Don’t Fire This Teacher Over a Funny Photo of Her Students!

Hi Readers — Here’s another ayekzrnedd
case about kids, safety and social media
that we can parse this way or that, but really, I am asking for not nitpicking. Just sanity.

A 33-year-old middle school math teacher in Akron, OH,  apparently gave one of her 13-year-old students some duct tape to repair a folder. The kid, joking around, put  a piece of the tape over her mouth, laughed, and some other kids followed suit. The teacher, Melissa Cairns, snapped a picture and put it on Facebook with the caption: “Finally found a way to get them to be quiet!!!”

Big. Deal.

Ah, but that is exactly how the Akron Board of Ed is treating it. Its president, Jason Haas, will not predict how the board is going to vote when they decide whether or not the teacher should be fired. As he is quoted as saying, “Why was there duct tape in the classroom? How did they [the students] come to have access to it?”

To which I must ask: How can Mr. Haas even be heard with his head where it is?

Truly, readers, I’m sure there will be comments about the students’ right to privacy, but this is a photo I’d have made sure got into the yearbook. It’s funny. It’s spontaneous. No students were harmed in the making of this goofy thing OR the posting of it. Let’s not make every itty bitty thing into a federal case!

As for how the students came “to have access” (what felicitous phrasing) to the appalling adhesive, I truly hope the board delves deep. Because it’s a real mystery to me: How COULD a teen end up handling a roll of TAPE? It’s almost unprecedented! In GOOD schools, that sort of thing just DOESN’T HAPPEN. – L.

As the Akron, OH, school board so keenly understands: tape and crime go hand in hand.

69 Responses to Don’t Fire This Teacher Over a Funny Photo of Her Students!

  1. SKL January 23, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    Ugh. My poor nephew attends that school system. It’s one thing after another.

  2. SKL January 23, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    My nephew, the one who got suspended (from an Akron middle school) for 6 mos because when another boy attacked him in science lab, he hit back with a tiny piece of flexible rubber – a *weapon.* Oh my word.

    Of course the place is such a mess, they have armed cops in the halls to deal with the actual dangers. But hey – zero tolerance rules.

  3. Warren January 23, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    Of course this is a violation of their right to privacy……….in no way should we look at this as the class coming together as a unit/community to do something innocent, fun and working as a group.

    And don’t you know that all serial killers, rapists and child abductors carry duct tape in their kits. All you have to do is watch Criminal Minds, CSI, and the rest.

    Come on folks, think of the poor kids. I am sure their laughter was extorted out of them by the teacher.

    End of sarcasm.

    I hope that common sense and cooler heads prevail. Unfortunately it will take just one overthetop parent.

  4. lollipoplover January 23, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    The part about this that made me happiest is that she expected a student to fix the problem- repair the folder vs. telling them to have their parents buy them a new folder.
    Duct tape is everywhere- any craft store offers classes on fun projects to do with it. My son used a roll of the shiny silver duct tape over a milk crate to make an Ice Cream Man costume for Halloween. Contraband! Who knew?!

    Get a sense of humor, school board. If necessary, set up social media best practices for your employees to avoid these “issues”. But duct tape is still just duct tape….get over it.

  5. Renee Anne January 23, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    Wow. When I was in middle school, our history teacher handed a couple of my friends a roll of duct tape. They taped their mouths for an entire class (there was a bet going between my friends, our history teacher, and our tech ed teacher about which teacher could get them to be quiet for an entire period first – our history teacher won but the tech ed teacher called shenanigans).

    The only problem I see with this is that the picture found its way to Facebook. If the kids had posted the photo themselves, that would be one thing.

  6. Donald January 23, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    “Why was there duct tape in the classroom? How did they [the students] come to have access to it?”

    I don’t understand. Does the school consider this to be a hazardous item? If so, do they think the child will only be responsible enough to handle this only after they leave school grounds? Did they forget that their job is to prepare kids for adulthood including the times when they can encounter duct tape?

    Please Lenore, let us know the outcome of this

  7. Gina January 23, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    OK..I’m laughing so hard I can barely type this. A teacher gave Middle School kids a roll of DUCT TAPE????

    That’s it. I’m homeschooling from now on.

    As for the posting of the pics…Dear Lord, don’t these parents have REAL issues to deal with?

  8. marciepooh January 23, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

    Maybe duct tape is a ‘gateway’ adhesive? It starts with the innocent taping of ones own mouth but leads to supergluing ones fingers together?

