Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Evelyn Wassel, Ed.D. STEP Workshop June 2013. PSEA Legal Division 20092 Technology is changing, and so is your profession. Your use of technology, whether.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Evelyn Wassel, Ed.D. STEP Workshop June 2013. PSEA Legal Division 20092 Technology is changing, and so is your profession. Your use of technology, whether."— Presentation transcript:

1 Evelyn Wassel, Ed.D. STEP Workshop June 2013

2 PSEA Legal Division 20092 Technology is changing, and so is your profession. Your use of technology, whether in or out of the classroom, can jeopardize your career – and more.


4  The Charlotte Observer reported that an afterschool staffer from Charlotte was fired for his Facebook comment that he likes “chillin’ wit my niggas” and a “suggestive exchange” with a female friend. Two probationary teachers faced termination for their Facebook musings that “I’m feeling pissed because I hate my students,” and I’m “teaching in the most ghetto school in Charlotte.”

5  The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch ran an exposé entitled, “Teachers’ Saucy Web Profiles Risk Jobs.” One 25-year-old female bragged on her MySpace site about being “sexy” and “an aggressive freak in bed.” Another confessed that she recently got drunk, took drugs, went skinny-dipping, and got married.

6  The Washington Post published a front page “investigative” piece entitled “When Young Teachers Go Wild on the Web,” quoting one DC teacher’s Facebook page: “Teaching in the DC Public Schools—Lesson #1: Don’t smoke crack while pregnant.” A special ed teacher wrote on her page to a student, “You’re a retard, but I love you,” and posted a photo of herself “sleeping” with a bottle of tequila.

7  A San Antonio newspaper reported that college student “Mahka” posted pictures of herself in various stages of drunkenness with the catchy caption, “Can U say wasted?” She also wrote: “Drinking and partying is my life. I’m gonna be a high school English teacher one day.”

8 Tamara Hoover, a teacher in Austin, Texas, was fired from her position as a high school art teacher when nude photographs of her were discovered on the website of her partner, who is a professional photographer.

9 Hoover was fired based on “conduct unbecoming a teacher,” even though some might interpret the photographs as professional and artistic. Hoover agreed to a cash settlement with the school district, and now she uses her MySpace profile to promote teachers’ free speech rights. The case has attracted national media attention.

10  Long before the advent of social networking sites, teachers’ private lives had been scrutinized.  A 1915 document outlining rules for teachers, such as “you are not to keep company with men” and “you must under no circumstances dye your hair,”15 is often seen posted on classroom walls as a tongue-in- cheek reminder of the way things used to be.

11  The document is evidence that society has always been interested in the actions of teachers beyond the classroom walls.  AAFo4/94SYbFpBHaY/s1600/IMG_0088.JPG AAFo4/94SYbFpBHaY/s1600/IMG_0088.JPG

12 Whether we like it or not, teachers are held to a higher standard of moral behavior than is the population in general. This expectation is reflected in the clauses of state certification procedures.

13  Section 5. Conduct Individual professional conduct reflects upon the practices, values, integrity and reputation of the profession. Violation of § § 235.6- 235.11 may constitute an independent basis for private or public reprimand, and may be used as supporting evidence in cases of certification suspension and revocation.  elines,_policies,_complaint_forms,_reports_and_related_documents_ /8850/code_of_conduct/529193 elines,_policies,_complaint_forms,_reports_and_related_documents_ /8850/code_of_conduct/529193

14 In today’s world it is simple to “Google” someone you want to know more about. Students may Google their teachers out of curiosity, and principals may Google prospective teachers in order to see online portfolios of their professional endeavors. Such inquiries have led to some interesting circumstances.

15 Anu Prabhakara, a foreign language teacher at Southern Middle School in Maryland, was investigated by her school board after posting content critical of the school system, parents, and teachers in an expletive laden MySpace blog. She exclaimed, “When the [expletive] did parents decide that their kids are not responsible for anything they do?” After a child revealed that she had read the offending comments because she was a “friend” of her teacher on MySpace, her mother reported Prabhakara’s comments to administrators.

