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Are You Next? High-School Teacher Fired For Harmless Facebook Photo Holding Two Drinks

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By HVculture on February 9, 2011

A lot of teachers have been behaving badly lately, but some are being giving a harsher punishment that necessary. Ashley Payne, a teacher at Apalachee High School in Georgia, was asked to leave after a Facebook photo surfaced of her holding a pint of beer in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

Payne, 24, was called into the principal’s office and asked if she had a Facebook page. When she replied yes, he then asked “Do you have any pictures of yourself up there with alcohol?”

She was offered two options: resign or be suspended. Payne choose to resign but she’s not going down without a fight.

The photo was reported to the school by a parent who found it offensive and felt it promoted drinking but Payne and her lawyer, Richard Storrs, are arguing the accusations are ridiculous.

“It would be like I went to a restaurant and I saw my daughter’s teacher sitting there with her husband having a glass of some kind of liquid,” Storrs said, “You know, is that frowned upon by the school board? Is that illegal? Is that improper? Of course not. It’s the same situation in this case.”

Payne is confused just how the parental tattle-tale got access to her page in the first place. She has all her privacy settings on  on “high,” meaning only her closet friends have permission to see her pictures.

We’re wondering just the same thing and what exactly it means for everyone else. It’s one thing for an employer to not hire you because you have pictures taking hits from a bong or being drunkenly passed out on your profile, but Payne’s picture seems rather harmless.

You could argue that she’s double-fisting, but perhaps she’s just holding the drink for a friend. We know it’s an old excuse, but the fact is pictures can be misinterpreted quite easily, which means anyone can come under fire. Especially when moms, who are generally technology-handicapped, can access things we think are private. Maybe Facebook isn’t being completely honest about their Facebook privacy settings. It just goes to show you that we should all think before we post.

What do you think? Is Payne being rightly fired? Are you worried you’re next? Let us know below.

*Picture is from CBS.

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