Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Businesses Facebook The Courts News Your Rights Online

Teacher's Aide Fired For Refusing To Hand Over Facebook Password 407

An anonymous reader writes "You can add this one to the short but growing list of employers demanding access to Facebook accounts. After refusing to give her Facebook password to her supervisors, Kimberly Hester was fired by Lewis Cass Intermediate School District from her job as an aide to Frank Squires Elementary in Cassopolis, Michigan. She is now fighting a legal battle with the school district."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Teacher's Aide Fired For Refusing To Hand Over Facebook Password

Comments Filter:
  • Excellent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @12:08PM (#39541111) Homepage Journal

    Now the ACLU has a case they can use to clarify that it's illegal to do this under current legislation and put a stop to the nonsense.

    It's too bad it'll take so long for it to churn through the courts.

    Presuming the ACLU, EFF, et. al. don't decide to wait for a "better" case, that is.

  • by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @12:11PM (#39541151)
    Another reason not to "friend" everyone you know. Seriously, if you want to keep personal and work separate, keep it separate! No one I work with is on my facebook.
  • by mfwitten ( 1906728 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @12:11PM (#39541153)

    I don't understand this obsession people have with gaining access to people's Facebook accounts. What is the origin of this craze? Why is it considered acceptable to require from people a Facebook password, but not, say, a Gmail account password?

    Even more so, I don't understand this acquiescence to "authority" that many people seem to display; why in the world would you give somebody else your password like this?

  • by Travelsonic ( 870859 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @12:15PM (#39541187) Journal
    Well, YES it IS April 1st, BUT serious shit has, ironically, been reported on that day too.
  • by Mr Z ( 6791 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @12:16PM (#39541197) Homepage Journal

    Well, this is a public school. They seem to make an artform out of administrative idiocy, whether it's installing spy software on laptops so they can confuse Mike & Ikes with drugs [] or applying zero tolerance nonsense to activities that take place off school grounds and outside school hours. They make it a point to stick their nose in where it doesn't belong.

    Sure, students are largely the victims of this crap, but teachers and administrators occasionally get this crap splattered on them too.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 01, 2012 @12:17PM (#39541199)

    Is FB going to ban the supervisor (if s/he has an account on FB) for breach of the terms of service? That could be an effective deterrent.

  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @12:20PM (#39541229)

    Most people are dumb enough to use the same email addrs / username / password for all online sites. So to be "k00l and Trendy" you ask for the facebook password, but you know that is also her eHarmony login info, her bank login info, her amazon login info, probably her /. login info, etc.

    acquiescence to "authority"

    That is the obsession HR is looking for. A nice mindless sheep who will never say "no". Illegal? Who cares. Immoral and unethical? Who cares.

    I'd be terrified if I had kids in the "Lewis Cass Intermediate School District". The people they are looking to hire will have to be absolute monsters, unsuited to being in charge of kids. Holy Nuremberg Defense batman!

  • by Eravnrekaree ( 467752 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @12:22PM (#39541239)

    By the way what they are asking is similar to demanding that you give them the keys to your house so they can search your house, or them demanding that they strip search you, even an employer searching your purse or bags is unacceptable, among other things. What is going on here is something like stalking, harrassment, invasion of privacy and so on, employers who do this must be punished. This is an example of how corporations and private entities can be as much or more of a violation of rights against us, and why we need legal protections against corporations and private entities as much as we do government.

  • by Soporific ( 595477 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @12:27PM (#39541281)

    Pretty much everything but food and shelter is not absolutely necessary. Slashdot is equally unnecessary, so why would you post here if you believe what you say?


  • by Stormthirst ( 66538 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @12:41PM (#39541365)

    "Oh just think of the children!"

    What the teacher does outside of school is none of the school's business.

    If the teacher is stupid enough to friend her pupils, then he/she is going to find themselves in trouble. Teachers are by definition in a position of authority over their class, and they shouldn't be seen as a friend. Mentor perhaps - someone the kids can turn to if the going gets tough - but never a friend in the truest sense of the word.

    If that is the way it is in classrooms these days - no wonder there's no discipline amongst school kids.

  • by EdIII ( 1114411 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @12:43PM (#39541379)

    It is well understood that you give up some of your privacy and rights on a school campus.

    Only in your head. In the real world, and a supposedly free country, your rights to privacy (in your personal life) never cease to exist anywhere.

    The fact she posted it from home is irrelevant. She was on campus when a supervisor asked her for her password.

