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Show Notes

The Saga of Ashley Payne (2011)

  • After her first year of teaching, Payne went on a trip to Europe. When she returned, she created a Facebook album with several hundred vacation photos. A handful showed her enjoying a drink or two.
  • The photo album was marked “private,” but could still be viewed by her Facebook “friends” (which did not include any students)
  • She also mentioned on Facebook that she was heading out to play a game called “Crazy Bitch Bingo” at a local club
  • One her vacation photos and the club post were printed out and sent anonymously to Payne’s principal
  • On February 6, 2011, Fred appeared on CBS News “Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood” to discuss internet privacy; Ashley Payne was also interviewed.

The Questions

  • Can educators post photos of themselves on vacation on social media?
    ** Yes, but …
  • Teachers are generally (and sometimes legally, as in Canada) held to a higher standard of conduct online
  • Persistent double standard – female teachers more closely scrutinized and more harshly judged
  • “Personal time” is often not “private”

Challenging Definitions

  • “racy photos”
  • “scantily clad”
  • “indecent”
  • “risqué”
  • First Amendment
  • Decency / Obscenity
  • District / School Policies

What are the potential risks?

  • Aggressive searches by curious students
  • Loss of privacy (i.e., control over what is shared)
  • Oversharing by friends or family
  • Posts by second employers (modeling agencies, fishing charters)
  • Unflattering posts by a friend or a complete stranger
  • Public criticism / parental trolling
  • Harassment
  • Adverse job actions
  • Theft

What can teachers do to protect themselves?

  • Clean up social media channels before applying for jobs
  • Review privacy settings on a periodic basis
  • Reflect on the true meaning of “friendship”
  • Create a “Custom List” of Facebook or Instagram friends
  • Share albums directly with trusted friends in Google Photos or Apple iCloud
  • Selfie-searches
  • Third-party scrubbers (but beware of scams)
  • Hashtag Advocacy
    ** Russian teachers protested the firing of a Siberian teacher after she shared a photo of herself in a bikini, getting ready for “cold swimming”
  • Legal counsel for adverse labor actions

Resources