  9. Jim Collins January 23, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    Nah. It was “assault” duct tape.

  10. Rachel January 23, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    These days, I’d expect to see duct tape in art classrooms. Is it only bad if it’s silver?

  11. Jenny Islander January 23, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    @Donald: I am willing to bet that the “logic” in this case was, “Everybody knows that bad guys use duct tape on people these days instead of tying them up with rope and gagging them with socks. So duct tape is always and only bad guy supplies. So even touching a roll of duct tape would lead anybody to commit horrific acts! How dare she have that evil thing in her classroom!”

    As for why it was there, IME it’s the strongest tape available that can be ripped into whatever size pieces you need instead of being cut. Also it’s relatively easy to disentangle if it sticks to itself.

  12. Maureen January 23, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

    Duct taping kid’s mouths is a teacher pipe dream.

    Or is that just me?

  13. ShadowL January 23, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    My son buys and carries around his OWN duct tape!
    Omg what kind of a mother AM I?

    (He is 14, uses it to fix his binder, backpack and makes flowers and origami with it)

  14. Jenna K. January 23, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    I saw this story this morning and wondered if it would get posted here. I think this is silly. I can see how this could be a violation of privacy on the part of the students, but if they aren’t identified in a “tag” on Facebook, I don’t know what the big deal is over the privacy issue. As far as the duct tape, from what I understand the kids voluntarily put it on themselves because they were joking around. They are middle school kids, perfectly capable of taking responsibility for their own actions. If she had forced them to wear it, then it would be wrong. But I don’t think this even warrants any sort of disciplinary action. It’s just silly.

  15. Jackie January 23, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

    Well, I guess those schools and other organizations that have contests for making things like prom outfits, etc. out of duct tape are going to have to rethink. Such an outrage that the use of duct tape should be entrusted to adolescents as an expression of creativity or simple repair!

  16. C. S. P. Schofield January 23, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    What I want to know is, is a room temperature I.Q. a job requirement of the school board in question, or is it that nobody who can count to 12 without taking off his shoes WANTS the job?

  17. Sarah in WA January 23, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

    Most teachers I know are afraid to even have Facebook accounts. They know that students, parents, etc., could find anything they post, and that it could potentially be used against them (just like in this case).

    It’s sad. Why can’t a teacher take a fun picture of her students and share it? Teachers have to work under such a microscope anymore that anything remotely different from the norm puts them in hot water. They’re just not respected. How does putting teachers in constant fear of being scrutinized help anyone?

  18. Jules January 23, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    I don’t see how this is any different than our Christmas card this year: my “naughty” son tying the other three kids up with the string of lights. And this went out to dozens of friends and family, as well as my Facebook friends.
    In addition, there are tons of pictures taken in my children’s school that end up on the school’s facebook page: pictures from school plays, father-daughter dance, field trips…how is this any different?

  19. Care January 23, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

    The concern I have is the teacher posting pics on Facebook. As a teacher this is something that I personally would not do. I think that is important to respect privacy. If the student posted it on their own page then fine. But a teacher should not at anytime post a student’s picture on Facebook. Not because of serial killers and dangers but because it is not up to them to decide if a picture should be posted. Once a picture is posted it is always out there! As for the duct tape itself… that is pretty funny and it’s unfortunate that authorities did not have a sense of humor also!

  20. mollie January 23, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

    Huh. The whole “posting on Facebook” thing, and seeing it as a big deal, eludes me.

    Suggestive photos? Yeah, but that’s a whole other ball of wax, right? A class joke that the kids elected to do themselves, then happily posed for a photo to commemorate it? My guess is that they were all thrilled to have it posted, since that’s part of the game these days, not to just have your moment, but to photograph it, and to broadcast it.

    Fired? Really? Sounds like this is the sort of teacher that knows how to connect with students at the level of fun and play, which is nearly imperative at that age in order to get the respect and learning thing happening.

    It doesn’t mean disorder and chaos, it means light-heartedness and a willingness to laugh. Kids want to do well for a teacher like that, just like they want to do well for a parent like that.

    I mourn the fact that this likely well-meaning and accessible teacher is now in danger of having her career ended. Unfathomable.

    If she’d duct taped the kids’ mouths in anger, or ripped tape off of their faces in such a way that resulted in lacerations, well yeah, fire her, I guess. Even that sort of behaviour from teachers was accepted 25 or 30 years ago.

    Now you can’t even have a good silly laugh with students, then “put it out there” without being fired!

