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.
- 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”
- “racy photos”
- “scantily clad”
- 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
- Adverse job actions
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
- 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
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