Constitutional rights for teachers:
•Substantive and procedural due process rights, including the teacher's right to receive notice of termination and right to hearing
•Freedom of expression and association provided by the First Amendment
•Academic freedom, a limited concept recognized by courts based on principles of the First Amendment
•Protection against unreasonable searches and seizures by school officials of a teacher's personal property
What does this mean for teacher's and their personal rights?
Following the district's policies and avoiding situations that involve the following components will help one be protected from unjust termination. These scenarios can be on or off school grounds, in person, or on social media.
• Immoral conduct • Incompetence • Neglect of duty • Substantial noncompliance with school laws • Conviction of a crime • Insubordination • Fraud or misrepresentation
Example of inappropriate use of social media: Carly McKinney, a 23-year-old math teacher at Overland High School in Aurora, Co., had a job until the school district heard about some racy tweets. They included topless and other revealing self-portraits and messages like "stay sexy ... stay high ... stay drunk," as well as referring to a student as "jail bait" and saying that she was high while grading papers.
McKinney claimed that the Twitter account was a parody that she set up with friends. Students rallied to her defense. School administrators first put her on paid administrative leave and then fired her.
Muskegon Mi.- A new school district policy warns that employees will “be held responsible” if images depicting “use of alcohol, drugs or anything students are prohibited from doing” are posted on such online. The article states if a teacher posts “someone” drinking alcohol, not just themselves.
As teachers, we should hold the same moral and ethical standards as we expect from our children. "The most powerful leadership tool you have, is your own example" -John Wooden
Teachers and social media- this does not mean we cannot use social media, it means what we do and say (even what we think is secure and private) can and will be seen. In my life, I refrain from posting photos or words involving cursing, alcohol, smoking, drug use, nudity etc.
We must first know our beliefs and biases to know what we need to be most mindful of. Other keys to an inclusive classroom includes treating each student as an individual, be sensitive to terminology and language that may offend, be open to learning about cultural differences and letting students share what makes them unique, have varying lessons and guest speakers that reach all students, make the classroom a safe place students can be themselves.
To use technology effectively, one must know how to use it correctly. According to the U.S. Copyright Office, copyright is "a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works." Under the law, the individual or entity that owns the copyright of a work has the following rights:
- Reproduction: Making copies - Adaptation: Changing a work in some way - Distribution: Giving the work to others - Public Performance: Playing/performing a work in front of others - Public Display:Displaying a work for others to view - Digital Transmission of Sound Recordings: Capturing audio files on the internet and burning CDs/file sharing
When teachers put their best foot forward, the students benefit! Our job is to inspire, lead, and ensure knowledge is gained through exploration and thought. We have expectations for our children and students to act with a certain level of moral compass, a moral compass we lead by example to create a caring culture. When we post controversial items on social media, or moonlight in an unprofessional business, the community we serve develops negative feelings towards us. We cannot be successful if our students do not have trust and respect for us.