In an interesting article appearing in the June 25th edition of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, issues concerning how Facebook can impact the lives of teachers was reviewed. It is increasingly quite common for employers to review Facebook listings by prospective employees, and this apparently is now becoming a practice followed by school districts prior to hiring a new teacher. Lynn Gebel, who will begin teaching this year, took off many items on her Facebook account, because ‘I didn’t want administrators to see anything” they would dislike. Teachers are growing aware their own students can access Facebook accounts and a photo of the individual in a provocative pose will shortly be distributed around the school.
Jacquie Shipma of the Missouri NEA, says “I tell them if you printed out everything that’s on your page and everything that is accessible from your page would you be comfortable with that being taped to your classroom door?” Across the country there have been many examples of teachers losing jobs due to MySpace or Facebook materials. A Colorado English teacher lost her job because of sexually explicit poetry on her MySpace site.
There are also examples of students posting materials about teachers such as placing the head of a teacher on a nude body or taking a picture of a teacher who is bending over and posting it online.
The new world of MySpace and Facebook offer many exciting opportunities as well as troublesome issues.