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Mom's Council Q&A: Should Teachers Be Accountable For Facebook Comments?

Several teachers have recently been fired or suspended due to comments they made on Facebook.

Facebook has emerged as a way to communicate with long-lost friends, loved ones and people living in far-flung locations.  People interact casually, at times forgetting that their candid conversations are more accessible to outside eyes than they would like.  This record of seemingly private interactions can be especially deleterious to teachers, who are held accountable to both parents and students for the comments they make, no matter how off the cuff. 

A Massachusetts teacher recently suffered the consequences of what she thought were airtight Facebook privacy settings.  Calling the parents of some of her students “snobby” and “arrogant,” as reported by ABC news, and her students “germ bags” she was soon asked to resign after parents got wind of the comments and complained to the school.

In a more recent incident, a first-grade teacher in one of the worst-performing schools in NJ called her students “future criminals” which incited the ire of parents, who clamored for her resignation.  The teacher is currently suspended without pay, the NY Times reported.

What are your thoughts on these stories?  Should the teachers have been held accountable for the comments that were made on Facebook or should conversations made on personal web pages be considered private and therefore not relevant to the teacher’s professional life?  Tell us what you think in the comment box below.  

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