Archive for the ‘Facebook’ Category

Facebook and teachers: Barrow case remains in limbo; teacher remains unemployed

This is one of Ashley Payne's Facebook photos from Europe that an anonymous e-mailer said made her an unfit role model for Barrow students.

This is one of Ashley Payne's Facebook photos from Europe that an anonymous e-mailer said made her an unfit role model for Barrow students.

Ashley Payne – the Barrow County teacher who lost her job over unsubstantiated and spurious claims that she allowed students access to her Facebook page — remains unemployed and still waiting for her day in court.

I have touched base with Payne or her attorney every few months, as the hearing on the highly controversial case was initially scheduled for August but has yet to occur. She has not found another job in teaching, although she very much wants to return to the classroom.

The AJC has a news update today on the case, which hinges on who sent an e-mail to the Barrow superintendent alleging that Payne had inappropriate photos and comments on her Facebook page and that she had “friended” students.

The anonymous e-mail, which came from a fake e-mail address, was allegedly sent by a parent but the tenor and the language suggested that a …

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Facebook and teachers: Still a potentially dangerous combination for your career

facebook (Medium)While ex Barrow County teacher Ashley Payne still awaits her day in court over the Facebook page photos of her trip to Europe that landed her in hot water with her principal and to a resignation that she maintains was coerced, other teachers continue to get in trouble over their social networking sites.

Among the latest casualty: A Massachusetts school administrator  resigned at the end of last week after posting on her Facebook page that the parents in her upscale town were  “arrogant” and “snobby.” June Talvitie-Siple was the program supervisor for science and math at Cohasset High School until school officials found out about the comments.

The 30-year veteran also posted that she was, “so not looking forward to another year at Cohasset Schools.” And she called students  “germ bags.” Unlike Payne who limited her Facebook page to her friends, Talvitie-Siple had not restricted the wall of her Facebook page. Parents spotted the comments and alerted the superintendent who asked …

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Can students call their principal a “big steroid freak” or worse on the Internet with impunity?

Should a teacher have a right to do anything more than steam when a student posts on Facebook or MySpace that she was the worst teacher ever? Can students post photos of their principals with the captions “Big whore” and “big steroid freak.”?

facebook (Medium)Ken Paulson, president of the Newseum and First Amendment Center, is a former co-worker of mine back when I used to work for a newspaper in Florida. He takes on these thorny issues in an op-ed in USA Today.

(He was one of those journalists with a law degree, so he had great depth on legal issues and, as this piece shows, still does. I think law and journalism are a great pairing.)

I am torn on this issue, as I think such postings contribute to a toxic environment in schools, but I also value freedom of speech, even when the speech is idiotic.

I also worry that the kids themselves do not understand not only the injury to their victims from their juvenile rantings, but to their own futures. I know prospective employers who have eliminated …

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Adults use Facebook to find and celebrate former teachers

Former students are using the social media network to track down and thank their teachers from decades ago.

Former students are using the social media network to track down and thank their teachers from decades ago.

Make time today to read this wonderful New York Times story on people reconnecting and celebrating their former  teachers via Facebook.

Considered a platform for kids to connect and maintain social ties, Facebook is also turning out to be a way their parents can find their favorite high school music teacher or their beloved middle school English teacher.

The story also talks to retired teachers who discovered their former students had created tribute pages that include such comments as, “You inspired each of us to learn and go beyond what we thought we could achieve,” lighthearted claims on old debts “You owe us a pool party — you promised us one if the Dow ever reached 3,000” and recollections of specific events “You got me out of detention one time.”

An interesting passage in the story:

The tributes underscore what researchers have identified as a major force in …

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Cyberbullying: Are schools supposed to now police the behavior of students in virtual playgrounds?

This is a riveting New York Times piece on the challenges to schools from cyberbullying. I am torn as to what the schools’ rightful role ought to be in policing the nasty adolescent exchanges that are becoming far too common on the Internet.

Read the lengthy Times piece when you have time. It is disturbing, especially since my twins start middle school in August. (My oldest daughter had a very rough first year in middle school. My older son had very little drama in middle school, but sidestepped a lot of the social tussling. And he had neither a phone nor a personal computer until high school.)

