Rights and wrong: Using Facebook to defame teachers

Facebook.0607 (Medium)As many of you predicted, a Douglas County middle school has backed off plans to suspend three students for Facebook postings because of the privacy issues implicated by the principal’s actions in forcing one of the students to log on to the social network at school and show her the postings calling a teacher a “pedophile” and a “rapist.”

And as many of you also predicted, the parents are considering suing. They ought to be grateful, not litigious.

If these were my kids, I would tell them that they got a break this time, that they are walking away from a dangerous mistake that in the future could cost their jobs.

I would tell them that they attempted to ruin someone’s good name for kicks and that is a sign that they are immature children and that I will now have to treat them as such, no phone, no computer, no parties, no movies. At least one of the parents has taken some of those actions, but I wonder if the reprimand will be undermined by the parents’ thoughts of going to court against the school system.

A court case against Douglas County schools would keep this story in the news,  and I think these adolescents would not benefit from more attention to their terrible behavior. It does not serve them well. The law may be on their side, but the public will not be.

Most people will not think it’s the school system that needs the real lesson here.

According to the AJC:

The students, who called a teacher at Chapel Hill Middle School in Douglas County a “pedophile” and a “rapist” in online posts last month, will return to school Tuesday after a two-week suspension, said William Lambert, Jr., one of the parents.

The kids had faced re-assignment to a school for troubled youths for at least the rest of the semester. But earlier this week the Douglas school system canceled the tribunal hearing that had been scheduled for Thursday morning.

Lambert and the parents of the other two children contend that school principal Jolene Morris violated the students’ privacy. They said Morris forced one of the children, 13-year-old Alejandra Sosa,  to log onto her Facebook account at school so the principal could read what the girl and her friends had written.

“The bottom line is the principal was wrong and somebody told her that,” said Lambert. He said Morris called him Monday to tell him the tribunal had been canceled, but offered no explanation.

A Douglas County schools spokeswoman confirmed last week that a hearing involving three unidentified children and Facebook posts was to occur Thursday. But when asked Thursday about the cancellation of that hearing, the spokeswoman, Karen Stroud, said she could no longer talk about the case because of the media coverage. The names of the children had been published and Stroud said she was bound by federal privacy laws regarding disciplinary actions.

In an interview last week, Stroud said the three students were accused of a “level one” offense, the worst possible under school system code, which prohibits “falsifying, misrepresenting, omitting, or erroneously reporting” allegations of inappropriate behavior by a school employee toward a student.

Alejandra, in an interview with her mother, Maria Sosa, said last week that Morris ordered her to log onto her Facebook account on a library computer. She said the principal then read that Alejandra had called one of her teachers a “pedophile.” The principal then read posts by other children, according to Alejandra. That’s where she saw that 12-year-old William Lambert III had called the same teacher a rapist, according to the boy’s father.

Stephanie Lamb, the mother of Taylor Tindle, 12, also said that is where the principal read that Taylor had called the teacher a pedophile.

All three parents said their children had behaved badly, but they also said the punishment was too severe and that their kids were studious, earning As and Bs, and otherwise well-behaved. Lamb said expulsion to the county’s “alternative” school would expose her daughter to gangs and drugs.

The three parents banded together and hired a lawyer.

Lambert said the school system’s decision to relent on the threatened expulsion has not altered his desire to go to court. “We’re considering at least going to federal, saying our rights were violated,” he said.

Lambert, the parent of the boy who called a Chapel Hill teacher a rapist on Facebook, said clear rules are needed. He said he had a talk with his son about the damage one can inflict with words, then took his cell phone and video games as punishment. He also asked his daughter to disable her little brother’s Facebook account.

But Lambert said there is no way “to police it 100 percent” because of the anonymity of the Internet and the ubiquity of computers outside the home — and away from parents’ view.

