Worth a Thousand Words
Here’s another Internet harassment case. This time, a woman complains that she’s been harassed by a kid. A high-school boy took some pictures of his language arts teacher, then posted them on Facebook. He was suspended for three days and is no longer allowed in the teacher’s classroom.
From the information in the article, I don’t see what the fuss was about. The pictures aren’t even completely in focus, and they don’t show any inappropriate behavior. If a parent had walked in and taken these pictures, then put them in the PTA newsletter or on the school website, no one would care. But Rockwood Superintendent Craig Larson makes the boy’s action sound like a betrayal:
"He’s being moved at the teacher’s request because she felt like her trust with him was pretty clearly violated," he said.
If this was her boyfriend, posting nude photos of her on the Internet, then I’d say: Yeah, the trust was violated. But how much does any teacher trust a 15-year-old boy? I would expect a boy that age to, at the very least, Photoshop the pictures and make it look like something gross was going on. The fact that he posted a few inoffensive pictures doesn’t seem like a big deal. Of course, it could be that he’s said derogatory things about teachers on his Facebook profile, but the article doesn’t mention anything like that, and notes that the pictures had no captions.
I also don’t understand how this is an example of sly or nefarious technology use, as this quote implies:
"Kids are so good with technology that it’s like they’re always one step ahead of teachers," said DeeAnn Aull, a spokeswoman for the Missouri chapter of the National Education Association. "And sometimes that technology can be misused."
Taking a picture and putting it on the Internet is "one step ahead"? What technology is the teacher using? Is she still trying to preserve images with a pinhole camera?
Unless there’s evidence that the boy meant something bad by this, I think this teacher should be flattered that she’s cool enough to go on a kid’s Facebook page.
The school claims that the punishment was so harsh because taking the pictures disrupted class. The boy is suing, saying that his free speech rights were violated. I’ve got to side with the boy. Taking a picture could disrupt class for at most a few seconds. That’s the sort of thing you send a kid to the office for you don’t suspend him for three days. And even if it was kind of disruptive, once a student has taken some innocuous photos of normal school activities, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with posting them on the Internet.