Tennessee Students Suspended After Posting Mug Shot Of Teacher on Instagram

TiffanyJacksonThree Tennessee middle school students have been suspended from Highland Oaks Middle School in Memphis in the latest example of schools policing social media, a trend that I have criticized in the past. In this case, the students posted a mug shot of teacher Tiffany Jackson after she was arrested for driving on a suspended license. This is a publicly available photo and it is obvious why students would send it to each other on Instagram. Yet, the school suspended the students anyway.

Suspension for the re-posting of a public picture in my view is well beyond the proper purview of school officials. School officials however have responded that it was not technically the re-posting but “inappropriate use of electronic media” that was the basis for the suspensions (later reduced to one day).

Richardson told the station she did not think it fair her son was disciplined for re-posting a photo that was public record. The school says that the students “were using district computers — not personal cell phones — to access inappropriate websites and content not related to the lessons that day.”

I expect that students routinely stray in the use of such computers and do not receive suspensions. The motivating factor appears to be the specific picture involved in the incident. The students reportedly apologized and, with notice to the parents, that should have ended the matter in my view.

By the way, Ms. Jackson takes a very nice mug shot for an amateur arrestee.

72 thoughts on “Tennessee Students Suspended After Posting Mug Shot Of Teacher on Instagram”

  1. issac

    Not all behavior is criminal. This mug shot was taken as the individual was being booked for a crime. There is no claim, in my opinion, to privacy, as it applies in this situation.

    Instead of suggesting that others take a fu*king pill, perhaps it would be wise that you, instead, take a lesson in logic, so that you will not equate every random act which occurs in the world.

  2. bambam

    I think that you would be a good candidate to organize the ‘Junior Expose’ Rangers’. You could scour the internet, police files, etc and splatter all slip ups and mistakes teachers have made. DUI ten fifteen years ago, hey let’s get it up there, caught smoking pot in college, get it up there, got caught mooning the opposition bleachers at a football game, well must be a pervert, and so on. There are crimes people commit that make them unfit to be around children, crimes that make them unfit to be teachers, but smearing a teacher for driving on a suspended license is nothing more than petty bullying and does no public service. There are enough serious problems in the system(s) without creating new ones.

    There is more similarity between your position and the Nazi children turning in Jewish neighbors and their parents and communist children turning in their parents than the reasonable society that most Americans want: a little privacy, a little less bias, a chance to perform their job without being scrutinized and tested at every turn by vacuous ‘minutemen’ of propriety. Take a fu*king pill.

    And let’s all have an atta boy for Obama. He accomplished something with Iran.

  3. She could have saved herself that embarrassment by following the law and setting a proper example…

    BINGO! Max has it. She broke the law. The kids found out through publicly available methods and quite normally shared the information.

    If she didn’t break the law and wasn’t driving on a suspended license (and why was it suspended in the first place) there would be no embarrassing photo to pass around.

  4. issac

    From the available information, I do not believe that we have an instance of some students being disrespectful with regard to a teacher. I do not condone bullying, but I fail to see this as an example of the teacher, who, by all accounts, committed a crime–yes, a crime–of driving on a suspended license. Her arrest and the accompanying mug shot are PUBLIC INFORMATION, available to all of us. While the posting may not have been the most flattering to the teacher, I would assert that the TEACHER, herself, not the students, is the source of what you describe as embarrassment and damage. Who, after all, issac, actually committed the crime? The students or the teacher? If the teacher wanted to avoid embarrassment, I would suggest that she should refrain from getting behind the wheel of an automobile without the proper driving privileges. It’s really as simple as that. The TEACHER committed a crime; the kids only broke a rule regarding the use of computers.

    As I mentioned previously, the school district may have just dodged a bullet here. This teacher is unfit to transport students in her vehicle until such time as she may legally do so. Even then, without any knowledge of her driving history, I may not a child of mine riding in her car.

  5. Karen and BamBam

    From the available information, we have some students disrespecting teachers. This is part and parcel with the cowardly attacks people make on others, sometimes doing great harm through the internet. Nobody on this post is revealed except JT. That means that no one is threatened. If someone, especially a child/student makes an effort to embarrass or damage someone this is bullying. The students need to be made to come to the realization that this is not acceptable. If a suspension is the typical warning then so be it. They do not have the right to offend, bully, and distribute the unfortunate situation of the teacher.

    It has nothing to do with using the school’s computers or any other sort of vehicle. It is entirely about what they did, not how they did it. The rest is cheap legal BS.

  6. WHY were her driving privileges SUSPENDED? That just might be a relevant question to be asking here. While it may not be associated with the larger question, which is whether it was appropriate to suspend these kids, it might answer a completely different set of unknowns.

