UPDATE: Teacher Fired for “Drunk Pirate” Photo Loses Appeal

This past January, ReputationDefender Blog wrote about the case of a Pennsylvania teacher who was dismissed from her job for posting a photo on her MySpace page labeled Drunk Pirate. The picture, though relatively tame by most standards, was judged by the school to be indicative of the teacher’s lack of professionalism and proved to be enough to send her on her way.

Naturally, she disagreed and filed a lawsuit appealing the decision. The result, which has been up in the air for some time, finally came down Wednesday and, according to Ars Technica, the teacher’s appeal didn’t stick.

Quoting from the article:

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On Wednesday, however, the judge tossed that claim as well. Snyder, Diamond found, “was an apprentice more akin to a public employee/teacher than a student” during her time at CV High. As such, the First Amendment protects her speech about matters of “public concern”—she couldn’t be barred from the student-teaching program for expressing an unpopular political opinion—but not personal MySpace postings the school found to be unprofessional. Moreover, once the school had declined to certify her completion of the program, Millersville administrators had no authority to override the degree requirements to award Snyder a teaching diploma.

While it is regrettable that Ms. Snyder did not win her appeal, this is just one more sign that diligent online reputation management is critical in the Internet age.

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