    Bullshit. 1,000,000% relevant. If I am at work, on corporate equipment, I have no rights to privacy as long as I am performing work in accordance with my job. That's reasonable. Once I am off the clock, at home, using my own equipment (that I paid for), nobody can claim a "right" to invade my privacy.

    What if this teacher had candid photos of children on their page? Or worse.

    Ohhh, Golly Gee Willickers!!!! I had not thought about that!!!

    Of course, I see it now. Think of the children! I forgot about that. Let's suspend Freedom, Liberty, and all that happy crap right away to protect them....

  • by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @12:45PM (#39541395)
    Yeah that's a big part of what "Right To Work" is. The name itself is doublespeak. All it is about is limiting the rights of the workers, and giving all the power to the owners. Less retirement funds, less health care, less pay, and less rights for the worker is what "Right to Work" is all about. Yet another way for industries to abandon their social responsibilities.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 01, 2012 @12:48PM (#39541417)

    I couldn't care lesss... I wouldn't even care if my childrens teacher was a pornstar on the side... The only ones I wouldn't want teaching my children were religious people that deny science/evolution or people in hategroups.

  • by GmExtremacy ( 2579091 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @12:49PM (#39541425)

    I am not sure which political party is pushing this sort of access greater

    Both. They're both absolute garbage. They aren't always proposing the same things, but both seem to be in favor of eroding our freedoms.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 01, 2012 @01:02PM (#39541529)

    I don't want my daughter's teacher to post such profane content on her FB page without repercussions. It is well understood that you give up some of your privacy and rights on a school campus. The fact she posted it from home is irrelevant. She was on campus when a supervisor asked her for her password. The supervisor had reasonable cause to suspect inappropriate content in this woman's FB account and sought rightfully to check it out. It is part of their responsibility to protect our children. What if this teacher had candid photos of children on their page? Or worse.

    I am thankful that, given your incredibly moronic and misguided view of freedom of speech and expression, that we, in the US, at least have a modicum of excellent case law, e.g., Spanierman v. Hughes et al., to provide some protection for teachers from horrendous individuals like yourself.

  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @01:05PM (#39541553)

    is there a paypal (sigh; yeah, I hate PP but its what is used, these days) for donations?

    this is something we all need to get behind and ensure that the school gets a VERY bloody punch in the face (figuratively) from their bad behavior.

    the only way a corp will ever learn is if they are punished and punished HARD. almost put-them-out-of-business hard. I don't care if its a school; a lesson (lol) needs to be taught here.

    I'll donate. but I don't see an addr for that; is there one?

    and yes, I realize the lawyers will make out the best on this; but I still want a lesson to be taught to asshole companies and organizations who think they have free reign over workers' privacy.

  • by Oligonicella ( 659917 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @01:16PM (#39541639)
    And I, as a father, would reject any attempts by a teacher to develop a 'social' network of any kind that I did not say OK to, and I'm not going to (well, wouldn't have).

    The reason is that schooling is not part and parcel to every moment of a child's life. Just as with work, there needs to be down time. It's not the teacher's job to be my kid's "pal".

    Kids are greatly influenced by the ideas of their "pals". I wanted my kid school aged kid influenced by her peers, not an adult other than me and my friends. Then as now, adults just couldn't keep politics out of other people's faces.
  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @01:30PM (#39541769) Journal

    There are two reasons to become a teacher

    (1) You love to teach and work with youth. That's the good reason to become a teacher, because you'll be a good one as a result. I don't want anyone to take this as a slam, but you really don't have to be great in your field if you have drive and enthusiasm. Inspiration of students will cause them to lear so much more then having the smartest person in the world lecture monotonously every day. You'll get paid a good hourly rate with full benefits, but you'll work lots of uncompensated overtime. You'll get a nice break around Christmas and in the summer (or you could say you'll be forced to take leave without pay over Christmas and the summer). It will be like most white collar/professional jobs, except the pay is a little lower, the job security and benefits a little better, and you'll be off of work the same time the kids are. That last one can be good or bad, depending on your family situation.

    (2) You want a short work day with good benefits and lots of time off to sit by the pool or go on vacation in the summer. These are the teachers for whom it's just a job. We all know some of them - they arrive 5 minutes before class, run you over if you're standing in the door as the buses pull away, try and put as many multiple choice or computer graded tests in the curriculum as possible, and rarely do projects. You will never see them at a PTA/PTO function. There is a large fraction of the workforce who is like this, and they give the teachers in part (1), above, a bad name.

  • by Mr Z ( 6791 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @01:34PM (#39541797) Homepage Journal

    ZT is idiotic, in my opinion. Sure, when you allow human judgment into the picture, you also allow for biases and selective enforcement. Those are both problems, and I would be wrong to argue otherwise. ZT, though, leads to suspensions [] and arrests [] ibuprofen to school, or suspending first graders for bringing Cub Scouts gear to school. []

    The policies themselves were not designed with ZT in mind. The policies are human-designed, and intended to be applied by humans, with human reasoning, to human situations. ZT effectively turns them into hard computer programs without actually requiring the policies to be fully elaborated to account for all the extenuating circumstances under which they might be applied. I argue that in most cases, that simply isn't possible. At the very least, it is very far from likely unless you spend considerable effort. If it were easy, we wouldn't have a court system (complete with appellate courts).

    And, it doesn't even save you from capriciousness. Instead it leads you to amplify the whims of children. For example, in one of the links above, the student was "caught" because some other kid claimed she had a knife. The likelihood someone gets ratted out (and thus subjected to the worst effects of ZT) varies based on the attitudes and decisions of the fellow classmates, not the now supposedly immune administrators. That just sets the system up for worse outcomes, because a big lever of the system (detection/reporting) is left to the kids, and enforcement is automatic and uncontrolled.

    Furthermore, if an administrator does notice something punishable, but lets it slide silently because nobody else notices, who would know? ZT only applies once its obvious to everyone that there's an infraction. The system isn't even airtight at that level, since the decision to let something slide undetected is an individual decision on the part of that administrator, and they can later claim (usually) to not have noticed the infraction.

    Explain to me again how the sliver of legal protection offered by ZT isn't idiocy compared to these awful, stupid outcomes?

  • by EdIII ( 1114411 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @01:56PM (#39541961)

    Sorry, but that last part was so ridiculous it barely deserved an answer at all.

    Candid photos? Seriously? "Or Worse"? That implies there is something wrong with candid photos of children. It further implies that my own parents are evil pedophiles simply because they have a picture of me naked in the tub at 3 years old in a photo album, that could actually be picked up by a guest in the house!

    It's that kind of retarded sentiment from parents that want teachers thrown in jail for reading a sci-fi book out loud, the word dinosaur removed from tests because there can be emotions associated with the "controversy" of evolution that are part of a serious problem in this country that only keeps growing.

    Those people honestly believe in suspending freedoms to shove their own hysterical beliefs down our throats. That AC was no better than a member of the Taliban, and I am sure we could get some of the very same statements out them to justify their own behavior.

    Asking for passwords and going on witch hunts in every single teacher's personal lives on a regular basis is just a step forward to the time in which we bring them out to the basketball courts and hang them during assembly for "crimes against morality".

  • by rtfa-troll ( 1340807 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @02:11PM (#39542057)

    Is FB going to ban the supervisor (if s/he has an account on FB) for breach of the terms of service? That could be an effective deterrent.

    Being banned from Facebook is an honor. If they want an effective deterrent then what they want to do is have the woman find out if the school took passwords from any other employees, then verify that these were used. At that point you have an unauthorized computer access for which there are serious laws with serious jail time []. Throw the book at whichever members of the school conspired to make those illegal computer accesses.

    If you or I accessed a girlfriend's account you would get into serious trouble. If Facebook doesn't make sure the same happens here, they are failing in their duty to use all reasonable means available to protect the integrity of their user's accounts.

    N.B. Under section 4 point 8 of Facebook's terms of service [], other members of staff are not allowed to hand over their passwords, so the access remains unauthorized even if they agreed to it.

    4 Registration and Account Security

    Facebook users provide their real names and information, and we need your help to keep it that way. Here are some commitments you make to us relating to registering and maintaining the security of your account:

    • [.. intermediate points elided..]
    • 8. You will not share your password, (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 01, 2012 @02:14PM (#39542077)

    And how does this matter to you or your child? I know your answer will be "she is a teacher so.." but that does not explain how this should matter to you or your child. If you think the only people taking pictures of co workers or them drinking a beer is the few you find on facebook you are NOT living in reality. Your current co workers right now next to in the office are the same way. There are people that work in your office now that are swingers, into S&M, do some illegal drugs,sneak looks into their neighbors bedroom, are bipolar, have deep emotional problems, eat toilet paper, in huge debt, gambling problems, cleptomanics so on and so forth. You don't know a lot of this because those actions have nothing to do with what they are doing in their job with you around and it does not effect and yo don't notice it. Why do you think teachers are any different? If everything everyone did public and private became was 100% public, this world would be a much different place for a while and eventually everyone would realize it just didn't matter because everyone has and does things that others would consider strange. People and teachers have been doing strange things for decades. You finding out about it on Facebook means nothing.

