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Prank causes concern over social networking

January 20, 2011

This large pile of snow is all that’s left of a sculpture in the yard of Plymouth High School band director Bryan Ames. The sculpture was left as a prank by former students. Photo provided

PLYMOUTH — What started as a prank by two former students has pushed the Plymouth School Corporation into high gear to develop a policy on social networking outside of the classroom.
Two former band students sculpted a 7-foot high snow creation in the front yard of Plymouth band director Bryan Ames’ Knox home. The risque statue depicted a part of the male anatomy.
After the snow sculpture was completed, the students were photographed next to it; and the photo was placed on Ames’ Facebook page. A complaint was made to Plymouth Schools Superintendent Dan Tyree, who contacted Plymouth High School Principal Jim Condon, who then contacted Ames and asked the picture be removed, which it was immediately. Partly at issue is the fact that more than 1,400 friends on Ames’ site were potential viewers of the photograph.
Ames has been band director for five years, coming from Knox, and has an impeccable record including taking the marching band to the state finals in 2010.
Tyree said that the school is investigating the issue, which could take several days.
“As we complete our investigation, the intentions are to ensure that our students are safe, protect the rights of the people involved, and maintain the reputation of our school,” he said.
Reported Tuesday night and Wednesday morning on area television and radio shows, Tyree had said that there are times “when an employee does something and I think, I really wish they hadn’t done that or wish they hadn’t said that.”
The school has each employee sign guidelines for computer usage at school, but Tyree said nothing covers activity at home.
“Facebook has become a fad so quickly, that the rules of etiquette didn’t get written,” he said. “We’re going to get that done, probably a little faster now.”
The issue has become a hot topic — whether or not a teacher should be held to higher standards in their personal life and on a social networking site.
Several readers responded to the issue:
Michelle Campbell said, “I think it depends who he has on his friend list. If he adds students, their parents, or faculty members, yes, he should be held to a higher standard. Otherwise, he’s just a person too, but he should take steps to make sure his profile is private if he’s going to post anything inappropriate.”
John Reed said, “If it was done publicly, on his own time, on his own computer, then I say he’s entitled to privacy and freedom of speech just as any of us are. It’s not as if it was posted on a billboard in public, you have to want to see his posts by friending him. What he does on his own time, providing it is legal, is his own business, and anyone he allows to view it.”
Mark A Cultice said, “Teachers are held to a higher standard period.”
Jeremy Martin added. “When you make a career decision you need to evaluate all the ways your life is effected. As a teacher, you are a public figure and you better live a relatively clean life if you expect me to turn my children over to you... Discretion should be over utilized as a teacher.”
Jennifer Troyer Cooper said, “Why should teachers be considered higher than parents? We both teach our children, so both should be held accountable. I read the article on WNDU.com and if the kids didn’t see it on his Facebook page, then they just saw it on the news.”
Andrew Dreibelbis said, “As a teacher you are held to a higher standard because of how impressionable you are on your students. As a high school teacher in today’s 24-7 social media world, you have to be even more careful because most of your students have access ... to your personal life via Facebook. Yes, you should have a personal life outside of school, but you don’t have to make everything in your life available on Facebook. If you think something that you post on Facebook could possibly get you in trouble, don’t post it, simple as that. Everyone needs to think before they decide to post anything on Facebook.”

Comments

Why would parents complain??

January 22, 2011 by Anonymous, 3 years 13 weeks ago
Comment: 13148

Why would parents complain?? they should't if they know what risks are on the internet why would they let them have a facebook account and i think the kids are big enough and are mature to know so they just need to chill

If this is the worst thing

January 21, 2011 by Anonymous, 3 years 13 weeks ago
Comment: 13146

If this is the worst thing going on in the world, we would be doing pretty good. At least the kids weren't cowards, they posed in the picture.

teacher

January 23, 2011 by Anonymous, 3 years 13 weeks ago
Comment: 13151

This is ridiculous. The teacher didn't even post the picture to his facebook page, the kids who did the prank and took the pictures posted it, and added a comment to it on the teacher's actual page. How in the world should the teacher be responsible for this nonsense? If anything, the students who did this should be expelled or get detention for it. The students who did this also like the band teacher, hence why they took photos of themselves and posted it on the teacher's page as a prank. The only thing wrong here is that the students created a inappropriate snow figure due to their maturity levels. Give the teacher a break OMG! Teacher should get a raise for his students liking him so much. The lady who complained about this has complained about other teachers to the news in the past, trying to get them in trouble...and the funny thing is the lady has a past criminal history and was a mother to a current student to the teacher, which that particular student loves the band teacher. LOL! Pathetic news source. Newspaper and tv should man up to their mistakes and take responsible for all the problems this has caused the band teacher.

reply to anonymous comment

January 24, 2011 by editor, 3 years 13 weeks ago
Comment: 13152

The students were past (graduated) students, not current ones, as the article states.

Newspaper didn't make a mistake in reporting that social networking sites are a concern for employers for reasons like this happening. That was the basis of this story.

Doesn't seem right the

January 20, 2011 by Anonymous, 3 years 13 weeks ago
Comment: 13144

Doesn't seem right the teacher should get in trouble for something his students did. They made it and posted it on his facebook page. He shouldnt suffer any punishment.

prank

January 20, 2011 by Anonymous, 3 years 13 weeks ago
Comment: 13142

When are the parents going to be held accountable for where their kids go on the internet? Who called the superintendent? Who called the media? If it was a parent, my question is why did you allow your child to be a Facebook "friend" to a teacher if you have such a problem with this? Obviously everything has been taken out of context once again by the media.

Media

January 20, 2011 by editor, 3 years 13 weeks ago
Comment: 13143

I'm not sure exactly what has been taken out of context - and the media is an easy scapegoat.
The media didn't create this news; it reported it.
Social networking and what is placed for the world to see is a valid concern for all ages.
No one read or reported that children were on the teacher's Facebook page.
Adults can be just as easily offended by the simplest of things.

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