Student Teacher Fired, Loses College Degree for Drunken MySpace Pic

Student Teacher Fired, Loses College Degree for Drunken MySpace Pic

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A student teacher has lost her education degree over a picture posted on her MySpace profile.

Federal judge Paul S. Diamond has closed the case against 28 year-old Stacy Snyder, who sued her school for withdrawing her education degree after it discovered a picture on her MySpace captioned "Drunken Pirate." The picture showed Snyder drinking from a plastic cup while wearing a pirate hat, something that, along with the caption, was deemed "unprofessional" by her college.

Snyder sued Millersville University of Pennsylvania last year for $75,000, her education degree (which was withdrawn and substituted with an English degree) and teacher's license. She was previously working as a student teacher at a local high school to complete her course work, but was let go a few days before her final semester ended due to poor student and peer reviews questioning her teaching abilities.

Sadly and prophetically, one of Snyder's blog posts began, "I have nothing to hide. I am over 21, and I don't say anything that will hurt me (in the long run). Plus, I don't think that they would stoop that low as to mess with my future."

"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," said the university's president, Francine McNairy.

Her role as a teacher in a public school hurt her case.

"Because she was some sort of de facto employee [of the high school]," added her lawyer Mark Voigt, "she got fewer rights than would be afforded the average student."

MySpace has been devolving into a media-friendly source of dramatic stories, ranging from employers firing workers over profile pictures to nationwide suicide cases. When using social networking sites, it's recommended that everyone be wary of who might be watching, friend or not.

Source: Chronicle via ReadWriteWeb

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Not even "facepalm" covers this. Are teachers not allowed to have myspace and drink?

"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," said the university's president, Francine McNairy.

That makes no damn sense.

I learned a long time ago that if you attend or even apparently WORK for a public school you forefit almost all the rights given to you by the bill of rights

ElArabDeMagnifico:
Not even "facepalm" covers this. Are teachers not allowed to have myspace and drink?

"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," said the university's president, Francine McNairy.

That makes no damn sense.

On ski trips at my school I drank WITH my teachers, and in upper sixth I used to drink with my maths teacher. Who I play frisbee with in our local team.

That sentence really made me feel cool.
Hot damn!

Businesses everywhere are doing this now. They will actually hire a person to google prospective employees, check their facebook, and their myspace. If anything is "unprofessional" then they are discarded as a candidate.

The problem I find with this story is: If you are over 21 (here at least), drinking is legal, whether you post pictures of it on myspace/facebook or not. I could understand if she was underage, but honestly, how many high school kids care whether their teachers drink or not?

Has anyone ever heard of setting their profiles to 'private'? Of course if they're your 'friend' then they can see it but I still believe that this is a ridiculous case. I understand that teachers shouldn't be inappropriate around kids, but they have to have their own life and can't sit around not doing anything incase it comes back to haunt them.

Fair enough if it was because of poor student-teacher evaluations then that's acceptable but don't even bring up the drunken myspace picture.

Hmm. If I was the penalized teacher in question, I'd be really pissed off. It's starting to look like being active on the internet at all is demonic association. It's not like the schools think their personnel aren't drinking and doing whatever they want. Their only problem seems to be with the internet connection.

Of course, I know why the schools are doing this. You hire a teacher with drunken photos online, that teacher makes a parent mad, that parent finds the picture, and now you have a whole mess of whining and suing you'd rather not deal with. And you're going to question hiring teachers from colleges that don't vet potential teachers for you, because you don't want to do it yourself. The college gets a bad rep, and that interferes with their business. So it sucks, but what else are they supposed to do? People won't ever stop whining and suing, and that's the real problem here.

Speaking personally, I remember teachers I had in middle school who were so busy trying to score with each other and plan where they were getting blasted after work that they ignored bullying and tried to avoid any kid coming to them with problems. Yes, they were just sucky teachers. But if this hadn't been before the internet was everywhere, you'd better believe at 14 I would have MySpaced for photos of their drunken antics to show my parents to ruin their crap. My parents don't sue, but they do like to whine.

Many companies check people's myspace pages before deciding if they want to hire the person nowadays. There are even services that build you a professional-looking myspace page.
But if you decide to put a bunch of personal information on the internet, I don't give a shit what happens to you. I think this teacher getting fired is a good thing. Social networking is stupid and dangerous.

ElArabDeMagnifico:
Not even "facepalm" covers this. Are teachers not allowed to have myspace and drink?

"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," said the university's president, Francine McNairy.

That makes no damn sense.

I don't think that did make sense. How does drinking alcohol equal "not doing what's necessary to earn a degree in education"? This whole story is screwed up. Somone can't be a teacher because they drank once? Are we going to have another prohibition now?

ArKaiN123:
Many companies check people's myspace pages before deciding if they want to hire the person nowadays. There are even services that build you a professional-looking myspace page.
But if you decide to put a bunch of personal information on the internet, I don't give a shit what happens to you. I think this teacher getting fired is a good thing. Social networking is stupid and dangerous.

This... sort of.
Social Networking is not inherently evil, but if you ask me, keeping a MySpace page isn't a good idea for looking professional... MySpace has become the 4chan of social networking sites.

ElephantGuts:

ElArabDeMagnifico:
Not even "facepalm" covers this. Are teachers not allowed to have myspace and drink?

"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," said the university's president, Francine McNairy.

That makes no damn sense.

