT across the board!!
     
  27. bettyb

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    I saw a local guy running for office on tv last night. He was standing in a school hallway with kids walking to class. He promised to clean up our schools. Some politicians feel that this is the way to get votes, and they don't have a clue about teaching and education. It's easier to talk about education than a lot of tougher issues. I think our schools are excellent, so he's not getting my vote.
     
  28. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    I don't think it's sneaky either, or overprotective...it's called being a responsible and caring adult, no matter if you're the parent or the sister. :)
     
  29. ChangeAgent

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    From a slightly different context: For three years in undergrad (I just graduated in May), I was employed as a Resident Assistant in the freshmen residence halls. This conversation came up two years ago, and the topic hasn't dropped since. Yes, having pictures of yourself online can be incriminating. However, as others have mentioned, set your page to "private." Or, if you don't have an account and your friends do, your pictures can't be tagged, so they can't be searched for. As RAs, we were told we lived in a "fishbowl."

    Teachers as fish, too--whether we agree with that view or not. We are held to high standards, and at the same time treated as para-professionals (regarding how parents may react to our curricular choices or grading systems, and this attitude can even be seen in pay in comparison to other professional careers).

    I think the benefits of MySpace (and FaceBook) outweigh the concerns, but be careful. I have pictures of me at bars and drinking with friends on MySpace, but I don't have my own account (and I'm legal in all pictures). We're teachers. We're role models. We're individuals. We've had valuable learning experiences. We have--and are--incredible friends. We're human.

    So, be careful. I wouldn't worry about stray pictures, though!
     
  30. bettyb

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    I think it depends on your job if you should worry about pictures. Some schools are very picky and feel that their teachers should be perfect people.
     
  31. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I know someone who lost his job, apparently because of what was posted on a student's Myspace account.

    Be very careful if you're doing something an administrator would look unfavorably on. I don't mean as an adult, having a drink. But I do mean anything that hints of improper behavior.
     
  32. ChangeAgent

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    Aliceacc, you mentioned someone was fired due to something posted on a "student's" Myspace account . . . yeah, I wouldn't encourage teachers to be in places where students can get pictures of them (unless it's a sporting event as a coach, or a performance, or other extracurricular activity).

    "Improper behavior," as someone noted before, is very subjective. Drinking, to some people, is improper, no matter the extent. Two men holding hands in public, to some people, is improper. Walking into Victoria's Secret, to some, may be seen as improper. Attending certain concerts could be seen as improper. Placing political or satirical bumper stickers on your car can be interpreted as improper.

    If you are in good standing with your district, and live your life positively (as you understand it and can define it), I think most of us will be fine.

    Of course, Myspace will continue to be an issue, as it blurs the line between professional life and personal life, since the personal can be viewed in a professional setting now.
     
  33. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

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    Good post. I personally think that we should always err on tolerance for different points of view and lifestyles, as long as the teacher conducts his/herself professionally while at work. No, I don't want a teacher discussing their sexual preferance or love of Gin and Tonics at work, but what they do on their off hours is their own business.

    This type of monitoring harkens back to the old days when teachers' off hours were closely regulated.

    http://schoolperformancetours.com.au/TNBackThen.htm#Rules_for_lady_teachers_in_1915

    Rules for lady teachers in 1915 ~ "Part of Historical display at Halls Gap Victoria"

    1. Will not marry during the term of your contract
    2. You are not to keep company with men.
    3. You must be home between the hours of 8pm and 6am unless attending a school function
    4. You may not loiter down town in ice-cream parlours
    5. You may not travel beyond the city limits with out the permission of the chair man of the board.
    6. You may not ride in a carriage or auto mobile with any man unless he is you father or brother.
    7. You may not smoke cigarettes.
    8. You may not dress in bright colours
    9. You may under no circumstances dye your hair
    10. You must wear at least two petticoats and your dresses must not be shorter than two inches above the ankle.
    11. To keep the school clean you must:
    a. Sweep the floor a least once daily
    b. Scrub the floor with hot soapy water at least once weekly
    c. Clean the blackboard at least once a day
    d. Start the fire at 7:00am so that the room will be warm by 8:00am.
     
