7. Where There's Smoke, There's Ire
Sometimes posting a photo of someone else is enough to get you in trouble. In March 2005 Central High student Eliazar Velasquez snapped shots of principal Elaine Almagno having a smoke on school grounds and posted them to his Web site. He then distributed flyers throughout the Providence-based school, urging students to visit the site. Though it was Almagno who got caught breaking Rhode Island's ban on smoking near schools, it was the sophomore who got suspended. But not for long; after the story hit the news wires, Velasquez's suspension was lifted. Our advice to Almagno? Two words: Nicotine patch.
8. No Nudes Is Good Nudes
Here are two quick rules of thumb. If you're going to teach art to high schoolers, try not to post nude photos of yourself online. And if you must teach art and pose in the nude, don't do it in Texas. Tamara Hoover found this out the hard way in May 2006, when she was forced to leave her teaching position at Austin High School after students discovered semi-nude pix of the 31-year-old on Flickr. Perhaps it was the photos of a nude Hoover wearing a spiked dog collar that set school administrators into a tizzy, or perhaps it was simply because the photos were taken by Hoover's gay lover. Because as we all know, Texas has no room for artists, lesbians, or naked people.
9. Nice, Err, Pom Poms
As Texas is to nude art teachers, Illinois is to scantily clad cheerleading coaches. In April 2007, 25-year-old Natosha Shaw was temporarily stripped of her pom poms when parents at Waukegan High discovered sexy photos on Shaw's MySpace profile. Parents claimed the aspiring dancer/model was also "inexperienced, incompetent, and immature" as well as under dressed. But Shaw, who's also an executive assistant to an Illinois state congressman, was ultimately given a second chance. Apparently it's OK to train teenage girls to perform in front of crowds wearing skimpy outfits, so long as you don't do it on MySpace. Shouldn't the parents be more worried that she doesn't know how to spell "Natasha"?
10. Then We Ordered Another Bottle of Tequila, and When I Woke Up One of My Kidneys Was Missing
It was a vacation she'd probably rather forget. When Janet Dudley-Eshbach, president of Salisbury University in Maryland, created an album of her family's trip to Mexico on Facebook in October 2007, she didn't expect a local TV station to broadcast the photos to the world, or to have a Wikipedia entry covering the mini-scandal. The problem wasn't the photos so much as the captions, like the one for this picture: "I ended up having to beat off the Mexicans because they were constantly flirting with my daughter." (We believe she meant with a stick.) Or the photo of a tapir, a piglike mammal, with an arrow pointing to its outsized manhood. The 53-year-old educator was forced to apologize for conduct unbecoming a university president--and to endure a painful lesson on how not to use Facebook's privacy settings.
11. Yesterday, Spring Break; Tomorrow, Prison Break
What's a Halloween costume cost? For college junior Joshua Lipton, it was two years of his life. In October 2006, the Bryant University student was charged with drunk driving after causing a three-car crash that left one Providence woman in critical condition. Two weeks later he showed up for a Halloween party dressed as "Jail Bird," photos of which made it onto Facebook. That didn't sit very well with the judge in the case, who called the picture "a defense attorney's worst nightmare" and sentenced Lipton to two years in prison. The good news: The department of corrections didn't have to issue Lipton a new jumpsuit--he already had his own.
12. I'm a PC, She's a Mac, and You're Unemployed
Michael Hanscom did not pose nude on Flickr, attack the locals with a stick on his trip to Mexico, or dress up like the Fairy Princess while calling in sick. His crime? In October 2003, the Microsoft temp posted photos of Macintosh G5s being unloaded on the Redmond campus to his blog with the title "Even Microsoft wants G5s." And that was enough to get him canned from his job in Microsoft's print shop for an alleged "security violation." Apparently, the world's largest developer of software for the Mac (besides Apple) didn't want anyone to know that some of its employees use Macs. (Thanks for Michael Hanscom for use of the photo.)
Contributing editor Dan Tynan tries to avoid posting nude photos of his brain on his blog, Tynan on Technology.