16  If that had been all she wrote, it might have gone unnoticed. But then some of her students accessed her MySpace page and began posting comments, such as “Wow Mrs. [Prabhakara], I didn’t know we were THAT irresponsible,” and “Someone had a bad day. I mean … come on, we’re not that bad.”  In response to these comments, Prabhakara replied: “Yeah, I know. [J]ust a kid in my 3rd period class and his [expletive] mother.”

17  Robin Welsh, with the Calvert County School system said if the school decides she should be disciplined, because of privacy laws "we're not allowed to share that information," she says.  But she says, "We don't have control over employees and what they do outside of the job, except for when it impacts the employee's ability to do their job effectively."  As far as whether Prabhakara crossed that line with her allegedly profanity-laced rants, privacy laws prevent Welsh from elaborating.

18 PSEA Legal Division 200918 QUERY: Can a school employee be disciplined or discharged for their off-duty social network activities? ANSWER:MAYBE

19 PSEA Legal Division 200919 An employee’s speech is NOT protected if: It is spoken within job duties It deals with private, personal matters It causes disruption in the workplace It is unlawful or untrue

20 PSEA Legal Division 200920 Your personal blog will probably NOT be protected if it includes: Personal and intimate information Criticism of school officials, students, and staff Sexual references or profane remarks

21 Other teachers who have expanded their online social networks to include students as “friends” have also found themselves in hot water. Matthew Cepican of Rialto High School in Rancho Cucamonga, California, was still communicating with former students on his MySpace profile after being booked on suspicion of lewd acts with a minor. cepican/

22 There are privacy settings, but not everyone uses them - or uses them well. A teachers’ college warns teachers who accept students as "friends" are blurring the lines between their public and private lives. A serious concern for professionals entrusted by the public to provide a service. Can undermine a teacher's authority and threaten the safe relationship that needs to exist between teachers and students, the college says.

23 Stacy Snyder, a teacher candidate in secondary English education at Millersville (Pennsylvania) University, was denied her teaching certificate and given an English degree rather than an education degree after campus administrators discovered photos on her MySpace profile in which she portrayed herself as a “drunken pirate.” The 27-year-old filed a federal lawsuit against the university asking for $75,000 in damages.

24  Snyder's attorney Mark Voigt said the court essentially ruled that his client was an employee of the school because part of her program required the student-teaching assignment at a local school. However, he said, she was neither was paid for the work nor had signed a contract.  "Because she was some sort of de facto employee, she got fewer rights than would be afforded the average student," Voigt said. "If they treated her as a student, [the university] would have had to demonstrate that her online speech substantially disrupted classroom activities."  Millersville University President Francine McNairy said the school was very pleased with the verdict, but she declined to respond to Voigt's assertion.  "This was not about First Amendment rights, it was about performance, and she clearly did not do what was necessary in order to earn a degree in education," McNairy said.  According to the court's decision the school cited examples of her poor competency in its refusal to graduate Snyder.

25  Conestoga Valley decided to bar Plaintiff from campus because Buffington and Reinking believed that Plaintiff: ◦ (1) had disobeyed Reinking by communicating about personal matters with her students through her webpage; ◦ (2) had acted unprofessionally by criticizing Reinking to her students in the May 4th posting; and ◦ (3) had otherwise performed incompetently as a student teacher.  No one at MU had anything to do with that decision. Once CV did not allow Plaintiff to complete the practicum, however, MU could not award Plaintiff a BSE degree.  As I have found, Defendants do not have the authority to award Plaintiff a BSE because she failed to complete Student Teaching. As a result, Plaintiff is not eligible for initial teaching certification. Moreover, Defendants did not violate Plaintiff’s First Amendment right to free expression. Accordingly, I deny her demand for mandatory injunctive relief.

26 There are privacy settings, but not everyone uses them - or uses them well. A teachers’ college warns teachers who accept students as "friends" are blurring the lines between their public and private lives. A serious concern for professionals entrusted by the public to provide a service. Can undermine a teacher's authority and threaten the safe relationship that needs to exist between teachers and students, the college says.

27 Bartow County school teacher, Ashely Payne lost her job after school officials questioned her about images posted on her Facebook page. At issue were several shots of Payne smiling while holding alcoholic beverages during a trip to Europe and there was also a Facebook status update Payne had written, stating she was headed to a game of “Crazy Bitch Bingo” at a Midtown restaurant.