    If she was caught, driving on a suspended license, what was the BASIS for that suspension? Is it the result of driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, being involved in an accident–without insurance and failing to make restitution–or just the accumulation of too many points? Perhaps these students did the school district a favor, so to speak, by exposing a problem that needs to be addressed pertaining to this individual. When I was a student, I remember teachers using their personal vehicles as a way to transport students on field trips. Instead of punishing these kids, the school district may have just dodged a bullet by putting them on notice that this teacher is not to be driving kids in her car.

    The kids were suspended, but for how long? What, if any, was the teacher’s punishment, if, in fact, one was appropriate? In many states, this is not such an innocuous event as one would imagine. I can only speak for my state, but a conviction for driving on a suspended license is a 12 point violation, with the possibility of jail time. Three or more convictions for driving on a suspended driver’s license is a FELONY. Yep, a FELONY.

    While these kids should be admonished to not use the school computers for anything other than school-related matters, these kids do not deserve a suspension for sending this publicly posted photo. I actually think that they did the school district a service by bringing a potentially dangerous individual to light.

    1. bam bam – a day off is fair. It is almost no harm no foul. However, they cannot say what punishment, if any, the teacher got, since it is a personnel matter.

      The thing is that to find this photo they probably needed at least 15-20 mins.

  7. Oh, look, a school is limiting free speech of the students. How unusual. Do any of us still buy that they all have students’ best interests at heart?

    What is the written rule about using school computers for activities not related to the lesson? Because unless they suspend everyone, every single time, I hope the parents get a good lawyer and teach them a valuable lesson.

    1. Karen – I can tell you from experience that when my students were using the school computers and I came by, I usually had to close an average of 10 windows that were open to inappropriate sites. We had one teacher who was watching porn on the school computer.

  8. How do you guys know that it was indeed ‘malicious’? She looks quite attractive to me! Maybe they were passing around a mug shot of the cute female because ‘hot for teacher’? (And we know she’s got a little wild side too, the lawbreaker!)

  9. Re issac: The essence of the matter is that some students maliciously distributed or enhanced the availability of something that was embarrassing and perhaps even damaging to the teacher.


    Schools in our modern times have real challenges dealing with inappropriate and hurtful uses of technology by students, and that doesn’t just include students sending inappropriate pictures of their boyfriend/girlfriends to their mates.

    This is simply another form of cyber bullying, which the school has a legitimate interest in preventing in any case, but especially so when the target is one of its own faculty members.

    1. Ponacrates – what the students distributed was in the public record, anyone can have it. The mistake was using the school’s computers to do it and for that they were punished.

  10. I think the teens, just learning to drive themselves, should be allowed to know what it looks like when an adult loses their license. Especially when it’s a teacher. The only thing embarrassing to the teacher is that she got caught driving on a suspended license. She could have saved herself that embarrassment by following the law and setting a proper example…

  11. Paul

    Your input illustrates my point of where there is a problem and it is being addressed or clouded behind the technicality of how the mugshot was posted.

    The essence of the matter is that some students maliciously distributed or enhanced the availability of something that was embarrassing and perhaps even damaging to the teacher. How they did it and what that means is so much BS. This is where JT and the other legal experts get off the beam. The action by the students was wrong. The nonsense regarding which computer they used or which buttons they pushed is not the issue. Any cheap suit can argue this BS into the night.

  12. This is another instance where the sanctity of the law and ‘rights’ sometimes goes overboard. What the students did was somewhat malicious. They negatively impacted the profile of the teacher. This is an example of disrespect.

    The students should be held accountable for their intent regardless of the technicalities of the situation, availability of the photo, etc.

    Laws and rights are created by society. They can be interpreted by that society. It should not be that hard to understand that mindless application of laws and rights is not so much different than not having them at all.

    JT this is where you are contained by your profession. See if you can develop an appropriately worded way to make a point that needs to be made, to these little darlings.

    1. issac – other than they were using school computers, what they did was perfectly legal. I am sure the principal only uses his computer for school needs. Same with the teacher. I think we need to check their search histories.

  13. The key word here is “inappropriate” use of electronic media. Inappropriate is such a vague term, implying bad manners, like using the wrong fork at dinner. Unless the school can cite an actual rule that was violated, and that the students were aware of the rule, I think they could get these suspensions overturned.

  14. I think this is hilarious. The administrators punished the kids to protect this teacher and future teachers from bad PR, thereby causing a thousand times more publicity for this teacher and bad PR for the school district. Cockroaches run when the lights are turned on.

  15. The school is just getting them ready for the real world, where free speech is verboten.

    Like how Apple has stores in countries that behead gays, but piles on a pizza place nobody has heard of because they might not cater a gay wedding.

    “Whatever rule they have in their heads at the time cannot be violated.”
    That replaces the First Amendment.

  16. When the principal gets suspended for ‘misusing the computer’ I will feel better about the suspension. It is a nice mug shot and surely did not do her any damage.

  17. The worst thing that can happen to government is embarrassment. That fact explains a lot of odd behavior.

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