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. There is a video all over the web and TV of a cop who stopped an Uber driver. The passenger, in the backseat, filmed the encounter between the driver and the officer. The officer was so out of control and rude that ended up losing his job over this video. I wonder if the same characters on here, who are so vehemently opposed to the posting of this teacher’s mugshot, would just as vehemently defend this rogue cop and his outrageous behavior? Of course not, because he’s a cop and everyone knows that cops are all inherently evil and vicious. This teacher, who is in close contact with young children, needs protection from having her criminal behavior aired, not this cop, whose behavior probably never rose to that of a crime.

  2. Regarding the booking photo in question. It is a pretty flattering one, in the top 5% of all the booking photos I’ve seen. And, I’ve seen @ least 1k, probably close to 2k.

  3. Ponacrates, Your match analogy is ludicrous. Booking photos are available to anyone. The Smoking Gun has a great array of booking photos of famous and not so famous people. Open records are the cornerstone of our democracy. Politicians are showing a disturbing inclination to close records. That should frighten everyone. Wisconsin has a stellar history of having open record, but I have seen weasel politicians in both parties trying to close them in recent years. Cops HATE open records. Sunshine is the great sanitizer. Open records keep politicians, public employees, everyone accountable.

  4. isaac

    Taking things to the extreme, said the one who randomly brought up Nazis and Communists. Now that’s funny!

  5. Paul C. Schulte

    “Ponacrates – what the students distributed was in the public record, anyone can have it.”

    Its not a matter of having the picture, its a matter of how the picture is used. I am allowed to have matches, but if I use them to burn down your house it’s a tort.

    Just because the government allows itself the right to publish those pictures (a separate and too overlooked issue), that doesn’t make it appropriate for someone to republish or otherwise use those pictures in ways that are harmful to a person and to the person’s ability to function in the workplace.

    (Indeed, if the school had refused to reprimand the students, the school might even be opening itself up to a claim by the teacher that the school was allowing a hostile work environment.)

    Your public record argument also assumes that publication by a government entity completely strips the subject of all rights to their visage. That is simply not true, and there is a growing backlash as well a number of class action lawsuits currently pending about this very topic.

    Indeed, our esteemed host has previously weighed in on this issue: http://jonathanturley.org/2014/05/07/new-laws-and-lawsuits-target-mugshot-sites/, although his stand seems to have evolved since then, and not in a good way.

    Finally, the mugshot was taken at the time of booking, prior to any formal adjudication of guilt. Are you saying that mere accusation, regardless of the results of due process, is enough to make the photo completely fair game for anybody to use in any way they choose, be they paparazzi hustler or puerile adolescent?

    1. Ponacrates – she takes a great mug shot. The mug shot is a public record. The newspapers can use it and might if they want. Actually, JT used it here. Was his intent evil? It has been my experience that the students either heard about the incident and looked for the photo or somehow got wind of the photo and went to the site. I doubt that the students were digging for dirt on the teacher.

      To emphasize the obvious, the students were punished for misuse of student equipment (to wit, the computer), not finding and forwarding the photo.

  6. People don’t understand the fundamental difference between private and personal. And, they are allowed to vote.

  7. Isaac, Booking photo’s are not “dirt.” They are a public record of a public offense. When you commit a crime it is not personal, it is public. I will refer you to a rare instance of wisdom @ 12:09p. What he said.

  8. What’s the big deal with publishing public information on a public forum?

  9. If some parents are teaching their children that it’s OK to seek personal information about people on the Internet and then publish it on forums, blogs or Facebook, they have no business being parents and have probably perverted their own children.

  10. Nick

    Looking for dirt on people to spread around on the internet is not free speech. If these were adults where it was too late, they are already perverted then that is one thing. But, they are kids, forming; it is important to intercede in some way. Giving them a free ride for mischief under the banner of a sacred rite is the fastest way to pervert that freedom. There are always holy reasons for doing the wrong thing. When society takes on the responsibility for these reasons and attributes to them their proper value then we are getting somewhere.

    Bam Bam

    Taking things to extremes is the pinnacle of the lame argument. There is no connection between snitches and responsibility. It is somewhat the reverse, irresponsibility and snitches. You make my argument for me.


