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Facebook Fail? Teacher Fired Over "Immoral" Photo

originalI have a question for you. Do you think the act of a man placing his hand on a woman’s breast makes her incapable of teaching children? Of course not. But does that change if the woman in question posts a photo of a man placing his hand on her breast on Facebook? Apparently, to one school in Idaho, it does. It even becomes sufficient reason to fire said educator.

In October, Laraine Cook, a former girls’ basketball coach at Pocatello High School, was let go from her job after she posted the photo on the left in which her fiance Tom Harrison cops a feel.

“I don’t feel that it’s an immoral photo, and that’s what the termination is based on,” Cook told Local 8 News. And it should be mentioned that the man touching her breast works at the same school — he is a football coach at Pocatello High School. But did he get fired? No, he was simply “reprimanded.” Cook was apparently fired because she was the one who posted the photo on Facebook.

Cook is fighting the firing, but so far the decision has been upheld. “I would love to be able to coach those girls again,” Cook said. “I love teaching. I love coaching. I love working with the kids.”

And Cook has the support of the parents of her the kids she coaches, who apparently don’t feel that having her breast touched by a man will affect her performance as a coach. “We believe she’s an awesome coach. We think she’s a great influence on our daughters. Did she make some bad choices? Yeah… But I think she received it in a lot of humility,” Dave Reichelt, a parent at the school said. “My daughter has been empowered by coach Cook, and not just in basketball, but in life as well.”

This brings up an important question: should people such as teachers, doctors, and community leaders have different guidelines on how they use Facebook? It may be common sense to not share questionable personal photos and/or instances of TMI on a platform where they could go public, but some still make this mistake. It’s easy to do. Plus, everyone has different standards; while some may think the photo above is shocking, others may see it as totally tame.

The website Edudemic has a handy post entitled Every Teacher’s Must Have Guide to Facebook, which has a downloadable infographic of “8 things teachers should never do on Facebook.” The very first don’t is, “Share personal information that you shouldn’t share with your class (don’t upload pictures of you drinking at a BBQ, in a bathing suit, or other mature images.)” I don’t need to go over the entire list (which is great, by the way), because this first one says it all.

The bothersome thing about this instance is that the photo isn’t that “immoral” or lewd; we’ve all seen worse. Yes, she probably shouldn’t have posted it, but to be fired for a poor judgement call on a single Facebook post seems a bit extreme. Issuing a warning or sending her to the Edudemic website post could have remedied the situation.

Do you think that teachers need to have special training on how to use and not use social media? And do you think that this photo is that “immoral?”

Photo Source: Facebook via Huffington Post

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