Thursday, November 20, 2008

In the News: Snow and Bad Judgment

Not together though.

Saturday morning here it was 73 degrees when I went out to walk the dog first thing in the morning. Tuesday, it was about 41. That's a little bit of a shift. The best part though was getting a text from my oldest daughter in Wilmington, NC: "It's snowing here . . . SNOWING." Here's the article from Wednesday's Star News.

In another interesting article from the Charlotte Observer, some teachers are learning the hard way what they should have known already: that the person you hype yourself as on web social sites can come back to haunt you.

The warning reinforces what one elementary-school teacher learned the hard way: Last week she was suspended and recommended for firing after a WCNC reporter showed CMS [Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools] officials her Facebook page listing “teaching chitlins in the ghetto of Charlotte" as one of her activities. Four other teachers faced milder penalties for pages that showed “poor judgment and bad taste.”

WCNC, the Observer's news partner, found the pages by searching Facebook for people who listed CMS as their employer. The teachers in question did not use a privacy setting that would have blocked general access to their information. The station found photos of female teachers in sexually suggestive poses and a black male teacher who listed "Chillin wit my n---as!!!" as an activity. CMS would not specify which of those pages brought discipline.
This is an issue of which I've always been painfully conscious. I have pages on both MySpace and FaceBook (and the lack of links here is not an accident) for one simple reason: I have daughters with pages there. In order to keep tabs on what's going on in their lives and to be sure that their own such sites aren't going to jump up and bite them in future years, it was necessary to establish a beachhead of my own.

A number of professors I know maintain a very visible presence in such places, even working them into their teaching. The breaches of good taste above are somewhat astonishing to me, but then thinking in terms of OpSec and InfoSec is rather second nature at this point. Teachers are people too, but that mantle of role model doesn't get hung in the closet at the end of the day, especially if you're going to hang out in the same internet venues as your students.