Archive for the ‘Facebook’ Category

Teacher’s parting letter strikes a nerve with equally frustrated peers around the country

A letter penned by a retiring Syracuse, N.Y., social studies teacher is getting a lot of reaction since it hit the web this week.

Westhill High School teacher Jerry Conti sent this letter to the Board of Education. (He also posted it on his Facebook page, which is why so many people have read it and sent it around.)

Here it is:

It is with the deepest regret that I must retire at the close of this school year, ending my more than 27 years of service at Westhill on June 30, under the provisions of the 2012-15 contract. I assume that I will be eligible for any local or state incentives that may be offered prior to my date of actual retirement and I trust that I may return to the high school at some point as a substitute teacher.

As with Lincoln and Springfield, I have grown from a young to an old man here; my brother died while we were both employed here; my daughter was educated here, and I have been touched by and hope that I have touched hundreds of lives in my time here. I …

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In black and white: Segregated proms continue but students at Georgia school trying to make history with first integrated prom

The concept of segregated proms in the South shocked people when the AJC and other newspapers wrote about it a few years back. The first question from readers was how this could still be happening.

It happens because the proms are not officially school events, although a great deal of promoting and planning by students occurs within schools.  Since the proms are private parties held off campus without any school funds, schools disavow any control over the events, which are organized by parents and students and reflect historic and lingering racial divides.

In the news this week is an effort by students in Wilcox County High School to finally end the tradition there of segregated proms. Homecoming dances are also segregated there.

The teens are trying to raise money for an “Integrated Prom,” which would be the first ever in the rural Georgia county. They began a Facebook page yesterday to garner support. When I began this blog this morning, they had 300 “Likes.” They now have …

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Student: Put down that cell phone and pick up a book

Here is another student essay from a Rockdale Career Academy 10th grader. The assignment was “an argumentative essay about the fate of America’s intelligence.”  This essay is by student Alexis Chisman.

By Alexis Chisman

In the dictionary, the word evolution means a change in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation by such process as mutation, natural selection and genetic drift. According to this definition, human beings in the world today have already made a major leap in evolution, having a physical structure more advanced than our ancestors. We have also evolved technology, creating items that make our everyday lives more accommodating, but what may be making our lives easier is also causing the standards of education into a death spiral. The inhabitants of America are losing intelligence because technology is growing while test scores are dwindling.

How could the brainpower of United States citizens possibly be ebbing? Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg …

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Where do schools legally draw the line on online pranks, bullying and insults?

computer (Medium)A high school honor student in Pennsylvania created a parody MySpace profile for his principal that included such comments as “Birthday: too drunk to remember.”

Suspended by the school and banned from extracurricular activities, 17-year-old Justin Layshock and his parents sued on the grounds that his First Amendment rights were violated and won, including $10,000 in compensatory damages.

In its 2011 ruling upholding the student’s victory, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decreed, “It would be an unseemly and dangerous precedent to allow the state, in the guise of school authorities, to reach into a child’s home and control his/her actions there to the same extent that it can control that child when he/she participates in school-sponsored activities.” The court felt that the parody – circulated to a limited number of the student’s classmates — did not create a substantial disruption of the school.

A student in West Virginia did not fare as well in her legal …

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Fulton’s surprise bonuses: Do they create two classes of educators?

Fulton County is using surplus funds to award teacher bonuses this year, a move that ought to be cheered by the county’s teaching force. But the decision is proving divisive given the plan to award classroom teachers  $1,000 and those who “support teachers”  $500.

The school board voted last week to spend $9.4 million in surplus funds on employee bonuses to make up for missed raises.  Classroom teachers will receive $1,000. All other full-time employees in support roles and in central office will receive $500. See the AJC story here.

An educator who falls into the support category said she was unhappy with school chief Robert Avossa’s explanation for the disparity, an explanation that she felt denigrated her efforts, commitment and professionalism.

“Most of us would agree that in a school system, you have two groups of employees – teachers and those who support teachers,” said Dr. Avossa. “We value the contribution that every employee makes to our system, so everyone …

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Court rules against Ashley Payne in Facebook case. But more to come.