28 Payne says she was forced to resign from her job at Apalachee High School in August 2009 after someone claiming to be a parent sent an email complaining about her vacation pictures. The young teacher subsequently filed a lawsuit, asking the court to determine that she was entitled to a due process hearing. She also sought back pay and money for legal fees, however Superior Court Judge Chief Judge David Motes ruled against her yesterday. In the ruling, Motes notes that Georgia law maintains that if employees resign, even when their hands are forced, it doesn’t equal an involuntary termination.

29 Julia Poole, who teaches information- communications technology, uses Facebook regularly to connect with family, friends and former classmates. She says the college has exaggerated the risk, adding the best advice for teachers on Facebook is to use common sense. "People have to remember that it's not like talking to your best girlfriend... you can't really be that intimate," she said in an interview. "I look at Facebook as being a public space. I don't think there'd be anything that I would share on my Facebook account that I wouldn't want my grandmother to see."

30  Connecticut teacher Jeffrey Spanierman was fired because of two cyber conversations with students on his MySpace page. In one posting, he teased a student about his girlfriend, and the student responded, “dont be jealous cause you can’t get any lol:)” Spanierman replied: “What makes you think I want any? I'm not jealous. I just like to have fun and goof on you guys. If you don't like it. Kiss my brass! LMAO.” He also jokingly threatened another student with lifelong detention for calling him “sir.”

31  But a federal court ruled that Spanierman’s termination didn’t violate the First Amendment because his speech “was likely to disrupt school activities.” The court faulted the teacher for failing “to maintain a professional, respectful association with students” and for communicating with students “as if he were their peer, not their teacher.” Such conduct, “could very well disrupt the learning atmosphere of a school,” the court said.

32  Tara Richardson was a mentor for beginning teachers who sued the Central Kitsap (Washington) School District claiming that she was demoted because of comments she posted on a personal blog. She described one administrator as “ a smug know-it-all creep” who has “a reputation of crapping on secretaries….”

33  Last June, a federal appeals court rejected her First Amendment argument, finding that her nasty, personal comments interfered with her job because they “fatally undermined her ability to enter into confidential and trusting mentor relationships” with beginning teachers.

34 PSEA Legal Division 200934 QUERY: Who can see your Profile on a Social Networking Site? Privacy Options give YOU control over who can see your Profile... but are not foolproof!

35 PSEA Legal Division 200935 DO: Be aware that users can search for you by anything in your profile (your employer, university, etc.). Control who sees your page. Set your privacy settings so that only “friends” can review your information. Review PSEA’s advice on responsible technology use: DO NOT: ◦ Accept anyone who you do not know as a friend.

36 PSEA Legal Division 200936 DO: Monitor comments that are posted to your page. Delete any with inappropriate language or content. Monitor your friends’ photographs. If someone “tags” you in an inappropriate photograph, remove the tag and ask that the photo be taken down. On Facebook, disable the Google search function. DO NOT: ◦ Join “groups” that may be considered unprofessional or inappropriate, and leave any such group that you are already a member of.

37  Consider not posting your photo. It can be altered and broadcast in ways you may not be happy about.  Be careful about the information you reveal (e.g, screen name, your workplace, out-of- town trips, yourself / family / friends / students)

38 PSEA Legal Division 200938 DO NOT post: ◦ Inappropriate, vulgar, or obscene language or materials ◦ Language or materials that could be considered inappropriate or unprofessional ◦ Photos which could be considered inappropriate or unprofessional ◦ Links to materials or groups that may be considered to be inappropriate or unprofessional

39 PSEA Legal Division 200939 DO NOT accept friend requests from students or their parents.

40 PSEA Legal Division 200940 Imposter Profiles and Blogs

41 PSEA Legal Division 200941 What do you do if you are a victim of a fake blog or fake social networking page? DO: ◦ Notify your employer immediately. ◦ Report the impersonation to the social networking site or the blog administrator and request that they remove the entry.


43 Virginia high school art teacher Stephen Murmer was fired after a video of an art project that involved the use of his buttocks and other body parts to spread paint on a canvas was discovered on the video-sharing site YouTube.

44 In October 2007, Murmer filed a lawsuit in federal court to challenge his dismissal. Fired Art Teacher Wins $65,000 Settlement from Chesterfield County School Board No record of employment found on the web. Google search only shows lawsuit.

