Charlotte-Mecklenburg teacher’s Facebook posting (photo: WCNC Channel 36)

As part of a disturbing new trend, America’s public-school teachers are increasingly posting questionable and even sexually explicit information on video-sharing websites and social networks frequented by youth.

According to several nationwide reports, students often search for their teachers on MySpace and Facebook, and some find more information about their instructors than they ever expected.

The National Education Association listed a number of cases, while news outlets have been consistently reporting similar incidents, including the following:

Virginia – Monacan High School art teacher Stephen Murmer made what he called “anthropometric monotypes.” He painted his buttocks and genitals and pressed them onto canvas as part of a television show that was subsequently canceled. According to news reports, fans of the TV show posted the clip on YouTube in March 2006. The school fired him. With the assistance of the ACLU, he sued the district, saying it violated his First Amendment rights. Murmer reached a $65,000 settlement with the district.

A kindergarten teacher from Prince William County, Va., posted a video of a half-nude man having an orgasm in the shower, the Washington Post reported. Another Prince William County substitute teacher used MySpace to post photos of a woman lifting her dress, showing lingerie and flashing breasts.

Teacher’s posting (photo: WCNC Channel 36)

Florida – Band director Scott Davis of Broward County posted explicit material about sex and drugs on his MySpace profile. He was later dismissed by the school.

Also, Florida middle-school teacher John Bush was fired from his position after officials discovered “offensive” and “unacceptable” photos on MySpace.

Palm Beach County, Fla., kindergarten teacher Meghan Buckley posted photos on Facebook of herself drinking and having a friend spank her buttocks, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. Special-education teacher Andrew Summerlin, also of Palm Beach County, described himself as “super horny” and an “A++” in bed.

Colorado – An English teacher was fired for posting explicit sexual poetry on MySpace.

Tennessee – Nashville teacher Margaret Thompson posted “racy pictures” on her MySpace profile.

Massachusetts – Teacher Keath Driscoll referred to women as “whores” and posted photographs of alcohol consumption and “sexually suggestive” pictures. He was originally fired, but the Massachusetts Teachers Association sued. Driscoll received his job back, with back pay, seniority and benefits.

Teacher’s posting (photo: WCNC Channel 36)

Georgia – Atlanta high school football coach Donald Shockley used his school computer to store pictures of an assistant principal wearing lingerie and posing provocatively. Shockley asked a student to use his computer for work, and the teen posted the pictures on the Internet and distributed them to his peers. The coach was later fired.

Ohio – According to the Columbus Dispatch, one teacher described herself as “an aggressive freak in bed,” “sexy” and “an outstanding kisser,” while another instructor said she had “gotten drunk,” “taken drugs” and “gone skinny-dipping” in October last year. Both teachers posted their accounts on MySpace.

Read about Joseph Farah’s inspired solution to the crisis in public education – in his freedom manifesto “Taking America Back.”

Maryland – In April, Montgomery County special education teacher posted a picture of talking sperm on her Facebook profile and used a slang term for oral sex, the Washington Post reported. Another teacher, Alina Espinosa of Clopper Mill Elementary School, included the following in her “about me” section: “I only have two feelings: hunger and lust. Also, I slept with a hooker. Be jealous. I like to go onto Jdate [an online dating service for Jewish people] and get straight guys to agree to sleep with me.”

Teacher’s posting (photo: WCNC Channel 36)

North Carolina
– In the latest case, the Charlotte Observer reports a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
teacher may be fired for “posting derogatory comments about students on
Facebook.” According to the report, four other instructors have been
disciplined for using the social network for posts showing “poor
judgment and bad taste.” One teacher listed drinking as a favorite
hobby and described her job as “teaching chitlins in the ghetto of

Another special-education teacher reportedly used Facebook to write, “I’m feeling p—ed because I hate my students!”

Teachers in several states have been fired or suspended for their postings on social networks, and some challenge their termination in court, citing exercise of free speech. Now teachers’ unions are warning instructors about displaying questionable material.

Michael Simpson, assistant general counsel for the National Education Association, told the Washington Post teachers should think twice before claiming free speech protection under the First Amendment, as the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that governments may terminate employees if their speech harms workplace function.

“I hate to think of what’s out there,” Ken Blackstone, a Prince William, Va., schools spokesman, told the Post. “But as public employees, we all understand the importance of living a public life above reproach.”

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.