  21. Jenn January 23, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    I used duct tape in my fourth grade class last week for an experiment with light. Somehow my students figured out how to use tape without killing anyone. They all deserve an A!

  22. Emily January 23, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    This is absolutely ridiculous. Now say the guy actually taped the kids mouth, or in the occasion I experienced when I was in second grade, my teacher got frustrated with a kid and actually taped him to his seat. She was able to teach out the year and we were told she retired the following. Who knows if she actually retired, but it was handled a lot differently then this is.

  23. Mike January 23, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

    “To which I must ask: How can Mr. Haas even be heard with his head where it is?”

    Lenore, you make me laugh even when I’m furious!

  24. Emily January 23, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    Oops, I read the story as a male teacher instead of a female. I still think it’s silly none the less.

  25. Donald January 23, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    Only their mouths were taped. Their hands weren’t bound like a child abduction. This was posted on Facebook where people often post funny photos.

    I’m having hard trying to comprehend the harm. However making a teacher wonder about loosing her job over this is very harmful. It sends a message loud and clear that they must walk on eggs. They can be fired at the drop of a hat.

    The fear hysteria is already causing problems. Why fuel it? This is also a terrible message to teach to children.

    “Study hard and get a good job. Just don’t laugh. You may lose it”

    I thing this story tops the one about suspension over shaping your hand to look like a gun

  26. Chihiro January 23, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    Duct tape is a necessity. It has saved my life NUMEROUS times. (Literally, since we use it to patch up props that could potentially fall on people.) I keep a roll of duct tape in my backpack all the time.
    I’d riot if my school tried to ban duct tape.

  27. Jenny Islander January 23, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    I simply do not get the flipouts over kids’ photos being posted in a public venue. If some pervo is going to masturbate to a photo of your child blowing bubbles at the school picnic, the same pervo would have done the same thing to the picture of some other child, or pictures of kids in Parenting or his local newspaper. And it is highly, highly, HIGHLY unlikely that he will be so obsessed by some total stranger’s kid that he will hunt down your family, when so many other children that look just like that are nearby, possibly in his own home. (Because, let’s not forget, most child molesters keep it in the family.)

  28. bernadine snyder January 23, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    Really!!! A teacher was interacting with her students…I can’t believe it. Shameful. The stupidity of people is out of control.i think she needs a better job anyway…I wouldn’t want to work for such a dolt.

  29. Taradlion January 23, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

    They make (and market) Duct Tape to kids. My daughter received peace sign and mustache Duct tape as a gift. I just looked, ALEX makes Duct tape kits to make bracelets and tote bags for age 7 and up.

  30. Donna January 23, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

    I don’t necessarily agree with it, but I could see if the complaint was student privacy and posting their pictures on Facebook. But complaining because of the kids had duct tape? That is just ridiculous.

  31. LRH January 23, 2013 at 10:34 pm #

    Several things.

    First-off, people who have a problem with their child’s photo being posted somewhere are being ridiculous. I say ignore their concerns, because they’re ridiculous. As Lenore has said, photos don’t steal your soul. Besides, it’s not like they’re photos, say, of a fat woman with the headline “{Fill in the Name} is a fat slut” or whatever.

    Second, since when do employers now make it their business what employees are doing outside of their job? To me that’s none of their business, and a law should be drafted to that effect. I don’t care if I work for the NAACP and I post neo-Nazi things on Facebook, that’s irrelevant. I’m serious. I absolutely mean it. If I do the job I’m paid to do 8-5 M/F, that is the only thing that’s their business.

    Enough with this “what you do reflects on us” nonsense. years ago a co-worker of mine was well known to go to lead a very colorful life outside of work but at work, he was all business. There was no notion of someone contacting his boss & trying to get him fired because “I can’t believe you hired someone like that to work at your company,” even if he was wearing his job’s uniform it was a non-issue. More recently, at my last job, we had a front-desk lady who was well known to party hard outside of work and even posted a photo of her 2 year old holding an empty can of beer, but her job was never threatened. She behaved & dressed professionally at work and did her job, so that was it. The notion that such was any of her bosses’ business, or my place to go run & snitch to her superiors about, was regarded as totally inappropriate, and–again–it should be the law.

