CT Teacher Confessions on Facebook

We all know about Web sites like Myspace and Facebook.  You or your child probably even has a page of your own.  There's a good chance your child's teacher has one too.

We wanted to find how many teachers do have Facebook pages so we joined the Connecticut network.

We searched the Web site under 'favorite school system', and bam, the public profiles of dozens of teachers appeared at our fingertips.

"I'm just shocked right now," one parent said after we showed her what we found on Facebook.
One Berlin public school teacher displayed several bumper stickers laced with profanity.  One woman who identified herself as a West Hartford paraprofessional posted a video of a stripper falling on her head.  Another teacher admits "being bad", "self-medicating" and "being stalked by girls" are just some of her interests.

"As a parent, no parent would want to know their kids are in school with someone with this on their Facebook page," said another parent.

In many states, teachers have been fired or suspended for inappropriate Myspace and Facebook profiles.  Here in Connecticut, an Ansonia teacher is out of a job because of his Myspace page. The school district did not renew his contract because of profanity on the page. Although the teacher sued, a judge threw out the case.
Throughout the state, we found regulation is somewhat lax and, in many cases, left to the teacher's own discretion.

“It’s very disturbing what I just read, I can't believe it," another parent said after we showed her our Facebook findings.

Parents we talked with feel the school districts should do more to monitor these sites.

"These kids go on the Internet more than I do, and I'm sure they are reading this and this is not the message I'd want my kids to get from their teachers," a parent said.

On another page, one teacher posts under the “work info” heading, Newington Public Schools, Special Education Teacher.

Portions of the page are professional, however, it also displays multiple bumper stickers, including one that uses an offensive word for a woman's genitalia. There's also a  piece of flair that reads "I teach, therefore I drink."

In West Hartford, guidance counselors talk to students about the dangers of such Web sites and their influence on college admissions counselors.

We went to the West Hartford assistant superintendent to find out if any rules exist for teachers.

"We don't regulate it and can't because it's not our area, but we just ask people to use good judgment," said Tim Dunn.

In West Hartford, the district deals with complaints on a case-by-case basis.

We showed Assistant Superintendent Dunn some specific examples we found online.

"Comments like this really don't help. It's not what we expect. Frankly, it's not what I think students need to see their teachers reflecting," Dunn said.

It's a tough lesson outside the classroom, for the folks teaching inside it.

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