    I knew and still know many Americans, only one draft dodger, one 13 month marine vet, two who allowed themselves to be conscripted but flatly stated they would not kill any Vietnamese, several who joined the Navy to get out of being drafted. It has been a long time since I have heard anyone refer to Viet Nam as anything but a criminal colonial adventure that cost the lives of three million Vietnamese, etc, etc.

    Most draft dodgers I have heard of had the courage to stand behind their morals. It is a dangerous line to cross, ‘My country right or wrong.’ Thank heavens most of the world is evolving out of that.

  11. Isaac gets a lot of leeway w/ me because I love the hosers. Except for Freench Canadians. they can kiss my ass right downtown. Like in Arizona, we get a lotta hosers here in San Diego. Just met a 2nd grade teacher and her husband, a cop, from Winnipeg, @ breakfast this morning. They are here for Spring Break. Just salt of the earth people. I took a family photo for the extended family. They were very grateful for a simple favor. Hosers are OK w/ me.

    1. bam bam – we can always blame Canada. That’s what we do! 😀

  12. While the kids are all on suspension they should meet at the public library where there are computers. Then they should gather mug shots of: Principal, Superintendent of Schools. School Board. They should then alter the photos as best they can and file Notices of Suspension on each. Then post those Notices with the mug shots all over the internet. Then go to that website which puts photos on toilet paper for ten dollars for four rolls, pool their money for lunch, and buy some toilet paper with the Principal’s photo. Then use the toilet paper for its intended use and leave it on the steps of the school when no one is around. And furthermore…..

  13. Nick and Paul

    issac’s statements remind me of the mentality pervasive in certain segments of our crime-ridden cities. The expression declaring that SNITCHES GET STITCHES is prevalent among those living in these high-crime, low-income, areas. People are brainwashed to believe that TELLING on someone is ALWAYS wrong, even if that someone committed a heinous crime, such as murder. The police are always the bad guys, and they are not to be trusted, EVER. Well, as with many things in life, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t march down the streets demanding justice and safety in your community,and, at the same time, vilify and punish those are courageous enough to step forward and do the right thing.

    1. bam bam – just remember where some of our draft dodgers went during the Vietnam War and you will understand some of issac’s thinking. 😉

  14. Isaac, You have some baggage vis a vis students. You have alluded to it in the past. I respect that. I understand that. I empathize. But, I always err on the side of freedom of speech. It is uniquely American. I “encourage” free speech and “discourage” restrictions on free speech.

  15. Nick and Paul

    The personalities are quickly revealing themselves to me, as well as to others who read this.

  16. Nick

    You either encourage the behavior or you discourage the behavior. The ‘watchdog’ behavior of kids is subject to a different development of maturity, responsibility, and understanding than that of an adult. Life is as hard as you make it. However, it is no one’s responsibility to make it harder, especially not that of a student.

    This is a perfect example of some missing parts: respect for one’s elders/teachers, learning to mind one’s own business, and most of all not substantiating malicious behavior by using technicalities. If it is found that the teacher in question lost her license for her fifth or sixth DUI then that situation would certainly warrant some public scrutiny. If she lost it for some inoffensive and mundane reason like not having insurance, forgetting to change an address or anything else that poses absolutely no threat to students or society, then bug out.

    Even if it was a case of something severe enough to demand that it be posted, the activity of the students ‘tattling’ on her is in of itself, not to be encouraged. Are you sure you want to live in a society where kids become more cynical for getting away with this sort of thing?

    “Life’s hard, then you die. Deal w/it.” You sound like some cheap T-shirt.

  17. bam bam, Isaac is an Obama lapdog. You’ll get to see his strengths and weaknesses soon enough. He’s also a hoser, which is a factor in much of his thinking.

  18. Isaac was a teacher, as was I. But, I’m also a PI and believe strongly in public information. We differ on this. If it’s public info, then WTF is the issue? Don’t want your booking photo published, then don’t get booked. 11 Atlanta teachers were seen being handcuffed on national news yesterday. You know students are having a field day w/ that. Life’s hard, then you die. Deal w/ it.

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