“If they think their child doesn’t have Facebook they have a rude awakening because you can put a Facebook account under any name,” Lambert said. “This is not over. Facebook is growing.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

109 comments Add your comment

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

March 11th, 2011
8:06 am

Elizabeth,

A friend who is a noted civil rights attorney has reminded me that “an unasserted right is no right at all.”

We teachers would do well to remember this and to follow the advice of IPB about seeking legal counsel when one of us thinks that s/he has been wronged.

By the way, I hope the GAE and PAGE attorneys are more proficient than the one I contacted about a personnel issue some years ago.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

March 11th, 2011
8:35 am

Speaking of GAE and PAGE, when was the last time that one of them filed a lawsuit alleging the maintenance of a hostile work environment against a school system where instructional disruption and other forms of teacher disrespect were widespread?

one on you

March 11th, 2011
8:49 am

@Dr. No. I just posted something about you on Facebook that can ruin your career. Betcha can’t guess what.

j4a

March 11th, 2011
9:12 am

I believe that the parent’s should have been contacted immediately ( by principal) before even speaking to these children or forcing the child to log onto FB. I also believe the parent’s should have their children make a public apology (on FB) to this teacher for all to see.

Philosopher

March 11th, 2011
9:17 am

I doubt that anyone would argue that these children were absolutely wrong and their behavior reprehensible and deserving of serious consequences. But what I object to is the handling of it by the principle. If the principle got wind of such hideous slander then the parents should have been contacted first. The principle allowed her position of power and her emotions rule her action…Forcing someone to open his/her FaceBook account for you to read is also wrong! Period. It was blatant bullying. Even a taped phone conversation used as evidence must be subpoenaed, the suspect is not forced to present evidence against himself. ……was she too afraid to call the parents? Or did she just want to be involved in something big and juicy? Even if she could not get cooperation from the parents, it was incumbent on her to attempt to investigate in some other manner than the one she chose.

William Casey

March 11th, 2011
9:20 am

I can’t wait until those parents are sued by their own children. It will happen. I’m glad I’m not them!

one on you

March 11th, 2011
9:21 am

The previous post was a simulation. It is really that simple to trash someone’s job and relationships by posting on Facebook where hundreds of millions of people can read what you write, if you want to let them. The more outrageous, the more engaging for the online voyeurs who look for dirt on people they know. Since Facebook has begun selling address and telephone information of its members, and requires you to share your gmail contact list for logging in to certain sites (often for posting comments), there IS NO PRIVACY. It isn’t being a whiny baby to be concerned about your professional reputation – that is why slander and libel laws were invented, because REAL DOLLARS are being lost from falsely being accused.

Philosopher

March 11th, 2011
9:22 am

correction, principal- need that second cup this morning!

one on you

March 11th, 2011
9:23 am

@ Philosopher. Don’t you think the principal had a responsibility to check that the accusation (that a malicious slander was posted) before contacting the parents? What would have been the parents’ reaction if there were no actual post, or it really said, Ms. SoNSo is a “pain in the a$$” rather than what it actually said?

First Amendment Lawyer

March 11th, 2011
9:23 am

I haven’t read all of the comments, just the blog post.

In quick answer to whether the teacher can sue the kids for libel:

(1) The fact that this was a “private” facebook account doesn’t prevent that. You can be sued for defamation for making a comment to ONE person. If the defamation goes no further, then likely the damages won’t be as high (though, of course, if that one person was an employer or someone else with a lot of power over the defamed person, damages could be high). But it’s still defamation, and you can still sue, even if it’s for a dollar.

