For some time now we’ve been hearing about grade school administrations that have been holding students accountable for things they post to social network sites when they are not at school. There have been numerous stories of students who have been suspended, kept from their prom or graduation, etc. because of something they posted to Facebook, or some other social media.
Well, apparently its ok to punish students for doing that but when a teacher does it, then its free speech.
This high school teacher from Florida recently went on a rant on Facebook about New York approving gay marriage. He certainly has a right to his own opinion, although I’m not sure why he cares so much about what goes on in a state he doesn’t live in, but I digress. According to this article http://huff.to/pzCUp0 the teacher
“wrote on his Facebook page that he “almost threw up” when he was having dinner and news came on of New York’s decision to allow same-sex marriage showed up July 25.
“If they want to call it a union, go ahead,” Buell wrote, according to ClickOrlando.com. ”But don’t insult a man and woman’s marriage by throwing it in the same cesspool as same-sex whatever! God will not be mocked. When did this sin become acceptable???”
Now, this guy has over 700 friends on Facebook, so this isn’t really a “private” matter, or just his opinion, he’s got a bit of a pulpit there and he is using it. Ok, fine, his choice. Although some of his friends did push back (and he promptly told them to unfriend him if they didn’t like what he wrote), but still others started a Facebook page to support him. All of that is their right, I guess, sort of, until it become hate speech, then…not so much anymore. Substitute the idea of “blacks” or “jews” or [insert any other minority group name here] and we’re talking prejudice, the kind that land people in some big trouble.
Well, according to the tweet that directed me to this article, the teacher was suspended but has since been reinstated. According to the HuffPo article, this teacher claims “everything was done on a personal basis: on his own time and personal computer at home.” [note: the quote is from the author of the article and not necessarily an attribution to the teacher]
Wait – hold on one second. Lets roll back to the beginning of my blog post here. Schools are holding students accountable for the things they say on social networks when they are not at school, on their own time, and not using school equipment. But according to this guy, its ok for him to spout anti-gay sentiments because, as he told The Sentinel that’s his “way I interpret things” and he was doing it not at work, on his own time, and not using school equipment.