Georgia teacher loses her job for Facebook

Last night my boyfriend informed me that a dj on a  local radio station was talking about a teacher who got fired for a photo of herself holding a glass of wine on her Facebook page. I told him that I was not suprized by the story, but that there is probably more to it. So, I did a little research. I came across the story on To my surprize, there really wasn’t much more to the story. Ashley Payne, a high school English teacher, had posted some vacation photos on her thought-to-be private Facebook page. One of the photos were of her holding a glass of wine in one hand, and a mug of beer in the other. As I read the news story, I very quickly learned that her principal confronted her about her Facebook page after receiving a parent complaint, and said she either had to resign or she’d be suspended. Payne has now hired a lawyer to fight for her job back.

This whole story really got me thinking. I’ve always been aware that being a teacher is completely different than any other job or career. You are a teacher 24/7; you really never get to leave your job. You are a teacher at the grocery store, restaurants, on vacation, and on Facebook. So, should teachers, then, not have Facebook pages? Are they expected to live a very sheltered life so that the rest of society will never be offended and will be able to view their children’s educators as perfect humans? Obviously, this is all very unrealistic. But, at the same time, hearing these kinds of stories makes it kind of hard to feel comfortable with having a Facebook page. As private as you think your settings are, it’s still on the internet, which can potentially be very public.

This story really makes  ya think! Especially as pre-service teachers!!!!

  1. #1 by Teacher Trainee on February 10, 2011 - 2:06 am

    It makes me wonder about the culture of the States a bit as well. But yes being careful about what you write and do on the internet is a HUGE issue for teachers.

  2. #2 by Alec Couros on February 10, 2011 - 2:43 am

    Take a look at what Stephen Downes had to say about this issue:

    Teachers are really treated differently, and it’s something you will have to struggle with your entire career – unless something drastic changes, that is.

    • #3 by rlukan on February 10, 2011 - 5:25 pm

      Yes, I had read his thoughts on it as well. I’m also a little confused as to why this is just coming out now; it happened in August 2009!

  3. #4 by Danielle Degelman on February 13, 2011 - 7:37 am

    Sometimes, I think it is ridiculous that teachers are “caught” and fired for the photos they post on Facebook. Can’t people realize that teachers are people, just like everyone else? I’m not saying they can post ANYTHING on the Internet (they are supposed to be role models), but I think that the situation went a little too far…

    A couple months ago, I got rid of my Facebook account just because I was entering the teaching profession. I do not want future students searching my name, and I definitely do not want parents knowing about my personal life. I used to be a committed “Facebooker” and I miss the social interactions that I had with online friends. I may regret this now, but I guess I might thank myself in the future.

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