(2) I haven’t seen the facebook posts, but my GUESS would be that they weren’t actually “accusations” of criminal activity. Seriously, people, if you overhear your neighbor’s 12-year-old saying, “man, that teacher is such a jerk – he F***s his mother in an outhouse”, would you think that was actually an “accusation” of incest? No. http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/hustler.html Even if the 12-year-old says, “man, that teacher is such a jerk – god, I hate him, what a rapist”, do you really think the 12-year-old is claiming the teacher is actually, literally, guilty of criminal sexual assault? I doubt it. It’s crude language; it’s extremely rude language. It’s extremely stupid to say that, even in an obviously joking way, about someone who is, effectively, your boss (teacher holds huge power over students, generally uncabined by objective standards). But it’s not defamation unless the people reading the Facebook post reasonably understood the post to be actually claiming, as a factual matter, that the teacher had raped someone. Interesting query: when the principal found out about these posts, did she call child protective services and the police, as she would have been required to do if she believed there were “allegations” of child abuse? Did she put the teacher on paid leave and start an investigation in the truth of the “allegations”? If not, it’s because she in fact DID understand the difference between a child calling a teacher names in private to his friend, and a child alleging a criminal sexual assault.

Philosopher

March 11th, 2011
9:25 am

@one on you-I said contact the parents…I didn’t say accuse the children to the parents. The investigation should have been handled professionally FIRST- the principal did not have the right to FORCE a child to show her his/her Face Book page.

A Conservative Voice

March 11th, 2011
9:26 am

@Article – They said Morris forced one of the children, 13-year-old Alejandra Sosa, to log onto her Facebook account at school so the principal could read what the girl and her friends had written.

This is kidnapping and forcing someone to do something against their will…….I’ll agree, this person should not have written what she did; however, this is a privacy issue and Morris “should” be sued for her over zealous actions. Whatta we gonna have next?…….schools reading their students e-mails (or do they even use e-mail anymore? I don’t know) to see if there’s any thing malicious there? If we don’t watch out people, all of our rights are gonna be taken away.

Lee

March 11th, 2011
9:34 am

@First Amendment Lawyer, hopefully, you can answer the following questions:

1. Can a minor be sued for a civil infraction such as libel/slander?

2. Can the parents be sued for the actions of their children in a civil case such as this?

3. If the answer to the above questions is no, then what legal recourse is available to the teacher(s)_who were slandered?

William Casey

March 11th, 2011
9:35 am

The long-term issue of the disrespect for teachers currently prevalent: who will be the teachers of the future? Teaching was a “calling” for me. I’d think twice about answering that call in today’s school environment.

Philosopher

March 11th, 2011
9:39 am

As for setting examples for kids…here’s what could be learned from this: Boy, did I screw up and paid for it with a 2 week suspension, embarrassment, fear, public humiliation (hey…that teacher I slandered must have felt even worse than this!) It was definitely wrong and I will never do THAT again. Also, the principal did things she shouldn’t have done and my parents are going to show me how to stand up against a bully and protect my rights.
Assuming that the kids just feel wronged and that they are getting off “Scott-free” and that their behaviors are condoned by the parents is based on some seriously jaded bias. And name-calling is name calling and wrong, period. I’ve heard children in this blog called some pretty disgusting things…it wouldn’t be possible that kids get this attitude and speech from their adult role models, would it?

Cindy B

March 11th, 2011
10:24 am

@ Conservative Voice, March 11th, 2011, 9:26 am

Or put another way, it would be like a teacher forcing a student to write 100 times “I will not post nasty accusations on Facebook” or making them write their times tables 100 times or, heaven forbid, making them read a book they didn’t want to. I’m pretty sure teachers and principals are allowed to make students do stuff they don’t want to do all the time. Can you imagine any learning taking place were they not allowed to do so?

And as the attorney above pointed out, it is not a privacy issue. It is not even a civil or criminal issue. The rules that govern student behavior are in the student handbook, which both student and parents sign accepting responsibility for following those rules. And, yes, it does cover electronic transmissions off campus. And the punishment for said offense published in the handbook is up to and including expulsion, with the right of the parents to be heard before a tribunal, which they were given that choice. No one at the school overstepped their authority. The purpose of having the kid access her Facebook page was to take down the offensive posts. Of course, with role models like Charlie Sheen, it’s no wonder kids these days think they can get away with calling their boss/teacher fowl names without any consequences.

