6 Most Outrageous Social Media Mistakes By Teachers

Workers in every profession make mistakes in social media -- and get fired for them. But teachers' social media fails seem to be its own meme, as every day there seems to be another teacher making an epic gaffe on Facebook and Twitter. As educators, they are supposed to impart wisdom to their students. But when it comes to social media, at least some instructors need to head back to school.

Poring over some recent examples of teachers' social media fails, AOL Jobs compiled the top six mistakes teachers made in social media this year. Don't imagine you're exempt. These are social media mistakes no worker should make. Unless, of course, you hate your job and are looking for a second career, say, in reality TV.

1. Think you're hot? Don't tweet it.
Carly McKinney, a 23-year-old math teacher at Overland High School in Aurora, Colo., had a perfectly nice job. ... until her superiors got wind of racy tweets (tweeted from @Crunk_Bear). (Her tweets have been deleted, but you can see a retweet of hers above.) They included topless and other revealing self-portraits and messages like "stay sexy ... stay high ... stay drunk," to say nothing of referring to a student as "jail bait" or saying that she was high while grading papers.

McKinney claimed that the Twitter account was a parody that she set up with friends. Students rallied to her defense. School administrators were undoubtedly laughing uproariously when they first put her on paid administrative leave and then fired her.

More:Facebook Posts And Tweets That Can Get You Fired

2. Keep your side career off Facebook.
Having active outside interests help teachers relax and stay in fine form. In the case of Olivia Sprauer, a part-time bikini model who taught English at Martin County High School in Florida, it was literally true. In early May, the principal called her into his office, showed some of her posing work on a computer screen, and asked if it was her. She said yes and he said bye.

Finding the evidence of her side career wasn't too difficult as Sprauer, under her modeling name of Victoria James, reportedly had them posted on Facebook.

The single mother of two says that she was already going to resign at the end of the school year, so the dismissal was only a month early. And she knew that getting fired for the photos was a possibility. She was right. By May 9, the gloves, or something else, was off as she offered topless and nude posters for sale on her Facebook account. At the end of May, she told The Huffington Post that she would donate a portion of the proceeds to the Red Cross' Oklahoma tornado relief efforts.

3. Don't post jokes about wishing your students would drown.
Teaching grade school can be challenging. But calling your fifth-grade students "devils spawn" that you'd like to bring to the beach -- the day after a sixth grader in Harlem had drowned in the ocean on a school outing -- is somewhat impolitic.

That's what Christine Rubino did in 2010, posting the rant on Facebook and then trying to cover up when officials heard about the vent. She was fired, although last month she finally won a court battle to be reinstated. However, the two-year suspension without pay was upheld, meaning her financial life likely remains underwater.

4. Skip the creepy picture uploads revealing your (possibly illegal) fetishes.
An unnamed substitute teacher at East Coweta High School in western Georgia posted on to Reddit, the online forum, sneak shots of students, probably underage. He also included lewd remarks when he posted the photos to the voyeur section of Reddit, which is called "CreepShots." By February 2013 the teacher reportedly was fired. Not a pretty picture.

More:How Social Media Can Kill Your Chances Of Finding That Job [Infographic]

5. Don't post photos of your students' mouths covered with duct tape.
Melissa Cairns, a middle school math teacher at Buchtel Community Learning Center in Ohio, thought posting a picture to Facebook of 16 students with duct tape on their mouths and a caption of "Finally found a way to keep them quiet!!!" was funny, particularly as she claims that the students had put the tape on themselves as a joke.

She eventually realized that the post was a "huge mistake." Cairns wasn't kidding. Neither was the local board of education when it fired her. Of course, duct-taping a student's mouth is never a good career move -- even if you don't post it on social media. Just ask this substitute teacher in Louisiana, who was disciplined after allegedly putting duct tape across a kindergartener's mouth.

6. Don't advise students in a religious education class to sleep around.
Just to show that not all online nuttiness by teachers is restricted to the U.S., a religious education teacher in England, Catherine Reynolds, allegedly told students to sleep around before marriage, swore in the classroom, and described some of her personal experiences concerning sex. And then, after a parents' night, she supposedly posted on Facebook, "That was the most f****** horrendous evening of my life." She reportedly wrote that the parents were "retarded." The 27-year-old reportedly was banned from classrooms for five years.

