Ohio middle school teacher Melissa Cairns could lose her job after she posted photos of her students on Facebook. In what appears to be an ill-conceived joke the teacher placed duct tape across her students mouths and then posted the following message:
“Finally found a way to get them to be quiet!!!”
The Akron Board of Education has placed Melissa Cairns on administrative leave as they investigate claims of student privacy violations and inappropriate social media use.
Jason Haas, president of the Akron Board of Education tells Good Morning America:
“This is the start of my sixth year on the board. In that time, we haven’t had a case come before us for potential disciplinary action for posting a picture to social media websites. Has she violated the students’ privacy? That’s what we’re concerned about. Everyone seems to be focused on the duct tape.”
In a public statement regarding the Facebook duct tape photos Sarah Hollander, communications officer for Akron Public Schools, noted:
“There were about 15 or 16 middle school students in the class. Eight or nine students put the tape on their mouths. Cairns took a photo and posted it on her personal Facebook page as a joke. The photo wasn’t dated, but was likely taken in late September or early October 2012. Principal Sonya Gordon asked Cairns to take the photo down. She also alerted parents of students in the class.”
According to Cairns the students put the duct tape over their mouths as a joke and she simply took the photo.
Cairns has asked to go in front of an impartial board to plead her case. The outcome of the school boards decision could have far reaching implications in terms of social media privacy and education.
Do you think Melissa Cairns should be allowed to keep her job after the Facebook duct tape photo incident?