My Facebook Account is MINE, not Yours

Example number 1 – Kimberly Hester

According to ZDNet, Kimberly Hester signed into her Facebook account while she was not at work. She jokingly posted a picture of a co-worker’s pants around her ankles, with the caption “Thinking of you.” A parent and Facebook friend saw Hester’s photo and complained to the school, not to Hester…to the school.

A few days later, the school district superintendent reportedly requested three times that Hester hand over her user name and password. Hester refused each time. She was put on paid administrative leave and eventually suspended. She’s filed suit against the school district, arbitration scheduled for May.

Facebook privacy is a tricky thing. The settings are complex; and even if you aren’t friends with ME, depending on the post, and how I have it secured, if you’re friends with one of my friends, you may be able to the post and comment on it. Which brings up a number of questions…

Obviously, the questions of 1) why was Hester taking photos in the restroom, and 2) what made her think that would be ok to post notwithstanding, what really makes me concerned and curious about the whole thing would be, 3) if the post offends YOU, why would you report it to the school? Why wouldn’t you either a) contact Hester and see if you could get her to take it down, or b) contact Facebook and report an inappropriate post?

Why in the WORLD would you involve the school?! What..?!? Are WE 9 years old now, too?? Did this REALLY need to go to the school district; or would a well thought out private note via Facebook’s own messaging system that requested her to take down the offending post more appropriately do the job? Saving that, Facebook has its own procedures for censoring offensive or inappropriate material…and they are really very serious about it; and really rather quick to respond.

The complainers in question, in my opinion did nothing more than complicate the issue unnecessarily, and could be (and perhaps should be) held liable for the court and arbitration costs.

While I TOTALLY agree that the post was sophomoric and immature and perhaps grossly inappropriate, the people that complained, while justified in their complaint, did so inappropriately and to the WRONG people. What they (the complainers) did was immature and inappropriate. The actions the school district took – demanding login credentials and suspending her for refusing to provide them – was in appropriate.

What they should have done was get her for taking an inappropriate photograph in the restroom and then posting it to the internet (not necessarily to Facebook). They had NO cause to demand login credentials. Compelling her to remove the post…of course; but canning her because she refused to provide login credentials so they can go on a fishing expedition for what may be considered additional, inappropriate content is not warranted.

What the school board has done by terminating her over this after hours, conducted on non-school owned computer equipment and network is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Finally, to all those involved…grow up please.

You’re supposed to be examples to this nation’s next generation of adults. You’re not doing a very commendable job right now.

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