Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Oh No You Didn't Say That

Working on a presentation tomorrow for faculty at Northwestern State University on a new set of guidelines for social media usage. One of the things I shared with me by current faculty is a problem with colleagues who have used Facebook to inappropriately interact with students. No, not in that way.

One that posted on a student's wall that they needed to turn in assignments; another why haven't you been to class.

The extreme case was of snippets of poor essays posted on a teacher's Facebook for friends to make snarky comments.

Into this space, enter the case of one Amanda Tatro. Granted, she was a student at University of Minnesota who was dismissed for having threatened general violence against people she was frustrated with on her Facebook page, along with some other less than savory comments about misuse of cadavers.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld Minnesota's decision, citing the U.S. Supreme Court's precedent that schools can limit or discipline student expression.

I'm more interested in the wider implications, driven home by It seems part of the technical finding was that Tatro had her privacy setting for "friends" and "friends of friends" to see her wall posts. Thus, exposing her to hundreds of people -- hardly private venting as her lawyer argued. By saying they comments were wide spread, the Minnesota court found she had chosen to broadcast her threats.

The internet is filled with examples of people facing discipline over ripping students, making threatening "satire" comments not unlike Tatro or simply being fired for ripping the company.

To some extent, this should be common sense. FERPA is pretty clear about what you should and should not reveal about students.

No comments: