When young teachers go wild on the web

On Facebook and other social-networking web sites, the public profiles of 20-something teachers often reveal a sense of humor that can be overtly sarcastic, unintentionally unprofessional, or both, reports the Washington Post. One Montgomery County, Md., special-education teacher displayed a poster that depicts talking sperm and invokes a slang term for oral sex. And a D.C. public schools educator offered this tip on her web page: "Teaching in DCPS — Lesson #1: Don’t smoke crack while pregnant." These aren’t teenagers, but adults–many in their 20s, who are behaving, for the most part, like young adults. But the crudeness of some Facebook or MySpace teacher profiles, which are far, far away from sanitized web sites ending in ".edu," prompts questions emblematic of our times: Do the risque pages matter if teacher performance is not hindered and if students, parents, and school officials don’t see them? At what point are these young teachers judged by the standards for public officials? In states such as Florida, Colorado, Tennessee, and Massachusetts, teachers have been removed or suspended for MySpace postings, and some teachers unions have begun warning members about racy personal web sites. But as Facebook, with 70 million members, and other social-networking sites continue to grow, scrutiny no doubt will spread…

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