45   Search “Notification of Certificate Actions Report”

46 Notification Date 12/22/2011 Name of Individual Andrew Lipscomb Last School In Which Employed N/A Last Position Held Elementary Teacher Certificate Type Instructional I Certification Area Elementary Action Taken Surrender in Lieu of Discipline Grounds for Discipline Allegations of inappropriate use of a District owned computer Date Action Taken 10/7/2011

47 Name of Individual Kirsten Kinley Certificate Type Instructional I Certification Area Mentally/Physically Handicapped Action Taken Surrender in Lieu of Discipline Grounds for Discipline Educator pleaded guilty in Maryland to the crime of Sexual Offense in the Third Degree (MD Code, Criminal Law, §3-307) as a result of allegations that Educator engaged in sexual intercourse and contact with a student, and sent the student graphic texts and sexually explicit videos of Educator engaging in sexual activity

48 PSEA Legal Division 200948 Using Email, Texts, and Instant Messages to Communicate with Students

49 PSEA Legal Division 200949 DO: Communicate with students or parents through your work email address or a school-sponsored website. DO NOT: Do not email students or parents from your personal email account.

50 PSEA Legal Division 200950 DO NOT: Text message a student, or respond to a text message from a student. Instant message a student or respond to an instant message from a student, unless the message is sent through an employer-approved course site.

51 PSEA Legal Division 200951 If a student texts you, IM’s you, or emails you at your personal email address: DO NOT RESPOND!

52 Name of Individual James Page-Quail Certificate Type Instructional II Certification Area Elementary and Socially/Emotionally Disturbed Action Taken Suspension Grounds for Discipline Out of State Adjudication: Educator suspended in Georgia for inappropriate interactions with colleagues and students.

53 Name of Individual David Weidemoyer Certificate Type Instructional I Certification Area Mathematics 7-12 and Mid-Level Math 7-12 Action Taken Revocation Grounds for Discipline Inappropriate and lewd communication with students

54 Name of Individual Jeffrey J. Smiley Last School In Which Employed General McLane School District Last Position Held Physical Education Teacher Certificate Type Instructional II Certification Area Health and Physical Education; Safety/Drivers Education Action Taken Surrender in Lieu of Discipline Grounds for Discipline Allegations of inappropriate use of a school computer

55 Name of Individual Shane Yanosky Last School In Which Employed Dubois Area School District Last Position Held 8th Grade Science Teacher Certificate Type Instructional I Certification Area Biology, General Science, Mid- Level Mathematics Action Taken Suspension July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012 Grounds for Discipline Allegations Educator Made inappropriate comments to students.

56 Name of Individual Jonathan Jones Last School In Which Employed Bald Eagle Area School District Last Position Held Teacher Certificate Type Instructional II Certification Area Mathematics 7-12 Action Taken Surrender in Lieu of Discipline Grounds for Discipline Allegations educator sent inappropriate text messages to a female student

57 Name of Individual Theresa Luckyj Last School In Which Employed Great Valley School District Action Taken Surrender in Lieu of Discipline Grounds for Discipline Educator convicted of Insurance Fraud, 18 Pa.C.S 4117(b)(4)

58  The Whole World is Watching. NEAtoday. April 2009. The Whole World is Watching  Twitter Gets You Fired in 140 Characters or Less. MSNBC. March 2009. Twitter Gets You Fired in 140 Characters or Less  5 Ways Your Computer Use Can Get You Fired. U.S. News & World Report. March 2008. 5 Ways Your Computer Use Can Get You Fired  Teachers Disciplined for Facebook Postings. Raleigh, North Carolina News & Observer. November 2008. Teachers Disciplined for Facebook Postings  Teachers Face Dilemma with Facebook. Houston Chronicle. December 2008. Teachers Face Dilemma with Facebook

59 “Nowadays, thanks to advances in technology, you don't even need a major publisher to get fired; just post your racy photos, sexually graphic writings, or wild party stories on a personal Web blog. You'll be amazed by how quickly tech-savvy students can disseminate your postings to their friends and your employer.”

60 “It's the general rule that school employees can be disciplined for off- duty conduct if the school district can show that the conduct had an adverse impact on the school or the teacher's ability to teach. And it wouldn't be too difficult to make that showing if the teacher's blog includes sexually explicit or other inappropriate content and is widely viewed by students.”

