Teachers Schooled on Facebooking

By Matt Baume
|  Friday, Oct 1, 2010  |  Updated 1:15 PM PDT
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Teachers Schooled on Facebooking

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Watch out teachers. All eyes are on you when you're using Facebook.

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Watch out teachers. All eyes are on you when you're using Facebook.

Professional organizations for educators are urging caution for members who use social networking tools. Since teachers are held to such a high standard, even the slightest appearance of inappropriate behavior could be the start of a massive headache.

There's been a variety of recent Facebook mishaps for teachers and administrators. In Ohio, a teacher got in trouble when it turned out the 19-year-old he was communicating with was fake, part of a sting organized by real students. A Connecticut superintendent was sacked after Facebooking about sleeping in on the first day on the job. Then in Massachusetts, an administrator called parents "snobby" online and soon found herself out of a job.

And this sort of thing goes back years, even before Facebook even existed. Back in 2005, a DeVry employee was fired for making what were determined to be "disparaging" remarks about the school.

The Ohio Education Association's advice: if you wouldn't want it on the front page of the newspaper, don't put it online.

But because the technology is so old -- and because educational institutions are notoriously slow to adjust -- there are no widely-established guidelines for educators who want to use the Internet. Clearly, exercising best-judgment doesn't quite work for some people.

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