Forced to Resign Due to Social Media

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Sarahkjt09, Dec 22, 2016.

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  1. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I've had students as young as 13 express gender identity questions. So why they may not have actively started the transition process, they certainly may be in early stages.
     
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  2. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Then those coworkers are idiots. Is there any reason why anyone would think the OP wasn't a good teacher just because she calls out whiny adults?

    Heck, I've taught some BAD people. One student was awaiting trial for killing another student at our school. Yet I was still able to provide a fair and equitable education to him. Because I'm a professional. Even if the OP disagrees with the politics of her students, why would you assume/imply that she couldn't teach them well?

    And your last line? Not cool.
     
  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I don't know of any social media clause in our contract, but our secretary said we'd get fired if we friended a student on social media. I don't know if it's even true, or if she knows what she's talking about, it came up in a conversation. It was not important anyways, because I would never have a student as a FB friend, but now I wonder if we do have such policy and where would I find it. Because I don't remember seeing it anywhere.
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I guess the positive in this situation is that you will land on your feet at (hopefully) a better school and you have realized that nothing people post on the internet is private.

    As Judge Milan says quite often on her program, "Say it, forget it. Write it, regret it."
     
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  5. Sarahkjt09

    Sarahkjt09 Rookie

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    And I would never say anything about their or anyone else's lifestyle in class. Never.
     
  6. Sarahkjt09

    Sarahkjt09 Rookie

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    Yes, definitely learned this lesson. FB is closed and will never be resurrected.
     
  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I think a person can definitely separate his or her religious, political or moral issues and teach children neutrally. It doesn't happen with everyone, and a person has to make an effort, but it can happen easier than people would think.
    When you teach in a lock up, for example, you ignore your own opinion of these "criminals" and tech them as the children they are. It wasn't hard.
    I have a student who is clearly a narcissist (or going to become, no doubt about it) with sociopathic tendencies, and I was mortified when I found out (he basically answered a few questions that were supposed to bring out empathy, etc, and he showed he clearly had none). But, I can put my opinion away and teach him the same as anyone else, not pick on him or discipline him in any different way.
     
  8. Teachertimes

    Teachertimes Rookie

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    But that may not make a coworker feel safe around someone who openly expressed negative opinions about these issues. The other teachers have a right to feel safe as well. It sucks but lesson learned don't friend coworkers and don't put opinions like that on social media platforms.
     
  9. Sarahkjt09

    Sarahkjt09 Rookie

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    Oh Lord, are you saying they need a safe space to deal with opinions they may not agree with?
     
  10. Teachertimes

    Teachertimes Rookie

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    I'm saying if a coworker is talking trash about something a person can't control, yea it may not make them feel safe, if I was a transgender person and a coworker was venting their opinion about it negatively I probably wouldn't want to work with them. Don't want to get fired for your opinions? Keep them to yourself and off of social media. You may have a hard time finding another job because honestly people talk. Principals talk to other principals, even in other districts and counties.
     
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  11. Teachertimes

    Teachertimes Rookie

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    And yea people have a right to feel safe at work and not like a coworker might attack them for who they are.
     
  12. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    This is a good example why everyone, and I mean EVERYONE should assume that there are social media clauses in your contracts. And even if there aren't, expect to be reprimanded anyway if you make you social media visible to anyone outside of your closest non-work friends and family. I know some people were commenting on how this only works one way (in favor of liberal views), but remember it was only a few years ago that we were having teachers and principals being fired for being gay. And it still happens in Christian schools. I make mine private because I know that there are very conservative teachers and principals at my school and I'd rather not risk being fired for my views.
     
  13. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I see what you're getting at, but a Facebook post does not necessarily mean a legitimately hostile work environment. If they have a social media policy she broke, that's that, but it would be a can of worms if a few opinions mentioned and nothing more qualified as harrasment. Our SPED teacher passionately hates Mormons. She brings it up on social media all the time. She doesn't let it affect her professional life. Should her having an opinion allow for other teachers say "they don't feel safe so she should be fired"? When she has yet to target anyone personally or really do anything but post on social media? How is an opinion making the work place hostile if the opinion doesn't happen at the place of work?

    I suggest looking at hostile work environment law.
     
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  14. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    What about the OP's rights and feelings then? Why do they get to have a safe space at work but she doesn't?
     
  15. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I'm kind of surprised your district / school doesn't have a written social media policy. That is something you might have asked to see and discuss, but since the resignation is a done deal, is a moot point.

    On a side note, thank you to those who are keeping politics and ideology out of this as much as we can while focusing on the topic of social media / personal expression.
     
  16. Teachertimes

    Teachertimes Rookie

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    I'm not saying it was why she was fired. I was stating more so why I can see someone reporting her to admin for her comments if they felt attacked or unsafe.

    Being fired seems like it was solely for violating policy. I think had she been tenured she may have had more options.

    OP if you are hired at another school in the same district will your previous years count towards tenure?
     
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  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nope. I have never promoted teachers spying on teachers. I have, in fact, strongly advocated against that time and time again when the issue has arisen at my own school. The fact here is that the OP put it all out there and it clearly upset some people. There is no "spying" when everything is out in the open, freely available for public consumption, interpretation, and reaction.

