Several teachers in Palm Beach County, Fla., may soon lose their jobs for allegedly posting questionable materials on the Web site Facebook.com, officials say.
State Deputy Chancellor for Educator Quality Pamela Stewart said each of the teachers could lose their teaching certification for allegedly posting materials on the social networking Web site that their students could potentially access, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported last Sunday.
"We could think of it similarly to taking an ad out in a newspaper. If we're going to do something about that, we'll do something about it on a social network," Stewart said. "They certainly are public figures."
Only when their behavior affects their work performance should the school get involved. There are entirely too many opportunities for abuse for it to be any other way. Might a teacher get fired for appearing in newspaper picture from the local Wicca festival? Or how about for writing a letter to the editor in favor of some ballot initiative or another? How about for writing a blog?
Posting certain material on Facebook may be unwise, and teachers (especially young teachers) should have this explained to them if they're too immature to figure it out themselves, but until their online behavior crosses into the illegal or until it affects their ability to function in the classroom, I say leave adults alone.
I've written about this before, most recently here.