Should Schools be allowed to Regulate Teachers' Social Media?
An Idaho School Board is considering a new social media policy that forbids teachers from friending, following, or posting about students and their parents. The policy change stems from an incident involving a high school basketball teacher who was fired over a controversial photo.
What's the Latest?
An Idaho school district is in the final stages of installing a new policy governing teachers' use of social media. The new rules stem from an incident last year that led to a Pocatello High School basketball coach losing her job. Teachers would no longer be allowed to follow or "friend" students and parents. They would also be restricted from posting about their students, even in a general sense.
The event that led to the new policy is a familiar one, though it contains an additional wrinkle. According to Boise Weekly, Pocatello High School basketball coach Laraine Cook was fired last year because of a social media photo that featured her boyfriend touching her bikini-clad chest. Her boyfriend, who just so happens to be the Pocatello High football coach, got off with only a slap on the wrist. The fallout from the incident led to accusations against the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District of gender bias.
What's the Big Idea?
While many teachers already maintain a personal policy of staying away from their students online (and who can blame them?), the new policy contains language that controls not just who they interact with, but also what they say:
"[Teachers must refrain from] posting negative comments, criticism or confidential information about any student, parent or colleague, even in a general sense, that would allow individuals to figure out who is being discussed."
That final clause can be interpreted in one of two ways. It either exists as further protection for "students, parents, and colleagues" or it exists to restrict a teacher's ability to talk about his/her job. After all, you'd have to be pretty crafty in a city as small as Pocatello (fewer than 55,000 residents) to be able to speak in a way so that not a single soul would be able to identify players in the story. It's clear that the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District wants to avoid another incident like Cook's (or, just as likely, to avoid another PR nightmare after the way it handled the last one). But does this new policy end up putting teachers in a position where their jobs become a non-discussable powder keg? After all, it only takes one misplaced word or fuzzy misinterpretation to light a match.
That brings us to the big questions: what restrictions should public schools be able to place on their employees with regard to social media. Should a high school teacher be allowed to post on Twitter? Where is the line between a teacher's work responsibilities and his/her online freedom?
What do you think?
Read more at Boise Weekly
Photo credit: racorn / Shutterstock
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We take fewer mental pictures per second.
- Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
- In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
- The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.
In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.
Image from the study.
As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.
Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.
"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.
It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.
Image by authors of the study.
Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.
The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.
“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."
Melting ice is turning up bodies on Mt. Everest. This isn't as shocking as you'd think.
- Mt. Everest is the final resting place of about 200 climbers who never made it down.
- Recent glacial melting, caused by global warming, has made many of the bodies previously hidden by ice and snow visible again.
- While many bodies are quite visible and well known, others are renowned for being lost for decades.
The bodies that remain in view are often used as waypoints for the living. Some of them are well-known markers that have earned nicknames.
For instance, the image above is of "Green Boots," the unidentified corpse named for its neon footwear. Widely believed to be the body of Tsewang Paljor, the remains are well known as a guide point for passing mountaineers. Perhaps it is too well known, as the climber David Sharp died next to Green Boots while dozens of people walked past him- many presuming he was the famous corpse.
A large area below the summit has earned the discordant nickname "rainbow valley" for being filled with the bright and colorfully dressed corpses of maintainers who never made it back down. The sight of a frozen hand or foot sticking out of the snow is so common that Tshering Pandey Bhote, vice president of Nepal National Mountain Guides Association claimed: "most climbers are mentally prepared to come across such a sight."
Other bodies are famous for not having been found yet. Sandy Irvine, the partner of George Mallory, may have been one of the first two people to reach the summit of Everest a full thirty years before Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay did it. Since they never made it back down, nobody knows just how close to the top they made it.
Mallory's frozen body was found by chance in the nineties without the Kodak cameras he brought up to record the climb with. It has been speculated that Irvine might have them and Kodak says they could still develop the film if the cameras turn up. Circumstantial evidence suggests that they died on the way back down from the summit, Mallory had his goggles off and a photo of his wife he said he'd put at the peak wasn't in his coat. If Irving is found with that camera, history books might need rewriting.
As Everest's glaciers melt its morbid history comes into clearer view. Will the melting cause old bodies to become new landmarks? Will Sandy Irvine be found? Only time will tell.
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