Saturday, September 18, 2010
In today's world people have to be very careful what they say online, on a social networking site or on a blog. ABC reported about a Mass teacher for comments he made on Face Book. Lexology describes what happened as follows:
ABC news reported yesterday about an employee fired for statements made on a social networking site – this time Facebook. The employee, Massachusetts high school teacher June Talvitie-Siple, was fired by her school district for statements she made about the community, her students and their parents. The 54-year-old teacher mistakenly thought her statements were being communicated only to her circle of friends on the popular site, not to the entire world. As others have found before her, such a misconception can be costly.
What did Talvitie-Siple say on Facebook? In one post, she referred to the students as “germ-bags,” on account of the multiple times she caught illnesses from them. She also described the community and the parents as “arrogant” and “snobby.”
Of course, when a public institution is involved First Amendment legal issues may arise. First Amendment rights, however, are far from absolute and provide much less protection than most people think. Law review commentary on this important subject would be most welcome.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein