Mass Teacher Fired Over Facebook Post…A sign of the times for all?

Mis-postings are not just for teens and kids…just ask Dr. June Talvitie-Siple. A teacher in the Cohasset, MA school system for 30 years, she was fired over a post she made on her Facebook page that she says now was “stupid” and “out of frustration” when she called residents of Cohasset “arrogant and snobby”.

As reported by the Boston Channel, she indicated that she thought she was sharing her inner thoughts with friends, a common issue with Facebook:

“I got frustrated one day, and I thought I was just sharing with my friends. That was stupid because I have a lot of technology background. I should have checked so it was a stupid mistake. I’m human…”

Were her comments out of line? Well, if made publically they certainly were.  If she intended to be hurtful, definitely. But, in reality Talvitie-Siple thought she was making these comments privately.  By her own admission, she was venting and had the wrong privacy settings enabled on Facebook, an incredibly common issue. She thought she had the settings toggled to private which is what most people who sign up for Facebook believe.

This would have been a fantastic opportunity for the Cohasset community to get some education about Facebook and social networking sites, human posting behavior and privacy settings. Before decisions were made about anyone being fired, facts should have been gathered with an opportunity for an explanation and an educational opportunity about how to check one’s privacy settings.

Venting is part of human nature. We all do it. Now, however, it has very much gone on line. Another lesson learned, my friends, is before you engage in posting anything you don’t want the world to see, let me make some suggestions:

1. Ask yourself if you really want to send that message…perhaps write it to get the emotion out then erase it!

2. Check your privacy settings today and make sure they are what you think they are.

3. Read my tips on getting it RITE when you post and talk to your family about this, too.

In truth, this could have happened to any of us but we’re a bit wiser now because we know the pitfalls to avoid.

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