I hope someone tells the parents that it also states in the handbook that students are responsible for any loss the school system incurs as a result of their misconduct.

counterpoint

March 11th, 2011
10:31 am

“She contacted and lawyer and was told that yes she could sue for libel.”

Of course she “could” sue for libel, what lawyer is going to tell you NO!

counterpoint

March 11th, 2011
10:35 am

“Of course, with role models like Charlie Sheen, it’s no wonder kids these days think they can get away with calling their boss/teacher fowl names without any consequences”

All a student has to do is come HERE and look at the comments regarding students or your role model / poster child in Natalie Munroe. Students learn from ALL adults.

Philosopher

March 11th, 2011
10:41 am

Apples and oranges- sorry, but requiring a child write something 100 times or read a book is not at all like forcing a child to reveal personal communication – not at all, no matter how wrong that communication is. And to imply that Charlie Sheen is a role model to these kids is a mean, dirty tactic and a fallacious argument. Lessons can be taught without stooping to to the same level as the child’s shameful behaviors. Is disciplining and teaching the children a necessary lesson not the most important goal here…or is it really about slamming parents and their kids?

Tad Jackson

March 11th, 2011
10:46 am

When we got a mean and nasty back in the pre-tech days, one of my favorite teachers would calm us down by suddenly giving pop quizzes every day. Every day for about two weeks. Old school teacher revenge … and it did the quick trick. No lawyers had to get all involved, and it was also an opportunity, for those who figured out what the heck was going on, to learn something and improve yer grade!

http://www.adixiedairy.com

The same topic for all Weekend?

March 11th, 2011
10:46 am

Is this going to be the same topic for the whole weekend??? Maureen — you deserve a break, but you have spoiled us. Ms. Wallace, Give her a raise. This is the blog that just keeps on giving!!!

j4a

March 11th, 2011
10:49 am

Read over some of these posts and I think it will become clear to all why children are becoming more aggressive. Are we role models teaching children to handle aggressiveness with counter aggressiveness? Are we teaching children to handle violence by becoming violent themselves? Hmm… I wonder where children have learned name calling?

The President formerly known as Dr NO...

March 11th, 2011
11:06 am

Im receiving reports that the tsunami that hit Hawaii has destroyed Obamas birth certificate.

j4a

March 11th, 2011
11:07 am

Enter your comments here

A Conservative Voice

March 11th, 2011
11:29 am

@Cindy B

March 11th, 2011
10:24 am
@ Conservative Voice, March 11th, 2011, 9:26 am

Or put another way, it would be like a teacher forcing a student to write 100 times “I will not post nasty accusations on Facebook” or making them write their times tables 100 times or, heaven forbid, making them read a book they didn’t want to.

Cindy B. – That’s a stretch. I am in no way condoning the actions of this child; however, that principal had no right to force that child to do what she was forced to do…..”forced” being the “key” word here. That is outside the schools area of influence. “This is a privacy issue…….” The Supreme Court just ruled in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church. I don’t agree with what this church was doing either, but I agree with their right to do it……they have first amendment rights to do it. Hey, people call me names all the time…..so what? I know at least half of ‘em aren’t true :)

catlady

March 11th, 2011
11:41 am

Philospher: What about taking up notes being passed in class?

The President formerly: I hear the tsunami hit Alabama and wiped out Bush’s “service” records.

Philosopher

March 11th, 2011
11:56 am

Again, apples and oranges. A note passed in class is done in the open and inside the classroom in the presence of the teacher…by all means, appropriate the note. Reading the would be wrong, although I have certainly seen many times a teacher not only read it, but read it out loud. This situation is more like someone told the teacher that Suzy had a note in her purse and the teacher forced Suzy to open her purse, open the note and show it to the teacher…absolutely WRONG!

The President formerly known as Dr NO...

March 11th, 2011
12:08 pm

“The President formerly: I hear the tsunami hit Alabama and wiped out Bush’s “service” records.”