    Yes, in this case, the photo was taken at work during work, but I’ve certainly heard of cases of, say, teachers being pressured to be fired because of posting photos of them drinking while on vacation. That is completely ridiculous and–I say it a third time–it should be against the law. In fact, when I return to work, this may be the #1 priority with me–you as my boss must absolutely respect that what I do outside of work is none of your business, just as I won’t concern myself with what you do outside of the office. What I do 8-5 M-F in your building is your business, absolutely, but not any other times. You’re not buying me, you’re only hiring me, and my non 8-5/M-F is mine to do as I please, however I please, with whomever I please.


  32. Mary January 23, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    We have Christmas cards depicting nearly the exact same thing, duct tape over mouths, laughing kids and a similar “quiet” sentiment. Everyone loves and laughs at these cards. It’s my most favorited pic on fb. Lighten up school!

  33. bmj2k January 23, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    “Why was there duct tape in the classroom? How did they [the students] come to have access to it?”

    It was in the classroom because it is one of the many things that a creative mind can use to facillitate learning. And that is aside from the obvious use in projects, of course.

    When you criminalize duct tape, only criminals will have duct tape.

  34. Erica January 23, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

    Are we not allowed to have a sense of humor anymore, seriously.

  35. AW13 January 23, 2013 at 11:47 pm #

    I once had a student voluntarily tape his mouth shut for an entire class period. I’d bet him that he couldn’t, he said he would, his friends got in on it and it went from there. When his mom found out about it, she laughed and asked for suggestions to get him to be that quiet at home.

    If I were a parent in this district, I would be on the phone vehemently defending that teacher to the administration. The role of social media in regards to teachers and students is still shifting as new situations arise, but this is just good fun.

    As for the kids having access to duct tape, each year, some company holds a contest in which high school kids make their prom dresses and suits out of duct tape. We always had a few who came to prom in their creations, and as long as the dresses met the dress code, the administration was more than happy to have them there. Some of them were really good, although I don’t think anyone from that school ever won the national prize.

    And @LRH: the fact that teachers are held to a different standard than other professionals in regards to their personal, non-school related lives is something that has always angered me. A doctor in our area was a cocaine addict, busted several times, in and out of rehab, and didn’t have his license revoked until he was caught stealing meds from the hospital, about 10 years after his first drug charge. A local teacher was caught with marijuana in his home and people were calling for the immediate revocation of his license. If we’re going to give a doctor several opportunities before revoking his license, then a teacher should be allowed the same chances. (Quite honestly, I’d be harsher on the doctor, given the nature of that profession, but that’s me.)

  36. Andy Harris January 24, 2013 at 12:11 am #

    This is my email to Superintendent David W. James:

    Dear Superintendent James:

    Regarding Ms. Melissa Cairns Facebook photograph of some of her students wearing duct tape over their mouths, I believe the most important question is this: Is there no room for a sense of humor in the school system? According to printed accounts, the students themselves placed the tape over their own mouths as a joke, and no one objected to the photo. If they could be adult enough to recognize a humorous situation and run with it, why can’t the School Board?

    This reaction smacks of hysteria and should be curbed now before it gets out of hand. The school administrators should be more adult in their reactions than the children they serve.

    Just a word to the wise.

    Very truly yours,
    Andrew Harris, experienced parent
    Bayonne, NJ

  37. ifsogirl January 24, 2013 at 12:16 am #

    I have fond memories of my grade 8 English teacher and his line of duc tape sticky balls he lined up on his desk. If you were out of line he would wing one of these things at you full force. As I was a quiet kid this never happened to me, but from what I could tell the ones that did get it, didn’t really seem to mind. Usually they would laugh and settle back down.

    That was in 89/90 and no one thought anything was wrong with it, it’s just part of how he diciplined his class. He also told us he expected us to behave like adults if we wanted to be treated as adults. And those that did were.

  38. Cheryl January 24, 2013 at 12:29 am #

    I want to see the picture! It seems to be nowhere on the web. Anyway, the original event and its ridiculous aftermath make me chuckle and think of the saying “Silence is golden, but duct tape is silver.” And to think that I brought no less than eight rolls of duct tape on my most recent Moms + Kids vacation for crafting purposes. The kids made placemats, wallets, jewelry, wallets, ties, etc. Great fun. Our library system even hosts duct tape crafting events. Or at least they used to…

  39. Rick January 24, 2013 at 12:55 am #

    Yes, I’ve read accounts of this story… and the duct tape seems to be the red herring here. From what I understand, the “horrendous” infraction is more about the posting of the picture on Facebook.

    Now, I think there’s several layers to peel back here, and I’m not sure I have the space without creating my own dang blog post!

    First… I’m just going to throw out the whole duct tape argument. It’s silly, and anyone with an IQ over 40 or so knows that kids will play with stuff… even nefarious duct tape.

    Second… I’m going to assume (because I haven’t read otherwise) that the school district has some sort of policy regarding posting photos of students on public areas of the internet (such as Facebook). So, yes, what she did was an infraction of the rules.

    But, here’s the rub. She’s been a teacher for 10 years now… a veteran of the classroom. Really, is the school district going to, open-eyed, flush the accomplishments of 10 years of working with the youth of their city down the drain over one Facebook photo? Really? Is this an appropriate punishment for breaking this rule?

    Third… and here’s the part I don’t know if I want to even broach because it could take MANY paragraphs and/or pages… what’s the big deal about posting kids’ photos on Facebook… or any other place? Do they assume that pedophiles are trolling Facebook pages looking for that one kid… and, then… what? They’re going to track them down and abduct them like a modern-day Travis Bickle seeking Jodie Foster?

    My own employer has a prohibition of we teachers moving any photos of our kids outside our physical walls. We have a class camera, but those pictures are to stay ONLY on our computer. Never are we to post them anywhere. Especially Facebook.

    And when they laid out the rules, they did so in such solemn tones that we all understood implicitly that VERY horrible things could and probably would happen to any child whose photo appeared on the internet. It was said in such a way that to disagree in any way would not only demonstrate complete stupidity and crass disregard for the safety of our students, but would bring suspicion upon the disagreeable party as well (are YOU a pedophile who nightly scans facebook for your next target?)

    It’s all rubbish. And at some point, we will wake up and find that we are actually in the 21st century.

    The only exceptions I can think of are photos of children who are in a situation where an abusive parent has been court-ordered away from their former family and does not know where they live… or the children of someone in the Witness Protection Program. Both very RARE and unusual situations.

    But, I digress.

    I just hope that this teacher gets her life back. Pretty stupid stuff to be battling for your job over.

  40. bmommyx2 January 24, 2013 at 2:24 am #

    This is so ridiculous

  41. Donald January 24, 2013 at 3:10 am #

    I’m trying to make sense out of this. I suspect that it has nothing to do with duct tape. I suspect that teachers are not allowed to post anything on Facebook which shows a student. Why? because it is a blanket policy. If not for this, a student may protest “You didn’t have my permission to do so”.

    That’s my theory. That’s the only thing that makes sense.

    However, the statement, “Why was there duct tape in the classroom? How did they [the students] come to have access to it?” blows that theory away.

  42. Jen Connelly January 24, 2013 at 3:24 am #

    I don’t get the thing over posting pictures of kids online either. My dad went off on me over Christmas about posting pictures of my kids on Facebook because “some pedophile could see them” or “something bad could happen.”

    I just laughed. He was dead serious and all worried. What the frak is going to happen? Other than my family and friends on Facebook get to see pictures of my kids since we live on the complete other side of the country from almost all of them.

    My kids schools send home a photo permission slip at the beginning of every year. You sign it if you’re okay with their pictures showing up in the newspaper and online or in the school (outside of the yearbook). I always sign because I don’t care. They have some up on their individual class sites. But the school itself posts pictures of the kids on Facebook. I love to look at them.

  43. Beth January 24, 2013 at 9:09 am #

    My kids are out of school so I don’t know – do schools have yearbooks any more?

    I know they’re not on the internet, but anyone can purchase one, and a yearbook can contain hundreds of photos of kids, most of them with the name of the student(s) being pictured. My kids’ schools had yearbooks for elementary on up, so younger kids were pictured too.

    Seems like pretty scary stuff for the school to promote…..after all, anything can happen. >sarcasm off<

  44. Captain America January 24, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Oh this is horse shit.

    With respect to posting kids pictures on the internet, your local newspaper does it all the time.

    Or we should just shut down the sports section.

    I just don’t see the “danger”: sure there are perverts out there, but how does this really impact anyone?

  45. pentamom January 24, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    These kids are THIRTEEN YEARS OLD and duct tape in the classroom is something to be questioned?

    Good grief.

  46. pentamom January 24, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    I agree that the duct tape isn’t the driving issue, but the fact that the board president spoke as though it was an issue at all is a problem in itself.

  47. Marie January 24, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    In 8th grade, I was bound in duct tape by a science teacher for a project that I can’t quite remember– as were a wealth of other students. It was fun, the photos even made it into the year book and nobody flipped out because we weren’t insane. This happened last year, hardly a different time.

  48. Marie January 24, 2013 at 11:22 am #

    And as far as posting pictures on Facebook– those kids are in a public place, recording in public places of anyone is completely legal. Perhaps against policy, but it is legal. Nobody should ever friend their boss on Facebook, though.

  49. EricS January 24, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    So not only have people lost common sense in this day and age, they also lost their sense of humor. I fear for the future everyday, knowing the children of our future are learning from dummies. The holier than thou, self-centered, insecure, paranoid parents. And authorities of the same mind-set, because they are reacting to these same parents. Literally, these people are messing up children, and causing problems for the people who still believe in common sense and old school upbringing. Pitiful.

  50. EricS January 24, 2013 at 11:39 am #

    @Marie: People need to start smartening up about social media. Rule of thumb, NEVER post anything online you don’t want the whole world to know. Because they will. And my advise to people who just have to post anything and everything online, make 2 accounts. A “professional” account that you have to give to your employers if required. And a dummy account for your family and friends. And don’t use your real name for the dummy account. It won’t matter, your friends know who you are already. Also, this way, if anyone decides they want to creep on you, they can’t find you under your real name. This isn’t paranoia, this is protecting yourself and your online privacy.

  51. LRH January 24, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    Marie Not only should people not friend their boss on Facebook, their boss shouldn’t compel them to. However, the main point I wish to make–people should have the decency to stop “snitching” and relaying information & postings etc they were privy to but the person clearly didn’t mean for EVERYONE to be privy to. They ought to have the sense to realize this person was meaning to share only within this “circle” and that in relaying it to someone outside of that circle, especially when the intention is to “bring it to their attention” in a way clearly meant to “snitch” on this person, you are violating a circle of trust. It’s one thing if you think the photo is funny and you’re just sharing the humor with others, but when you do so meaning to tell on the other person and get them in trouble, you’re in the wrong.

    As long as bosses and such use this information and act on it, “friends” are going to continue believing that it’s perfectly fine to relay such postings to other persons outside the “circle” to people it was meant to NOT be seen by, and that’s unethical. Bosses should have the decency to realize they’re getting a peek into someone’s personal world, and that’s not any of their business, and it’s “ill-gotten gains” besides.


  52. Emily January 24, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    We used much more dangerous things in school than duct tape, and I was in the public school system from 1989-2003, when the bubble-wrappishness had started, but I guess I escaped the worst of it. We used real (ish) scissors in kindergarten, Exacto knives in grade six, power tools in grade seven and eight, and fairly dangerous chemicals in science starting in grade nine. Nobody thought anything of that, and nobody tried to accuse me of doing “drugs” for keeping Tylenol or similar on hand (I used to get frequent headaches), or for keeping a nail file in my clarinet case, mainly for breaking in reeds. Now, my experience wasn’t perfect, but at least nobody tried to prevent anyone from using legitimate school supplies, on spurious grounds of “safety.”

  53. Beth January 24, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    “NEVER post anything online you don’t want the whole world to know. Because they will.”

    My FB settings are that only friends can view my postings and photos, and they cannot repost my stuff. What the public can view on my page is very limited. Please explain how the whole world will be able to view and know my postings?

  54. Donna January 24, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    @Beth – Your friends may not be able to repost your photos, but they can certainly repost anything you write in your status updates. They can also log into their account and show anyone who wants to see them your pictures.

    I love Facebook. Even with controls, I would no more put something on Facebook that I didn’t want the whole world to know than I would stand on the street corner and shout anything I don’t want the whole world to know. I don’t expect the whole world to really know everything on my Facebook page but I am well aware that my friends can tell their friends who can tell their friends and so on. If I post a picture, it needs to be with the knowledge that my friends can show that picture to anyone else within view of a computer (which is everyone who comes in contact with my friends thanks to smartphones). Back before I moved to 1995 and had to give up my smartphone, there were many times when I was killing time in court, checking Facebook that I would show my coworkers something funny someone I knew posted. And them me.

    The teacher was an idiot for posting the picture on Facebook knowing there was a rule against posting pictures of students on Facebook. I don’t think she should be fired for posting the picture, although I’m not sure that she shouldn’t be fired for being completely stupid (not really, but how dumb can you be).

  55. LRH January 24, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    Donna What you are talking about is technically possible, yes, but I would consider that a violation of ethics. If someone is creating a Facebook site, a site that is all about having “friends” and your posts being confined to that circle of things, and they have made efforts towards privacy (look how crazy people go when they discover “leaks” in the Facebook design), with such things as making posts “friends only” (vs “public” or “friends of friends”) then they are obviously making effort towards their topics within that site being for their target audience ONLY. Period.