  • by EdIII ( 1114411 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @02:21PM (#39542113)

    The first problem was that we defined our rights. What should have happened is that we defined the rights of the government to perform actions against the citizens, and that anything that was undeclared was a right of the citizens and a restriction upon government. We fucked up, and now we have to deal with it.

    In any case, try looking at the 4th amendment if you want something spelled out. Privacy and anonymity is very much in the spirit of Freedom, which is what the US was founded for .

    Most assuredly, not fiction in any sense of the word. If you live in the US, I suggest moving to someplace like North Korea or China. More suitable to your philosophies, I am certain.

    The situation is all the more unconscionable since it does not even involve law enforcement. Those are the only people that should be able to violate your privacy to protect both you and the public, and with considerable checks, balances, oversight, and consequences when they fail.

    If common sense prevails there will be a multi-million dollar judgment against the school and those administrators will be fired.

  • by EdIII ( 1114411 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @02:24PM (#39542143)

    I, of course, did not read the article.

    However, I did not need to do so. There is no situation in which it is correct or lawful for the administration to demand the credentials to any online accounts held by the teacher.

    If the administration had reason to believe that such actions did in fact happen, then the correct and lawful course of action would be to report it to the authorities. The co-worker that may be a victim has rights and remedies under the law.

    The proper venue for this argument is a court. Just because that may be difficult for some people (especially the MAFIAA), does not mean we can bypass due process.

  • by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @02:27PM (#39542161)

    It is interesting that you would consider a picture that you never saw with the brief description of "co-worker’s pants around her ankles and a pair of shoes" as profane. What if the picture was of just the pants, calves, feet and a pair of shoes with not other body parts showing? To me, there is nothing profane about that at all.

    Do you think that all police officers, judges, politicians, lifeguards, coaches, librarians, etc should have to give up their Facebook passwords?

    There is also a very interesting assumption that the "think of the children" people seem to miss. Just because one does something away from children does not mean that they will do the same thing around children. For example, at a bar watching a hockey game it is quite common to use profanity. These same people are coaches in kids hockey but they know the venue is different and usually act differently. Many adults have had sex at home and done some "slap and tickle" does that mean these same people will do the same thing with an eight year old? No. Almost all people understand the different venues and act differently. What an adult does out of school has nothing to do with what they do in school.

  • by KahabutDieDrake ( 1515139 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @05:33PM (#39543489)
    Terribly interesting that you seem to believe that your children's peers are likely to be a better influence than an adult teacher. Terribly sad if it's actually true, but it's almost certainly not. Even given the rather notable exceptions of teachers sleeping with high school aged kids, sex is hardly the worst you have to worry about. The other children are offering drugs, illegal activity (trespassing, and street racing were favorites in my day), and sex. Not to mention that peers are far more likely to reject adult supervision, and adult ideals of behavior.

    That's all ok though, because we all know your kids haven't listened to you in 5 years, and they aren't going to start now. Your kids get their culture from TV, movies, games, and other kids, you as a parent have only a minimal influence over this, especially if like most people, your kid has been raised on multi-media with little or no oversight.
  • by tqk ( 413719 ) <> on Sunday April 01, 2012 @06:53PM (#39544073)

    I would think it only permissible in the case of a clear conflict of interest.

    I would think it only permissable in the case of a valid search warrant. Nobody should expect themselves to be allowed to login to a system as another user. root/Administrator can do it other ways less destructively. Users should not let *anyone* use their login credentials.

  • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @09:22PM (#39545053)

    "We require as a condition of employment to hand over the keys to your diary that you keep under your pillow. "

  • by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @11:44PM (#39545751)

    In the US we have a political party which doesn't understand that corporations and employers are as great or greater of a threat to your freedom and liberty as the government.

  • by geminidomino ( 614729 ) on Monday April 02, 2012 @03:46AM (#39546681) Journal

    I'm pretty sure we have at least four political parties that don't understand that, actually. They just seem to vary on which corporations they take their marching orders from.

The Macintosh is Xerox technology at its best.