Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Foot In Mouth Syndrome

A teacher made a comment "I am teaching in the most ghetto school..." on Facebook that was meant for her friends but seen publicly (including by students).

  •   Should the teacher who posted the comment to her friends be disciplined for her remarks she thought were made in private?
  • How responsible are educators for their online content?
  • Should online privacy exist for students and educators?
  • Should we be able to separate our professional and personal profiles on social networks? Would it actually be feasible?

My thoughts....

The argument could be made that scientifically speaking the instructor could have had a chemical imbalance or genetic meltdown. This then clears the instructor from any liability or accountability for things said outside of the work place. The instructor’s distress obviously sparked a bad series of chemical imbalances that eventually lead to the brains inability to defend or stand up for the instructor’s morality. The instructor’s agitated stated must have caused an endorphin flair up that sparked adrenaline to flood extremities such as her hands and mouth first. As the fingertips were typing on Facebook the friction of the keys causes a misfire of synapses, which lead to overstimulation of neurons, resulting in the hand and mouth revolt against any form of sensibility.

Scholars often refer to this series of events as the classic “foot-in-mouth” syndrome. (HA!) In all seriousness, as with most of these types of situations, the answer lies in the theory of ethics. What people believe at that moment is what often decides the future. Consequentialists look at life with only two possible scenarios, right or wrong. Non-consequentialsits believe that depending on the circumstance things may or may not be deemed wrong (Holsinger, 2009). Is either side right or wrong? That is something that until, ethics and morality can be agreed upon will continue to be a circular debate. I truly believe that people make mistakes, use bad judgment, and often do things intentionally. I also believe in Humanitarian acts of kindness along with fairness. There are much bigger fish to fry. I say that a reprimand was in order but, also a chance for redemption. I feel that not only as educator but also as a professional there is a certain level of professionalism that should be displayed at all times. However, being that we are all human, emotions whether right or wrong have gotten the best of all of us and therefore should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Now should educators and students have a right to online privacy? Everyone has the right to online privacy and secure networks honor that right. However, “social media” sites such as Facebook even state in their privacy policy that information will be passed on or collected from others and it is the user’s responsibility to set their privacy settings correctly. Facebook has three levels of privacy that allows user information to be transferred through “friend” portals (Facebook, 2010). It would be impossible for these sites to keep information private due to the various settings, accessibility, and overall unsecure networks.


Facebook. (2010). A guide to privacy on Facebook. In facebook. Retrieved May 4,
2010, from http://www.facebook.com/privacy/explanation.php

Holsinger, K. (2009, November 27). Consequentialist vs. non-consequentialist
theories of ethics . In Lecture Notes. Retrieved from


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