That may have been funny if tsunamis hit AL.

Economics Teacher

March 11th, 2011
12:24 pm

What about taking a phone from a student and then looking at his/her messages? I know teachers who have done this. I also know of one student who got in a lot of trouble because of a picture that he had on his phone. His teacher confiscated his phone then looked through it and that is how the illegal picture was found out.

As a society, we need to come to an agreement about whether these things are in the jurisdiction of the school or not. It seems to me, right now we want it both ways. We want the schools to police these students with their technology and we also want them to butt out. You can’t have it both ways.

Caveat Provider

March 11th, 2011
12:46 pm

There are a number of remedies the teacher could pursue. First, if the teacher experienced psychological distress as a result of this (which is often the case in First Amendment cases in which students “flame” teachers on the Internet – for example, see J.S. v. Bethlehem Area School District, 807 A.2d 803 (Pa. 2002)), the teacher could seek to recover against the parents under O.C.G.A 51-2-3 (Every parent or guardian having the custody and control over a minor child or children under the age of 18 shall be liable in an amount not to exceed $10,000.00 plus court costs for the willful or malicious acts of the minor child or children resulting in reasonable medical expenses to another, damage to the property of another, or both reasonable medical expenses and damage to property).

Second, and while I agree with the challenges articulated by First Amendment lawyer (and thanks for elevating the discussion, by the way), the teacher could file a libel claim arguing that this was particularly harmful given that the accusations were (1) sexual crimes against children; (2) made against a school teacher, whose reputations are particularly susceptible to such accusations; and (3) made by two (2) students under that teacher’s care. Teachers have had some success with such arguments – particularly given the enduring nature of Internet postings and the accompanying publicity.

The teacher might then advance an argument that – notwithstanding O.C.G.A. 51-2-3 – the parents have their own liability for providing their children with a potentially dangerous instrumentality without exercising appropriate supervision. While perhaps laughable ten years ago, given the national epidemic of cyberbullying, under the right facts, a sympathetic jury might find that providing a 12 and 13-year-old unsupervised and unregulated access to the Internet was reckless – particularly if both children lied about their age in setting up Facebook accounts and their parents knew of it. This line of questioning could provide interesting results – is your child’s computer in his or her bedroom? Does he or she have passwords you do not know? Have you ever caught your child visiting inappropriate websites? Are you at all concerned that you have given your child unrestricted and unsupervised access to the world’s largest library of pornography? Etc.

This is not a teacher without legal remedies. However, whether they should be pursued may depend on whether the teacher believes the parents are taking appropriate action to ensure (1) that their students appreciate the gravity of their offenses; (2) whether those parental actions are sufficient to deter such conduct in the future; and (3) whether the teacher has suffered actual harm.

Sadly, the increasing number of student Internet abuse cases is demonstrating that computers very much can be dangerous instrumentalities when used inappropriately. Parents should not provide their child with a computer, privacy and Internet access without appropriate training in Netiquette and appropriate appreciation of the potential consequences of their actions – for themselves and others. Sadly, parents who would never consider pitching their child the keys to their car without months of driving lessons or allowing their child to touch a firearm without a safety course are often not exercising a commensurate level of parental caution before providing their tween or teen with a device that allows him or her to “publish” any statement he or she desires to a larger audience than the New York Times – and often with horrific consequences to other people’s children.

And Maureen, your consequences caution is particularly well stated. Unfortunately, the most likely consequence of this for these students will not come for another five to six years, and they will never know why they were denied admission to a highly selective university despite having “great” test scores or not hired by a particular employer.

Are these parents “negligent” or “bad” parents? Perhaps not. Maybe they just lack understanding. However, as a parent of a thirteen-year-old, I do very much differ with him on one point – you can make reasonable efforts to police your children’s Internet use and accessibility. I do hope the father reconsiders and does not file a federal lawsuit for vindication of his child’s “rights.” In the hopes that he is reading this, sir, your twelve-year-old son falsely called his teacher a rapist on a website that he accessed by lying about his age and on a computer you provided him without apparently any supervision. I believe that by pursuing this, you may further induce the teacher to consider filing a state lawsuit against you. With respect, I do not believe that a Douglas County jury will be sympathetic to your cause.

Philosopher

March 11th, 2011
12:53 pm

I personally NEVER wanted the school to “police” my child’s private communications- If my child has a phone, I pod, or anything else she shouldn’t have out or on in school, I expect it to be taken away PERIOD. No teacher snooping, no one teaching my child that invasion of private property without a subpoena, even by a bully, is OK. Call me, I will deal with it…but acting on a report by someone by FORCING a child to reveal personal and private thoughts, just because he/she THINKS the kid has written something horrible, is WRONG…horribly WRONG and a gross misuse of authority!

fedup

March 11th, 2011
1:00 pm

Trotter….where are you????

Lyla Singfield

March 11th, 2011
1:34 pm

Children have no rights. That is the problem. It is beyond annoyting that parents jump to the defense of a child that has done something wrong. And it is crazy to think that principals and teachers will read their students’ emails. The only thing they want to do is teach, and maintain order.

What's Best for Kids?

March 11th, 2011
1:48 pm

Philosopher,
What about a student who uses his or her cell phone to cheat? We have proof on the phone. Are we allowed to use it then? Or do we have to call mommy and daddy and ask permission? Some parents will say yes. Others will say no and demand a different test (at a later date) because their precious child was falsely accused?
Kids use their cell phones to cheat. How do we prove it without looking through the phone? To be honest, I could care less what they are doing on their own time, but if they use it to cheat? What then?

Philosopher

March 11th, 2011
1:56 pm

If a child has a cellphone in use and you know it- take it away! If you truly suspect cheating, report it to your principal and to the child’s parents-…end of your authority until a decision is made.
There are very clear rules about the use of cellphones in schools…they may not be used…period and if you know they are being used, why are you not acting on it?
“Children have no rights”??? Whoa! That attitude why DFACS was created…

What's Best for Kids?

March 11th, 2011
2:48 pm

Philosopher,
I didn’t say kids don’t have rights. It is very clear that you have not been in a school, though. If the phone is taken up, they get a warning. Then they get detention. Then they get a Saturday school. Then In School Suspension, then Out of School Suspension, and THEN the community says that our discipline is too draconian, when PARENTS should be the ones keeping the children’s phone use in check.
Some refuse to give their phones to teachers at all, but that is another story all together.

counterpoint

March 11th, 2011
3:24 pm

“Children have no rights.”

… then they can do no wrong!

Philosopher

March 11th, 2011
3:31 pm

@What’s Best for Kids? The children have no rights was directed to Lyla Singfield, who said it- sorry if you thought I was responding to you. And if the rules are clear and you uphold the consequences as agreed to, why get defensive if you are labeled draconian? If you’re doing the right thing, no need to be defensive about it.

What's Best for Kids?

March 11th, 2011
3:48 pm

Again, Philospopher, you have not been in a school in a long time. Parents and students run the show and administrators and school boards run scared.
It is nothing to see students who text in the hallways and then are incredulous that I ask them for their phones.
But the point was that they are using these phones to cheat. I don’t need suspicion; I need proof of their cheating, and their phones are the proof. Having a cell phone out today is just like writing a note ten years ago. The teacher should take it up and if there is suspicion of wrong doing (cheating or something else that the parents need to know about) we should read it and take it up.

Lyla Singfield

March 11th, 2011
4:15 pm

The only rights that children have are: to be clothed, fed, provided with a proper education. They should be free from abuse and exploitation.

That’s it! All of this right to privacy, etc. is ridiculous. The same nonsense is why the two kids in Columbine were able to do what they did. Their parents didn’t want to “invade their privacy”.

Me

March 11th, 2011
4:29 pm

Lawyer. But did the other students know it was a false accusation?

Philosopher. Look up ‘In Loco Parentis’. The Principal was within her rights.

Philosopher

March 11th, 2011
5:09 pm

@ Lyla Singfield- Actually, most children who act out are products of parenting extremes: those who either neglect or over-control their children. Kids are a product of what they learn and if you show no respect for your children, they will have none for you, for others or for themselves…oh, you’ll control them alright, but you’ll have ineffective adults in the end…adults who expect to control others and do not know how to live with, work with, and adjusting to, the rest of the human race…so sad!

long time educator

March 11th, 2011
5:10 pm

If I were the teacher, I would first consult a lawyer, and with his/her advice, I would contact the parents because that is what I would want if I were the parent. As the teacher I would expect the parent to respond with shock and horror and say that the child would no longer have access to Facebook, except to write a very heartfelt apology and retraction of previous post. I would also expect a heartfelt apology in class under supervision of parent to classmates who knew about it and told me. Then I would expect parent to offer some appropriate consequence to student so that it NEVER happens again, like no more computer, phone, or grounding ,etc. Other students and guilty student must be made to understand he didn’t get away with it and it wasn’t cool. This is what I would offer if I were the parent. If parent did not respond .appropriately, then I the teacher would.pursue legal action to prevent further defamation of others. But I would give the parent a chance to do the right thing first.

Philosopher

March 11th, 2011
5:37 pm

@long time educator: Bless you!- Teachers like you are can affect lives in a big way and bring about change for the good in all of us!.

GA parent/teacher

March 11th, 2011
7:21 pm

How would these parents feel if these children called their own parents rapists and pedophiles on Facebook? I think that the teacher should definitely sue, and I hope he wins.

It is disgusting how much students get away with these days. They feel that they can say and do anything they want to and get away with it. Parents are to blame for kids being out of control.

just watching

March 11th, 2011
8:08 pm

If these parents ever sue, I certainly hope the judge for the case looks at it and says, “Are you f****ng kidding me?” and makes the parents pay any court costs for bringing a frivolous lawsuit. Insanity. Just plain insanity.

Enlightened

March 11th, 2011
10:44 pm

Two wrongs don’t make a right. If my kids are accountable, so are the adults involved. I’d tell my kids everything that Maureen said and punish them. Then I’d SUE THE PANTS OFF of the adults! That would be their punishment!!

Cobb History Teacher

March 12th, 2011
8:14 am

@Economics Teacher

“As a society, we need to come to an agreement about whether these things are in the jurisdiction of the school or not. It seems to me; right now we want it both ways. We want the schools to police these students with their technology and we also want them to butt out. You can’t have it both ways.”

Excellent points the mantra seems to be teach my children about sex, but don’t teach them morals or responsibility. Give my child free breakfast and free lunch but don’t hold me accountable for my financial decisions i.e. taking care of wants before needs. I find myself dealing with subjects and situations I never thought I’d have to deal with as a history teacher. I feel like we are asked to raise other people’s children until it comes to discipline. For the most part my kids are good but we have just enough of the bad to ruin things for all of them.

Mikey D

March 12th, 2011
8:32 am

@Enlightened-
Quite an ironic screen name, as you seem to be anything but…

A principal stood up for her teacher, who is the true victim in all of this. And folks like you are screaming “SUE!!!” This mindset is exactly what is wrong in our society today. A generation being raised with no accountability for anything.

Just saying

March 12th, 2011
9:56 am

As was noted in an earlier post, two wrongs do not make a right.

The children should be punished by their parents. The teacher should consult a lawyer to see if there is a viable legal case for libel.

That said, the principal was wrong to force a child to open a private, non-school related account without parental consent or a court order. This raises serious Fourth Amendment as well as First Amendment concerns.

Look at it this way – law enforcement officials searching for proof of really serious crimes could not compel a suspect to provide a password to a Facebook or email account. They would have to get a court order that would be presented to Facebook and/or the ISP in order to access the information.