Unfortunately, given human behavior and the growing number of social networks waiting to be misused, chances are this list will soon have lots of additions.

Read the slideshow, "The Most Bizarre Teacher Scandals."
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6 Most Outrageous Social Media Mistakes By Teachers

Last October, Jennifer Gomes, an elementary-school gym teacher in Denver, allegedly left a note outside the Catholic school where she worked, which read "there is a bomb inside." The 42-year-old was arrested two days later, and allegedly told police that she left the note because she didn't want to go to work that day. Gomes was suspended from the school, and earlier this month was sentenced to four years of mental health probation and 180 days of home detention.

In April 2008, kindergarten teacher Susan Graham sent a 5-year-old student home with a bag of feces nestled in his backpack, along with the note, "This little turd was on the floor of my room." The boy's parents contacted the West Valley, Wash., school district and the boy was moved to another school to carry out the school year. "I'm still kind of in shock over this, because why would somebody do this?" asked the boy's father. "It's disgusting."

The district sent the 58-year-old teacher a warning letter, which said that similar behavior in the future would result in disciplinary action, possibly termination.

When Spring Hill, Tenn., police received a call last August about a suspicious male with a duffel bag, under a bridge at the local elementary school, they went out to investigate. They found the 56-year-old music teacher Daniel Torroll, completely nude, sitting on his knees on a red and white towel, sexually touching a childlike blow-up doll with holes cut in it. The police issued him a citation for public indecency.

The teacher told Nashville's News 2 that he was just walking his dog, didn't realize he was on school property, and suffers from ADD, which makes him impulsively act on his own sexual urges. "It was just a very, very weird situation," he said. "It's a hard thing. I'm in therapy for it."

In May last year, substitute teacher Coleman Eaton Jr. was in charge of a fourth grade class. According to the Riverdale, Georgia police, the 60-year-old walked to the back of the classroom, told the kids "not to turn around," and then urinated in the trashcan. A few of the kids did turn around.

Eaton later claimed that he was simply pouring apple juice into the trashcan. But the police obtained the evidence. He was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated child molestation.

Jeff Spires, a teacher at a high school in Charlotte County, Fla., would up a student's grade if they paper-clipped cash ($15 to $70) to the back of their papers or tests. When the school found out last October, it suspended him without pay. Spires resigned by the end of the month.

When investigators asked him why he did it, he replied: "That's what I don't know -- why. Maybe I see the kids are as desperate as I am."

ABCNews Video here.

In August 2008, Wendy Portillo, a kindergarten teacher in Port St. Lucie, Fla., allegedly had every member of her class say what they didn't like about their 5-year-old special needs classmate. She then had them vote as to whether the boy should stay in the class. F14 voted him out; two voted that he should stay. The teacher then asked the boy, who was being tested for autism, what he should do next.

"I guess I'll go sit with the principal," he reportedly said. Portillo then allegedly said that the principal didn't want him around either. The case did not meet the criteria for emotional child abuse, according to the state's attorney's office, so no criminal charges were filed.

But Portillo was suspended from teaching for one year without pay and her tenure was revoked. In an appeal, Portillo won back her tenure.

In December 2010, Delynn Woodside spotted one of her middle school students with a black permanent marker. He was coloring in a piece of paper, and the marker had inked up the desk below. The 50-year-old asked the boy for the pen, and when he tried to hide it, Woodside reported the boy to the Oklahoma City police. She signed a citation, referencing an arcane city ordinance about graffiti. The boy was arrested and taken to a juvenile holding facility.

Last month, San Diego teacher Gonja Wolf allegedly told a freshman girl that she couldn't use the bathroom, and instead had to leave the room, pee in a bucket, and pour it down the sink. After the 14-year-old did as she was told, news leaked out. The relentless taunting she purportedly received from schoolmates led the girl to file a complaint against the school district. The complaint lists damages in excess of $25,000 and Wolf has been placed on administrative leave.


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