    If you, as one of their friends, make a point to show this information to someone else outside this realm, especially if it’s not done with the idea that said person will enjoy it (like when old family members show photos of my children to people who don’t have a computer at all) but instead with the aspect present of tattle-talling, that is highly unethical and wrong and the recipient of the information should ignore it for that very reason.

    People create these sites with the idea of sharing, but only to those people. They’re looking for a place, in the “virtual” realm, where they can talk about their life, showcase it via pictures etc, and for it to be ONLY in that realm alone, nowhere else whatsoever. That expectation is totally reasonable & should be held to.

    For someone to relay information outside this circle knowing the person doesn’t want that, especially when it’s more than just sharing photos with an older person without a PC etc, but is in fact about tattle-talling everything that person said and was only meaning to say within that circle, that is just plain dirty and wrong. It’s no different than if someone were talking to someone in person in their house, or writing snail-mail letters to them, and this person went out of their way to show it to someone whom they knew the original sender didn’t want seeing it.

    In fact, I “de-friended,” both in the Facebook sense and in the real sense, a long-time cousin/friend because they didn’t respect this standard. They made a point to go out of their way to relay to my mother, who has no computer, what I was saying in my social site with regards to my free-range parenting style. My mother is very much not a free-range type of person–she was when we were little, not at all now, she totally buys into the “weirdos in the park” hype & such. My mother & this friend/cousin are several states away, my mother wouldn’t have incidentally seen things glancing over this person’s shoulder. This person went out of their way to relay this information to my mother. To me, that’s gossip. I told my mother if she wanted info on how I lived my life, ask ME, don’t get your information third/fourth hand that way and think I’m going to dignify such with any sort of response. This “friend/cousin” is now totally ex-communicated from my life in every regard because of this.

    People shouldn’t have to censure their Facebook behavior on account of such imbeciles. The imbeciles need to stop BEING imbeciles.


  56. Donna January 24, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

    LRH – It is not only technically possible, it is 100% legal. Personally, I think people who put things out on Facebook that they don’t want everyone in their life to know is the imbecile. You know someone is going to mention it at some time. Even if not trying to rat you out, but incidentally through conversation. You tell me something in confidence and I will take it to my grave. I don’t consider a single word you put on Facebook for all of your hundreds of “friends” to read a secret that I need to keep. Nor am I going to play petty games of hide the info that you posted on Facebook from mommy. I’m not going to intentionally rat you out but I’m not going to help you hide it either. I finished middle school a long time ago.

  57. LRH January 24, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    I’m not going to intentionally rat you out but I’m not going to help you hide it either. I finished middle school a long time ago.

    That’s correct. In my case, and in many of these cases, I think that’s what’s going on. I’m sure that in some cases it’s incidental and unintentional, but in many cases, especially where someone shows someone’s boss etc what someone said, it’s on purpose, or, as you put it, “ratting out.” Yes, that is technically legal, but that doesn’t make it right, and a person shouldn’t have to apply censorship to their site based on such potential deliberate breeches. People who “rat out” are the ones who most certainly flunked middle school a long time ago. It’s the adult version of tattle-talling or “telling tales out of school.”


  58. Emily January 24, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    Good grief.

    Let’s attack what I assume to be the real problem: the school and/or district had some media policy that was broken in this situation. Let’s look at the teacher’s infraction in a fair and balanced light taking the policy and her years of service into account. I’m sure we all have our opinions on the Facebook posting, but that’s what should be the issue, if there must be an issue.

    But to bring up something as silly as DUCT TAPE?

  59. Donna January 24, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

    LRH – Do I think bosses should care what their employees do in their off hours? No. It is irrelevant to the job and I see no point in censoring what I do in my time off because my boss might find out, but I’m not a wild and crazy girl.

    Am I a complete idiot if I put “my boss is a doodoohead” as my status when I’m Facebook friends with coworkers? Absolutely!! There is no way he’s not going to hear about it and I asked for it by making thoughts better kept to myself, or at least more private, public. Views expressed, stances taken, thoughts posted are all things you send out into the world by your own choice. People are going to talk about them. In fact, that is why you throw them out there in a public forum (public meaning all your Facebook friends) rather than sharing with some friends in a private conversation.

    (FYI my boss is not a doodoohead).

