School authorities might want to give some thought to policies governing whether teachers and students can interact on social networking sites such as Facebook.
The New York Post has published a juicy story about three New York City teachers who were reportedly suspended for inappropriate dealings with students on Facebook. In one case, former Bronx teacher Chadwin Reynolds, apparently “friended” about a half-dozen female students and wrote comments like, “This is sexy,” under some of their Facebook photos. The 37-year-old former teacher at Fordham High School for the Arts allegedly tried to get one teen to go out with him by getting her phone number and sending her flowers, candy and a teddy bear. He also allegedly posted a status update that read, “I’m not a gynecologist, but I’ll take a look inside”, despite knowing that his students could read it.
In other incidents reported by the Post, Laurie Hirsch, 30, formerly of Bryant High School in Long Island City, Queens, lost her job after her Facebook friendships led to a relationship with a former student. Meanwhile, in Manhattan, substitute teacher Stephen D’Andrilli “friended” several female students at Essex Street Academy on Facebook and sent messages such as telling one girl that her “boyfriend [did not] deserve a beautiful girl like you”. He has been banned from subbing again.
A fourth employee – a male teacher at La Guardia High School – was found to be giving extra credit to students who “friended” him. He was not disciplined, though I’m not sure why not.
New York does not have any rules prohibiting teachers from friending students on social networking sites. However, according to the Post, school districts in states such as Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Ohio have ordered or urged teachers not to “friend” students on social-networking sites.
While I was sympathetic about the cop who lost his job over photos of his police vehicle at a car wash, I think these teachers probably deserved to lose their jobs. If the New York Post reports are correct, their behavior certainly crossed the line. Yuk!