I don't think that did make sense. How does drinking alcohol equal "not doing what's necessary to earn a degree in education"? This whole story is screwed up. Somone can't be a teacher because they drank once? Are we going to have another prohibition now?

I think you guys are misunderstanding. He is simply saying that it had less to do with her drinking and more to do with the fact that she didn't know what the hell she was doing in a class room. Perhaps they included the drunken pictures to strengthen their case, however I think that she probably would have been fired anyways considering the fact that she got such poor reviews from students and teachers alike.

It DOES make sense - he was simply saying that she did not earn the degree that she paid for.

work and paly are 2 seperate things..

thats just invading her personal life.. we all know that most people over 21 are eventually gonna get drunk.. hell a lot of ppl underage get drunk.

The source does say that she was deemed incompetent beforehand. Given the difficulty in firing a teacher these days, I guess I can see why they would dredge up something ridiculous like that picture.

Oh come on, it's just a picture of her as a pirate. Apparently, having a bit of fun is unprofessional. NO FUN FOR YOU WORK HARDER

If this happened because she was incompetant in the classroom, then that is fine. However, bringing up a picture of her drinking to help strengthen your case is just retarded. What she does legally in her free time should have no bearing on whether or not she becomes a teacher.

ElArabDeMagnifico:
Not even "facepalm" covers this. Are teachers not allowed to have myspace and drink?

"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," said the university's president, Francine McNairy.

That makes no damn sense.

They may be allowed to drink, but I'd be pretty embarrassed to see a teacher of mine having a social networking profile. Any site which encourages people to lay out their page like an example from 1990s Geocities is clearly wrong at its heart.

She can't have been that good of a prospect or else they would've kept her. No biggie.

ElephantGuts:

ElArabDeMagnifico:
Not even "facepalm" covers this. Are teachers not allowed to have myspace and drink?

"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," said the university's president, Francine McNairy.

That makes no damn sense.

I don't think that did make sense. How does drinking alcohol equal "not doing what's necessary to earn a degree in education"? This whole story is screwed up. Somone can't be a teacher because they drank once? Are we going to have another prohibition now?

Because she had " poor student and peer reviews questioning her teaching abilities." In other words: "She fucked up and we decided to make up something to fire her upon."

Make sense now?

Brokkr:
If this happened because she was incompetant in the classroom, then that is fine. However, bringing up a picture of her drinking to help strengthen your case is just retarded. What she does legally in her free time should have no bearing on whether or not she becomes a teacher.

I was going to post something on this, but this pretty much sums my view up right there.

Bah, you are all clearly missing the point in this article. Racism against pirates! Yargh!

I think she should appeal, it's not right- no matter how shitty of a teacher she is.

I'm actually on the side of the university, there were already questions about her suitability as a teacher and it would appear that the picture was the last straw. I've worked in education before and you do have to be very careful how you act. By entering the profession, you essentially agree that you will try and be a good role model. I think some people underestimate how well kids know their way around the internet, and if the university found the picture, you can bet her class would have as well.

this has been happening for years, there are dozens of cases almost exactly the same as this one.

If it was just the picture, I think no harm done, but seeing this newpost, it also said she just sucked at teaching.

I'll side with the university.

I think there's more to this than just the photo... both the summary here and in the linked Chronicle article mention the photo's caption, and the Chronicle says it mentions her supervising teacher unfavourably. I think it's likely that the caption (which isn't quoted anywhere, and I ain't gettin' MySpace to see it if it's still there) was a cheap shot at her supervisor after the negative performance reviews and that'll get you sent on to the next stage Progressive Discipline (for unprofessional conduct, if nothing else) where I work too.

Note the teacher-wannabe's earlier appeal on procedural grounds was also denied; I sense some desperation behind this (failed) First Ammendment appeal.

-- Steve

Yet if someone had seen her in a bar. Nothing would have happened.

Ah yes... the stupidity of the system strikes again.

Since when have you been able to get a degree as a reward in a lawsuit?

The court's ruling added that while the picture was unprofessional, the real issue here was her having of a MySpace page, thus contributing to the decay of society.

Well that's why I'd take away her degree. The last thing we need is more high schoolers, lousy bands, or generally anyone with MySpace pages.

HSIAMetalKing:
Since when have you been able to get a degree as a reward in a lawsuit?

They downgraded her education degree to an english one...
Surely she should have argued against the stated reason for her punishment, ie: her low performance as stated by the school, as this can be clearly assessed in court. I'm guessing that the reason that she didn't was that she knew she was a bad teacher, and was looking for anything else to use to sue them with.

She got the shaft, big time! I'd appeal...

I'd do her, aside from that, yeah she should appeal... she definitely got scammed on this, that's bull that they can use MySpace as a weapon against her. Everyone does something stupid in their lives, let them have fun, and for you people who say you haven't done something stupid... your life must really suck, and be pretty boring. Because stupid stuff, is usually the most fun.

You guys, uh, seem to have missed that this was her second appeal already. She got denied her degree; strike one. Her first appeal was on procedural grounds, that the process used was flawed, and it got shot down; strike two. This appeal, the second, was on Constitutional grounds and that got shot down too; strike three.

I'm thinking Little Miss should just take it gracefully and walk away from the plate now, before she makes every teachers college in the US treat her future applications like toxic waste.

-- Steve

Oh if that is the case then I say. USE THE CHAIR!

 

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