    I don't know that the OP has been fair before. Perhaps the OP has had previous issues with treatment of students and coworkers who have beliefs or "lifestyles" s/he doesn't support. Perhaps this is one more incident on a stack of many similar incidents. Perhaps it's not. I have no idea. What I do know is that whatever OP posted was egregious enough to get someone riled up enough to make it a school-related issue. That makes me think that there was some concern that OP's beliefs would impact or have already impacted or are currently impacting her ability to teach and reach all her students. The OP already stated that the post was "inflammatory". Well, people became inflamed. Mission accomplished.

    I'd be curious to see the actual post itself.
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I am actually pretty tolerant, at least when it comes to people who have rational opinions.

    I have never advocated destroying anyone's career. What I said was that it's entirely possible (and likely, in my opinion), that your comments caused one of your coworkers to believe that you couldn't separate your personal feelings from your professional obligations. When the issue was raised with your admin, you were apparently unable to persuade your administration that you could keep those things separate. That's on you.

    I've always told new teachers this: never give them a reason to ding you. When it comes to your evaluations and whatnot, always make sure that you make it easy for them to give you high marks. Don't hand them a reason to give you low marks. This post you made, however dumb or temporary, was evidently enough for them to ding you. It seems that whatever previous good evals or credits or benefits of the doubt you had built up over time were not enough to outweigh whatever was in that post and the bad judgment it took to make it.
     
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  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I've also taught some bad people. I understand what it takes to compartmentalize personal feelings and professional obligations. My suggestion here was that perhaps the OP didn't. I think that's a pretty reasonable possibility here, given that she was ultimately let go over the situation. Most administrators would be willing to give a pass to an otherwise exemplary teacher who made one bad call. Either this was not the only bad call that the OP made, or it was an exceptionally bad call. (Or it ended up in the news. In my district, it's generally understood that if the news hears about whatever is going on, you're out.)

    Sorry if my last line struck a nerve. It was really just a general statement for the OP to reflect upon.

    If you need me, I'll be over here just blocking out the haters.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Listen you work in a public school, you have to comport yourself accordingly, whether you like it or not. Sorry. If you want a "safe space," you are free to seek employment at a PRIVATE school with like minded folk who will 100% support you and your opinions.

    "I let loose on FB. I posted a pretty inflammatory statement where I ripped on the social justice warriors. Referenced the absurdity of their talking points (trans bathrooms, sanctuary cities, illegals on food stamps). At the end of the day, I pretty much just summed up my opinion about Trump's win - people fed up with the PC bull and the lousy economy"

    THESE are the people who work in and attend public schools, so therefore you attacked the community that you're supposed to serve. And what's "absurd" for you, is their reality!
    And truthfully, this is a forum where again we only get ONE side of the story. How do we know if these opinions didn't somehow influence the way the person teaches or interacts with students (or colleagues)? Who is to say it was JUST a FB post that was the catalyst? The teacher may have made an off- hand comment to another teacher where someone else over heard? It's not that far-fetched. The FB post may have just been the nail in the coffin and the tangible proof.
    If a person was racist, could they be a great teacher? Sure, but would they be able to keep it in if they worked in an inner - city school? Who knows? And even if they weren't OVERTLY expressive, they could do little things that would show their prejudice and the students would pick up on it. We don't know this teacher, and I won't take his (or her) word for it. Sorry.
    I've been around some very conservative teachers who were NOT tolerant of the students' diversities and on the opposite side of the coin, I've talked with people who have had super liberal teachers who didn't respect their conservative/ religious leanings either. Extremism goes both ways.

    If you want to teach in a PUBLIC school, where you represent EVERYBODY, you have to play by their rules. Otherwise, find a conservative - leaning private school to fulfill your needs. You don't really have "freedom of speech" in this situation. Would you openly wear that on a t-shirt and walk around the school in it? No. And this is why I don't have colleagues as friends on FB and am very careful about what I post. I don't even let people write on my wall and approve ALL tagged comments for these reasons. You never know what can get you into trouble. I've been there myself and don't plan on going there ever again.
     
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  21. Secondary Teach

    Secondary Teach Companion

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    While I do have sympathy for your situation if what you're saying is true- I do find the above statement to be falsified. A union would not stand behind such a teacher's action like what you've stated above. Tenure or no tenure, with video evidence on camera that teacher would've been arrested. That statement you made above makes me question whether you're being completely truthful or are holding something back and not telling us. Like others have mentioned in this thread, you mave had a pattern of making these comments and it just so happens you were caught this time. Sorry, a one time FB rant is excusable imo but not a pattern of these comments.
    :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
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  22. Sarahkjt09

    Sarahkjt09 Rookie

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    Being totally honest. I can post the video if you'd like. It was my classroom and students were filming using chromebooks. It went away because he was tenured.
     
  23. Secondary Teach

    Secondary Teach Companion

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    Oh, that's terrible then. It may be best that you are seeking a new school. I wouldn't want to work for a district like that. Sorry for my above post.
    :)
     
  24. Sarahkjt09

    Sarahkjt09 Rookie

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    My district is not allowed to say anything per separation agreement. I could sue them if they did. Seriously doubt they would want to risk it. Do you live inside a bubble? People do not always agree with each other. Opinions are not a danger to anyone. Lol.
     
  25. Sarahkjt09

    Sarahkjt09 Rookie

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    So you also got in trouble?
     
  26. Sarahkjt09

    Sarahkjt09 Rookie

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    Did not end up in the news. In fact, they gave me disability and unemployment and a separation agreement. They wanted it to go away. I think one teacher made a stink and she probably threatened to spread it. I really do not think they wanted to fire me. I've never been in trouble and have always been rated highly effective.
     
  27. Teachertimes

    Teachertimes Rookie

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    Bubble ha no. I live in a very big city. I'm able to disagree without throwing tantrums on Facebook.
     
  28. Sarahkjt09

    Sarahkjt09 Rookie

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    My FB was private. I was connected to about 20 colleagues, no parent and no students obviously. This was a perfect example of one teacher taking down another, plain and simple. Some teachers are immature, insecure and back stabbing. I've always said if a strong union goes down, it'll be because members turn on each other.
     
  29. Teachertimes

    Teachertimes Rookie

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    I also care more about people and their feelings than I do about spreading my opinion.
     
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  30. Teachertimes

    Teachertimes Rookie

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    Haha funny I'm probably much older than you. I'm old enough to realize I like my job more than spreading my opinion.
     
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  31. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Again, I am imploring ALL POSTERS to refrain from name-calling and the sort.
     
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  32. Teachertimes

    Teachertimes Rookie

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    I already stated it doesn't matter what side of the issues you are on. I haven't stated my opinion so you have no idea whether we have the some political ideals or not. If you made an inflammatory post about Trump supporters I would stand by my statement.

    You are asking how old I am and calling me names. Maybe you should take this as an opportunity to be reflective about effective ways to disagree. Never did I call you names or feel the need to question your age or maturity. I'm plenty old enough and the mother of three children. I am the last person to be a special snowflake, I am however compassionate and empathetic to everyone. Even if I disagree with them. I think it sucks that you unfortunately had to learn that the hard way and that your livelihood and career have been compromised.
     
  33. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Oh yeah. I have a knack for opening my big mouth and pissing people off... my boss included... so I have been under the gun a few times. People REALLY don't like when you share an opinion that differs from theirs I've found.
     
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  34. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    Actually, I've found people are generally willing to consider differing opinions when they are shared thoughtfully and reasonably. People are usually more offended by tone and demeanor than by content.
     
  35. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    this is true of some people. Reasonable people. Unfortunately, not all are reasonable.

    I've found that group think can be very dangerous in situations like this. The more of an echo chamber you have in an area, the louder and more obnoxious people can get. Then people become less and less reasonable until someone snaps. Usually the person that snaps is the one that holds the lone, dissenting opinion.

    I've also found that tolerance goes right out the window when there is a loud, majority opinion.
     
  36. McGonagall

    McGonagall Rookie

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    I'm sorry that you find yourself unemployed. I sympathize with your situation. I find it disheartening that a colleague would take a personal rant and use it against their own coworker in a vindictive manner. However, if there was a social media clause in your contract, I cannot really say that your district was in the wrong to have let you go.

    The fact is this: you must maintain a professional demeanor in your social media just as you would in your career. Would you have said those things in the classroom? Would you have said them at a work party? Would you have said those things - in the EXACT manner that you said them - at any social gathering? Probably not, judging by the fact that you deleted it after 45 minutes. You had the good sense to recognize that you crossed a line.

    Freedom of speech is not without consequence, which you are now seeing. I have read through this thread and found myself shaking my head a few times at several comments... but, of course, you are as entitled to your opinion as I am to mine. I will leave it with this:

    What many of your "bleeding heart liberals" and "social justice warriors" are worried about under the Trump administration has very little do do with partisan politics and everything to do with human beings caring about other human beings. While there are extreme cases on both sides of the political line, most rational citizens find commonality in the following fear: that Trump and his extreme, unconscionable views are a threat to the very freedom of speech that you cling to, and a threat to the basic human rights and dignities that we Americans are given by our constitution.

    By taking a job in the public education system, you are vowing to protect and support the bulk of our population: the students whose views will differ from yours, who rely on their teachers for a successful future, and who often are loved only in those meager 8 hours that they walk through your classroom door. I am not, by any means, implying that you do not care for your students. I'm sure you do. I also feel comfortable saying that you likely do not show any bias towards your students for their personal lives. However, by supporting a regime that, through its platform, degrades the value of individual human lives, you are not supporting your students and colleagues in a way that they, in turn, can support your employment.

    You may feel more comfortable in private school, and I implore you to seek out that option. Your LGBTQ, female, POC and immigrant students will continue to move through the education system and find teachers who can support all of them - not just the idea of them. I know that it is difficult to look outside ourselves and see viewpoints that conflict with our own. I am certainly not perfect.

    Good luck on your job search. I wish you the best of luck.
     
  37. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    This thread is now closed and offensive comments have been moderated.
     
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