  34. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

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    Here are some rules from the 1800's:

    Rules for teachers in the 1800's ~ "Part of Historical display at Halls Gap Victoria"

    1. Each day teacher will fill lamps and clean chimney before beginning work
    2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and scuttle of coal for the day's session
    3. Back your pens carefully
    4. You may whittle the nibs to the individual taste of the children
    5. After ten hours in school, you may spend the remaining time reading the bible or other good books.
    6. Male teachers may take one evening per week for courting proposes or two evenings to attend church regularly
    7. Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.
    8. Every teacher should lay aside, from each pay, a goodly some for he benefit during his declining years, so that he will not become a burden to society.
    9. Any teacher who smokes, uses licker in any form, frequents pool or public halls or gets shaved in barber shops will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity, and honestly.
     
  35. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Good points.

    Change that last line to "anything that hints of ILLEGAL behavior."
     
  36. ChangeAgent

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    GardenDove stated that:
    My comment upon this, however, is that students need to know their teachers are real people. While you may not tell them about your sex life, orientation may be another matter (a topic worthy of its own thread)--wedding rings and family pictures are show of heterosexuality, a teacher mentioning his or her homosexuality has nothing to do with talking about sex. While you may not tell students your favorite beer or mixed drink, it is okay to say: "I went out (or, "hung out") with my friends this weekend."

    I am currently job searching, and so have not held a professional position, but I do believe that students are not stupid. They know their teachers better than many of us would like to assume. They can tell what bothers us, or what we really think. Some honesty may not be bad--unless you go about telling them you do illegal drugs, so it'd be okay for them to do so as well. That would get "iffy."

    Great conversation, everyone! I love these ethical explorations!
     
  37. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

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    Depends on the age of the child. Also, there are a lot of people with opinions on politics,homosexuality, acceptability of sex out of marriage, who are definately opting out of the public schools because of their perception that a certain point of view is being promoted. So a certain amount of sensitivity on all sides is called for. No different than the expectation that a conservative Christian will refrain from promoting their belief system, in my opinion. The schools should be neutral ground on hot button issues I think.
     
  38. ChangeAgent

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    I must preference this by noting that this is not supposed to be an attack--but I hope my passion does show through.

    No institution can be neutral. People are not neutral, and people comprise institutions. Multiple viewpoints must be presented in schools to show children of all ages the different ways of being human--our different expressions of humanity. A teacher does not need to condone a viewpoint, but presenting it is not an issue.

    We must promote people. When talking about families, single parent homes should be mentioned, because our students come from single parent homes. When talking about history, religion needs to be discussed, because religious views shape human actions. Homosexuality can be mentioned, because students, their family members, and friends may be gay.

    Talking about premarital sex is probably not appropriate for all ages, as younger students would not understand "sex," though I think it can be handled in high school (and needs to, because abstinence awareness sexuality programs have not reduced STI/STD rates or teenage pregnancies).

    Schools should not necessarily "promote" a view, but they should promote discussion. I just led two classes of tenth grade learning support students in a research project on capital punishment. They actively engaged themselves in finding information on women and the death penalty, teenagers and the death penalty, statistics by state, information on those killed, innocent victims, the stories of the victims, and other aspects. This look at our world interests students.

    Most important, acknowledging viewpoints, religions, philosophies and realities show students that it is okay to be who you are, and that talking about issues is a viable way to discover the world, instead of doing it all yourself.

    [I guess this is the topic for another thread . . . seeing if there is any response, I'll create another one.]
     
  39. TeacherGrl7

    TeacherGrl7 Devotee

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    GardenDove, I would never have entered this profession if I had lived during those times. As much as I love teaching and have always loved it, I absolutely couldn't live with such restrictions put on me by my job. I have a hard enough time with the small restrictions I feel now!!!
     
  40. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    True, but put them into context. Those were the social norms of the times; I'm sure that most made complete sense to the people living then.
     
  41. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

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    I agree. It wouldn't have seemed strange at the time.
     

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