One of the Facebook photos that a "parent" complained about in an anonymous e-mail

One of the Facebook photos that a "parent" complained about in an anonymous e-mail

A Superior Court judge ruled against ex Barrow County teacher Ashley Payne, who resigned in 2009 after an anonymous e-mail was sent to the district complaining about her Facebook page. The case garnered international attention because of the role of the popular social media site in costing the young teacher her job.

Barrow had argued that Payne’s “writ of mandamus” — a judicial remedy to compel compel the system to restore her job –  should be dismissed for several reasons. Among them: Payne’s contract had already expired so her request to initiate Fair Dismissal Proceedings was void.

“The judge did grant Barrow’s motion for summary judgment on the mandamus claim, indicating that for technical reasons, mandamus is not available. However, all the other claims we made in our amended complaint are still pending,” said Payne Monday night in an e-mail.

The court decision was not …

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Facebook case two years later: Barrow teacher still waiting for decision

One of the Facebook photos that a "parent" complained about in an anonymous e-mail

One of the Facebook photos that a "parent" complained about in an anonymous e-mail

Not a week goes by when I don’t get an e-mail from somewhere around the world asking about the fate of Ashley Payne, the Barrow County teacher who lost her job two years ago after an anonymous e-mailer sent Facebook photos of her sipping wine and drinking beer in Europe.

While the case was in court last week, it remains unresolved. A decision is expected shortly but Payne’s attorney is not optimistic that she will regain her high school teaching position.

“Not yet. I don’t think it is happening,” said attorney Richard Storrs in a telephone interview today. “There is a new superintendent, and I was really hoping that this new superintendent would see things in such a way that we could move forward. But they are dug in more than ever.”

Now in graduate school at the University of Georgia, Payne said in an e-mail today,  “I don’t think winning my job back has been a possibility since my …

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Facebook poses problems to schools and raises privacy, free speech questions

204534_Facebook_Friendly_MaMore fallout from Facebook. This developing case out of Douglas County re-inforces the problems to schools from student postings on Facebook. In this case, the middle school took strong action, but I wonder if the actions will hold up if there are court challenges.

Where the school might have crossed a legal line is when the principal ordered the 13-year-old girl who called her teacher a pedophile online to log onto her Facebook account so the official could read the offending post and ensuing responses by her friends.

(Can someone explain why parents let young kids have Facebook pages? I still don’t get that as it seems ripe for abuse and problems.)

Take a look at the updated story on the AJC.

According to the new AJC story:

The investigation by Douglas County school officials resulted in the suspension of Alejandra Sosa and two other Chapel Hill Middle School students. They could face harsher penalties, including banishment to a school for children with behavior problems, …

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“Attack a Teacher Day:” Are we raising idiots?

facebook (Medium)

As an avid news reader, I always think I have read the most outrageous story of the month and then another one pops up on my screen.

Here is the latest article that makes me think we’re raising a generation of kids with no sense, no impulse control and no boundaries. I also don’t understand why so many parents allow their young kids to be on Facebook. It is a larger arena for them to make dumb decisions.

I think adolescence has always been a time of dubious choices, but the web magnifies those bad decisions and creates audiences for them.  What surprises me is that these students did not consider that the web also makes it easy to track such plots/jokes and the architects of them. Most kids I know in middle school are aware that the web offers little privacy and that one indiscreet message can end up being viewed by 100 people.

I am also surprised by the light suspensions that these girls earned; their actions strike me as deserving of more severe responses. I admire the …

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A Gwinnett coach trips over his Facebook postings

Update on Tuesday: Folks, I wrote about this because of the Facebook element, which has been a big topic here at the Get Schooled blog because of cases involving teachers. But this has turned into a melee about the football league and its management. I have taken down several inappropriate comments. Please stick to the topic. I am also pulling out a response from the coach himself to provide more balance. Maureen

Here is the coach’s comment to the blog:

Hey Folks,

I am the guy you are all talking about. When I was interviewed by the Atlanta Journal & Constipation reporter, for 20 minutes, I told her how my family housed an African-American family for 4 months who lost their house due to a foreclosure, but all you saw were “tasteless” jokes between me and my Hispanic, African-American, Jewish, Female and Married to Hindu-American friends on Facebook. We took the African-American family in not because I was looking for some sort of pass to Heaven, but because it was the …

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