  60. LRH January 24, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

    The boss wouldn’t hear about it if the co-workers kept the comments “compartmentalized” within their “circle” of the site. I would say, if that talk is after hours, and doesn’t name names, it’s still irrelevant, and shouldn’t effect your job any. Now if you mention your boss by name and link to their profile, I could sort of see it then, but not otherwise. But I sure ought to be able to vent about my cranky boss on my site, no names given, all I want, with zero repercussions. If that means having no coworkers as friends & not listing my company by name in the “employer” field, so be it, but I’m surely within my rights to vent about my job after hours all I want to, with zero repercussions.


  61. pentamom January 26, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    LRH — as we’ve discussed before, you may be within your rights, but you can’t act like the kid who walks out into the street without looking, on the basis that pedestrians have the right of way and cars have the obligation to stop. What your “rights” are and what’s stupid to do get assessed on different levels. Reality doesn’t always fit the ideal. Should you be “allowed” to mock your boss with no repercussions in a place that is widely viewable by people who might not maintain your confidence? Of course you should. Should you “expect” that you can never get into trouble by doing that, or that that protesting that you were “allowed” to do it can make the trouble go away? That’s a childish expectation.

  62. Rebecca M January 26, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

    We love Duct tape- especially the colorful ones- at our school- kids use it to make wallets and folders etc. I wrap all my pencils in it so I can identify ones I’ve loaned out to kids.

  63. Meg January 27, 2013 at 12:20 am #

    Sorry-not o.k.

    I’m a teacher, and I would never, ever post a picture of a student on Facebook.

    I would be furious if my child’s picture was posted on Facebook without my explicit permission, and I find duct tape (which is potentially abrasive), on a child’s mouth to be obnoxious, and an odd use of instructional time.
    Yes, my students have fiddled around with tape-one was taping his fingers together just the other day, but I’m certainly not going to encourage this by using my class time to take funny snaps of it before I post them to a public site wherein posted pics become global public property.

    Pie throw if you want.

  64. LRH January 27, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    Yes, Meg, I’m pie-throwing.

    What in the WORLD sort of harm is going to come from your child’s photo being online? Are aliens going to come down & abduct them from Uranus or something? I just find this sort of paranoia beyond silly. I’m all for respecting parental authority, hard core, but getting uptight over a photo of your child is just baseless.It harms nothing. I’m all for respecting a person’s feeling somewhat as well, but there are some to which I say “heck with it, lighten up, get over it already,” and this is most certainly one of them.

    It’s because of those sorts of attitudes that I, a hobbyist photographer, get hassled while out taking photos in public. Most times I’m just photographing scenery like a sunset, but other times–yes, I see someone else’s child doing something cute, it’s a precious candid moment, and yes, I take a photo. Don’t like it? Tough. Get over it already. It’s a legal activity, it’s artistic if done correctly on top of that, and I’m not going to censor myself because someone gets uptight over nonsense.

    pentamom I stand by what I said. Sometimes that something is right fundamentally is reason enough to do what you think is right, to heck with the torpedoes, and when consequences result, don’t say “well that’s what happens when you do that,” but instead fight it based on the fundamentals. I would suggest the posting on Facebook on your own time in whatever way you please is one of those.


  65. Jodie January 28, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    Ok, if this teacher is fired, then we really have gotten way too protective of our kids!

  66. Hatter January 28, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    There are times where I really question the sanity of authoritative figures.

    Yes, I myself have asked in the past while at youth retreats and ski trips and the like for my picture to not be posted on Facebook or advertisements, but I made that descision myself, mainly because I like to know what pictures are and are not accessable to everyone (and I’m not exactly the most photogenic person on God’s Green Earth hahaha). Also, I feel if companies take my picture and use it for ads, I should receive some sort of payment.

    My point is, even though I honestly don’t see the big deal if the kids consented to have their photo taken, they were responsible enough to make that choice ON THEIR OWN and therefore parents shouldn’t get their panties in a twist about it.

  67. Kim February 6, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    It would be nice if there was information to send a letter note petition on her behalf….

  68. Margaret Jones July 18, 2013 at 9:18 am #

    Political correctness gone mad. What happened to having a sense of humour.


  1. Man Bites Dog! Students Trick Teacher Into No-Tolerance Violation On Facebook! | Ethics Alarms - January 25, 2013

    […] Haas, head of the Akron Board of Education, was quoted as saying, “Why was there duct tape in the classroom? How did  [the students] come to have access to it?” […]