61 “The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2004 that it was not a violation of the First Amendment for the City of San Diego to fire a police officer for posting a sexually explicit video of himself on the Internet. The unanimous Court said that such speech was ‘detrimental to the mission and functions of the employer.’ ”

62 “Last year, a U.S. District Court ruled that a Connecticut school district's decision to fire a probationary teacher because of his postings to his MySpace page did not violate the teacher's First Amendments rights. The court called the online exchanges between the teacher and his students ‘inappropriate’ and added that ‘such conduct could very well disrupt the learning atmosphere of the school.’ ”

63  “When you're in a professional position, especially one where you're interacting with children and parents, you need to be above reproach.”  “[Keep your online profile] entirely PG … no cursing …no photos of having a good time on the weekend — nothing like that.”

64  “For teachers who want to connect with their tech-savvy students, maintain professional boundaries. Never ever interact with a student about a personal issue on a social network.”  “Never write about work on the Internet unless your boss knows and sanctions the fact that you are writing about work on the Internet.”

65  “The Internet is not your BFF. Everyone has a ‘My boss sucks’ moment. But the prudent know to express this sentiment away from the keyboard.”  “Employees who use a company computer for personal matters on company time—whether playing solitaire or checking on their 401(k)'s— are essentially stealing from their employer. It's a new, 21st-century form of theft."

66 Never put in electronic form anything that you “Nowadays, thanks to advances in technology, you don't even need a major publisher to get fired; just post your racy photos, sexually graphic writings, or wild party stories on a personal Web blog. You'll be amazed by how quickly tech- savvy students can disseminate your postings to their friends and your employer.” Wouldn't want viewed by a million people, including your colleagues, students, and supervisors—and your mother. The Whole World (Wide Web) is Watching: Cautionary tales from the 'what-were-you-thinking' department. By Michael D. Simpson, NEA Office of General Counsel


68  If what ever you do online can be traced back to you and it stays forever what should you put online?


70  The Internet Archive and its Way Back Machine gives you a historical snapshot of a site within seconds.Internet ArchiveWay Back Machine ial_web_unforeseen_consequences.php ial_web_unforeseen_consequences.php

71 The Wayback Machine Browse through over 150 billion web pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago. To start surfing the Wayback, type in the web address of a site or page where you would like to start, and press enter. Then select from the archived dates available. The resulting pages point to other archived pages at as close a date as possible. Keyword searching is not currently supported.



74  Google Voice gives you a single phone number that rings all of your phones, saves your voicemail online, and transcribes your voicemail to text.  Other cool features include: ◦ the ability to listen in on messages while they're being left ◦ block unwanted callers and ◦ make cheap international calls.

75  Here are seven tips on successful social media disengagement to help you stay happy both at work and home

76   1. On the first day of school, inform parents and students how you prefer to be reached and when.  Just as a professor has office hours in college, so too, should a secondary teacher have specific times of availability.

77  2. Set up a separate work email that students can reach you.

78  3. If using Facebook, know your school or district’s policy on social media engagement.  Usually they don’t want you having current students as “friends.” So set up a fan page or a group where you can control the environment (set strict restrictions on posting and monitor until it becomes evident how the page will be used.)

79  4. Be aware, when posting on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, that what you are presenting is public.  Don’t write anything that will get you in trouble, or will encourage student engagement in a less than appropriate manner.

80  5. Despite any inner adolescent need to get involved in Facebook threads on inflammatory status updates, fight the urge; it almost never turns out well.

81  6. Serve as a role model for your students in how to use these powerful tools appropriately. No pics of you and your friends at the bar, poolside, or engaged in any activity you wouldn’t want them to see in person.Serve as a role model  Teach students by showing them how to present themselves responsibly.

82  7. Adhere to the boundaries you create, reminding students that it isn’t personal, but that you are allowed to have a life of your own too. Sometimes adolescents forget that the world doesn’t revolve around them.Sometimes adolescents forget that the world doesn’t revolve around them

Download ppt "Evelyn Wassel, Ed.D. STEP Workshop June 2013. PSEA Legal Division 20092 Technology is changing, and so is your profession. Your use of technology, whether."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google