Teacher Forced to Resign Over Facebook Picture Containing Alcohol

Filed in Gather News Channel by on February 8, 2011 0 Comments

A teacher named Ashley Payne faced an uncompromising ultimatum when personal Facebook pictures of her wielding a goblet of wine and a cup of beer were revealed to her superior. When Payne, 24, was confronted with the news of these pictures, she was advised to voluntarily resign or to be brutally suspended.  Payne was an English teacher in Barrow County, Georgia at the time.

Ashley Payne claims to have set her privacy settings on Facebook to high, which should have made her discriminating photos and intimate conversations accessible to friends only. Apparently she had displayed profanity on her page as well, where she was noted using the “B” word.  When commenting on her personal pictures and use of profanity, Payne stated, “I wouldn’t use it in a classroom, no. But Facebook is not the classroom. And it’s not open to the students of my classroom. They are not supposed to see it. I have privacy in place so they don’t see it.”

Do users of social networking sites have less privacy then they think? Should professionals, such as teachers who are looked up to as role models, refrain from using these social sites to display their personal lives?

According to CBS News, when confronted by the principal of her school, Payne stated, “He just asked me, ‘Do you have a Facebook page?’ And you know, I’m confused as to why I am being asked this, but I said, ‘Yes.’ And he said, ‘Do you have any pictures of yourself up there with alcohol?'” It was then that Payne says that she was asked to resign or to be suspended.  “He told me that I needed to make a decision before I left, or he was going to go ahead and suspend me,” she said.

This incident occurred in August of 2009, and Miss Payne has since hired an attorney and is in a desperate fight to regain her teaching position.  Payne’s lawyer, Richard Storrs, stated, “It would be like I went to a restaurant and I saw my daughter’s teacher sitting there with her husband having a glass of some kind of liquid,” Storr said. “You know, is that frowned upon by the school board? Is that illegal? Is that improper? Of course not. It’s the same situation in this case.”  The critical pictures of Ashley Payne were taken while she was vacationing in Europe. Do you feel as though the actions taken upon this teacher were justifiable? Or, do you feel as though Miss Payne’s final proposal was a bit harsh?

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia

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I'm just a down to earth southern girl whose family comes first! I love nature and all it has to offer, which is probably why I admire gardening. The process is absolutely beautiful and rewarding. Photography is a passion of mine, especially nature shots

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