February 27, 2013

Teacher gone wild: CrunkBear bares too much

By Aimee Jewell–

As of last month, Carley McKinney, a high school math teacher in Aurora, Colorado was let go from her teaching position after administrators in the Cherry Creek School District found her inappropriate Twitter account. McKinney’s Twitter profile, which donned the handle, @Carley_CrunkBear, was sprinkled with drug and alcohol references, nude photos, and inappropriate language. At 23 years -old, McKinney was put on paid leave from her first year of teaching, as the administration looked into her case to see if she really did do anything wrong.

The temporary firing of McKinney had many students up in arms, as they believed that their math teacher had the right to say whatever she wanted, according to the First Amendment. But when does McKinney’s situation transition from a Constitutional freedom to just plain inappropriate?

As “#FreeCrunkBear” became a trend on Twitter, I began to investigate who “Crunk Bear” was and why she needed to be freed. But as I read on, I was overwhelmed with anger and frustration. Why would a professional who is responsible for teaching teenagers think this was appropriate?

It is common knowledge that teenagers have a tendency to be influenced, and to let someone with such questionable moral standards mold the minds of our youth is unacceptable in my opinion. I do not personally have children, but if I learned that my students were getting an education from someone who was just as immature as they were, I would be furious.

I am a 23-year-old soon-to-be college graduate, and as a developing business professional, I am expected to maintain some sort of ethical standard on my social media pages. Curse words show up rarely on my Facebook and Twitter accounts, inappropriate or naked photos are unfathomable, and even photos displaying alcohol are extremely rare.

McKinney is supposed to be seen as a professional. As a teacher, you are responsible for upholding certain ethical standards. You are seen as a role model to the children who learn from you each day. And if you don’t want that burden on your shoulders, I think that heavily considering a different profession is necessary.

If she really thinks that photos of her naked body, photos of her “blazing up” (despite the fact that marijuana is now legal in Colorado), and just overall unacceptable behavior are appropriate for Twitter, I believe she needs to find a different profession – or simply stop posting about it.

It frustrates me to no end that “Crunk Bear, ” who makes irresponsible professional choices by posting inappropriate content on Twitter can maintain a job in this tough economy (at least for a little while), while many people I know sit back, are completely familiar with business ethics, uphold a certain online standard, and still will probably come out of college and have to actively search for employment.

I certainly hope “Crunk Bear” learned her lesson and stops posting such vulgar material to a publically accessed site. And if she doesn’t learn, I hope she continues to be unsuccessful in her job hunt until she learns that inappropriate behavior is not suitable while interacting with young minds.

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