I still think one answer to cyberbullying is keeping middle schoolers off Facebook and other social networking sites. I am also not a fan of giving middle school students cell phones, as my 11-year-old daughter is quick to complain. Her older sister used to ask me to please dip into her college fund to get cable TV. Now, we have cable, but the 11-year-old asks me now instead to tap into …

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Children in school mural are too “dark” for principal and for some community members

A kind reader pointed out a bizarre story to me that is becoming the talk of the blogosphere for the sheer idiocy of the issue: A mural on a school in Arizona is under attack because it features a brown skinned child as its centerpiece.

UPDATE: I appreciate the update below from Prescott, Arizona, resident and astrologer Moses Siregar III who posted video this afternoon of  a rally today in which the principal called the request to lighten the portrait — which was based on actual students at the school — a mistake.

Nice to see the residents of the town speak up and resolve this issue quickly and peacefully and seemingly with a stronger connection to the school.

Moses is ahead of the news on this latest development, but here is an the Arizona Republic that can provide background. (Please go to the Republic to look at the mural although you can also see it in the video.)

A group of artists has been asked to lighten the faces of children depicted in a giant public mural at a …

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Wired from the womb: “We are looking at a generation that can’t not text.”

Top students tell me all the time that they watch television while doing their homework. This doesn’t surprise psychology professor Larry D. Rosen.

I had always imagined valedictorians and salutatorians buried in their books at night, never looking up from their chemistry homework and certainly not watching “Jersey Shore.”

But Rosen’s own daughter — valedictorian of her high school and now a Yale student — did her homework while watching television, listening to her iPod and trading text messages with friends, says Rosen, author of the new book “Rewired,” which examines how the iGeneration — children born in the 1990s and beyond — learn.

A longtime researcher on the impact of technology, Rosen says we are faced with a new breed of learners for whom doing more than one thing at a time is a way of life.

“This is a generation that has multi-tasked from birth and that is what they do from morning to night,” he says.

And that generation is now running headlong into an education …

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Teens and texting: A deadly combination on our roads

Dave Belton is a Morgan County school board member worried about teens texting while driving in the aftermath of the death of college student in his district. Texting is suspected in two recent accidents. (Read the AJC story on the accidents, one of which involved a death.)

Here is an op-ed piece that he wrote and that will appear in the AJC on the education page Monday:

By Dave Belton

He was driving down one of the gentle roads that meander through our sleepy pastures here in Morgan County.

Coming home for Christmas after a great freshman year at college, he couldn’t wait to tell his mama how many A’s he’d earned.

An athlete, a scholar — the kind of boy you hope your daughter brings home.
Things were going so well, he recently had called his grandmother and told her, “I’m the luckiest guy alive.”

A quick text to his beautiful girlfriend and …

The walls of the church groaned at the size of the funeral. The brave father told me, “I wish there was some way to spread the word.”

A …

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Facebook case: Deposition reveals Barrow didn’t know e-mail source

Many of you have been asking me about the fate of Ashley Payne, the Barrow County high school teacher who lost her job over her Facebook page and whose experience sparked a national debate about Internet privacy, anonymous e-mails and teacher rights.

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

The legal case is proceeding. Ashley Payne’s lawyer just deposed the principal and assistant principal. She is fighting to get her job back.

I asked attorney Richard Storrs if Barrow ever traced the source of the incriminating e-mail that led to Payne being called in by her principal in August and told to consider resigning rather than face losing her teaching license. Under that pressure, the 23-year-old UGA honors graduate says she felt she had no recourse but to resign – a mistake according to veteran teachers.

Here is what Storrs told me this week:

“We took depositions of the principal and assistant principal last week. The principal …

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Facebook in the workplace: Take care on both sides

The Barrow County case has drawn comments and e-mails from around the country. Here is an astute note from a Californian in the information technology field.

I thought Andrew Karp raised compelling issues, and he was happy to allow me to post his comments. (Karp has a technology consulting firm,  Sierra Information Services, in Northern California.)

He writes:

Ashley Payne’s predicament is both upsetting and illustrative of the perils our “information society” faces.  Normative values for “privacy” and “appropriate conduct” are rapidly changing, largely fueled by Internet-based tools like social networking sites allowing near-instant access by others to our personal information, whether we like it or not.

My job as an independent information technology consultant and my personal experiences with the Internet inform my opinions about and reactions to Ms. Payne’s case.  She seems to have been done in by an anonymous predator who took innocuous information and images from her …

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