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Snyder sued Millersville University of Pennsylvania last year for $75,000, her education degree (which was withdrawn and substituted with an English degree) and teacher's license.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.