Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Um, I'm not that kind of blogger

During the day I had a colleague pull me to the side and say, "Didn't you read the NEA magazine? You need to be really careful about what you blog about. There's an article about teachers getting fired about things they are writing"

"No problem", I said. "I met with the administration years ago and I'm fully aware of what is and is not acceptable. I don't break student confidentiality so I'm not worried about it."

"No, they are getting fired for inappropriate things that they are writing. Just be more careful."

Hmmmmmm. I furrowed my brow at my colleagues comments and then went to check out the NEA's article. I was very interested in who was getting fired for what comments. Seriously, there had to be either a lousy contract or a lousy teacher. Teachers fired without warning? What the heck is being written?

The result? Well, you've heard about most of them.

In Virginia, high school art teacher Stephen Murmer was fired after posting photos of his "butt art" on the Web, which were viewed by scores of students. The budding artist applied paint to his posterior and genitalia, which he then pressed onto canvases. With the help of the ACLU, he sued the school district last fall claiming a violation of his First Amendment rights.

Band director Scott Davis from Broward County, Florida, was dismissed after school officials viewed his MySpace profile that included his musings about sex, drugs, and depression.

A Colorado English teacher lost her job after composing and posting sexually explicit poetry on her MySpace site. Police were even called in to investigate.

Nashville teacher Margaret Thompson was removed from teaching after posting "racy pictures" of herself, along with candid photos of her students, on her MySpace profile.

Florida middle school teacher John Bush was terminated because of "offensive" and "unacceptable " photos and information on his MySpace page.

Massachusetts teacher Keath Driscoll was suspended for his MySpace postings including "sexually suggestive" photographs, videos of drinking alcohol, and references to women as "whores."

Last October, reporters for The Columbus Dispatch conducted an investigation of MySpace profiles posted by Ohio teachers. The newspaper quoted one 25-year-old teacher bragging that she's "an aggressive freak in bed," "sexy," and "an outstanding kisser." Another teacher wrote on her page that she had recently "gotten drunk," "taken drugs," and "gone skinny-dipping."

Anyone see a pattern here.

I don't know what's worse, the fact that this crap that the NEA brought up is actually considered "blogging", or that my colleague actually compared this blog to the offensive material. I really don't get the childish inspiration to throw up a picture online of me doing crazy college age antics, or showing off parts of my body for the public to view. If you don't want to be a positive role model for kids, stay the hell out of the job. And FYI, a positive role model is not someone that parades their life to the Internet viewing public. No one is saying that a person can't get a little crazy sometimes, but "time and place" please.

And don't compare real blogging (check out the many on my Blogroll for real blogs) with MySpace. It's insulting.
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