People do need to have private lives, though at least one school superintendent feels otherwise. He suspended Kimberly Hester, a teacher’s aide, because she wouldn’t show him her Facebook page. Here’s the story, as reported by wsbt.com:
“It was very mild, no pornography,” she said of the picture she posted in April 2011. The picture shows that co-worker’s pants around her ankles, and a pair of shoes. “It wasn’t at work, it was off work time,” Hester added.
Wait, naked ankles? And pants around those naked ankles? No wonder she was suspended! Think of the children!
At the time, Hester was a teacher’s aide at Frank Squires Elementary in Cassopolis. According to a letter from the Cassopolis schools superintendent to the Lewis Cass Intermediate superintendent, a parent who was friends with Hester on Facebook notified the school about the picture.
The Juice feels for that parent’s kids.
A few days later, Lewis Cass ISD superintendent Robert Colby called her into his office.
“He asked me three times if he could view my Facebook and I repeatedly said I was not OK with that,” Hester told WSBT.
In all seriousness, The Juice applauds Ms. Hester’s principled stand.
In a letter to Hester from the Lewis Cass ISD Special Education Director, he wrote “…in the absence of you voluntarily granting Lewis Cass ISD administration access to you[r] Facebook page, we will assume the worst and act accordingly.”
It’s kind of funny that the fired teacher’s aide is doing the real teaching, while the idiotic superintendent is teaching kids that personal privacy and boundaries are essentially nonexistent. So what’s Ms. Hester doing now?
Hester said Colby put her on paid administrative leave and eventually suspended her.
Much to her credit, she’s fighting it.
“I stand by it,” Hester said. “I did nothing wrong. And I would not, still to this day, let them in my Facebook. And I don’t think it’s OK for an employer to ask you.”
But what about the legality of the superintendent’s actions?
… University of Notre Dame labor law professor Barbara Frick said the school didn’t break any laws by asking for Hester’s Facebook information.
Right now there are no state or federal laws protecting social media privacy in the workplace, Frick said.
This needs to be remedied. Good luck to Ms. Hester, who goes to arbitration on this in May.