Teacher Fired Over Beer Photo.

This is the photo that got Ashley Payne, a High School english teacher fired from her Job at Apalachee HS in Barrow County, Georgia.  Nevermind the fact that she was on vacation, nevermind the fact that she didn’t friend students on her Facebook page where the photo was found, nevermind the fact that she did nothing illegal whatsoever, she was told to resign or be suspended.  She chose to resign so not to have a suspension on her teaching record ( I guess that is something like that elusive “Permanent Record” we were all threatened with whenever we got crossways with a teacher or the Principle).

OK, so lets recap, She wasn’t even on this continent when the photo was taken, she was on vacation, she is of legal drinking age, she is an adult, she does not friend students on her Facebook page, and does not share her pictures with anyone but those people who do friend her.  So why in the world would she loose her job over this?  Well there is a nebulous policy that gives her Principle and the School Board way too much judgement authority over “inappropriate” teacher content on the internet.  For God’s sake she isn’t naked, That I could see as inappropriate.

No, she is an adult on vacation enjoying a couple of alcoholic beverages in a responsible manner…The SHAME!

We really need to get past these Victorian attitudes where alcohol is concerned in this country.  The Barrow County School Board is now being sued by Ms. Payne so she can try and get her job back.  I hope she wins, and wins back pay too, because she has been unemployed ever since this incident happened originally in November of 2009.

What are your thoughts?  Clearly she is drinking and she is an educator.  Are we this oversensitive to the taboo of alcohol?  Seriously, you can’t have a picture of an yourself on vacation drinking responsibly without your job being in jeopardy?  So tell me, am I off base?  Or does this woman deserve her job back?

UPDATE:  2/14/11 To all who would leave a comment about my inappropriate use of “Principle”…I know that I screwed up.  It was pointed out to me within 30 minutes of posting this article.  I made the decision to leave it in place as is, because the comments that were left wouldn’t make sense if I changed the text.  I didn’t want to remove comments from our loyal readers to “clean it all up”.  I get it, I made a grammatical mistake, the irony of which hasn’t escaped me either that I am discussing an English teacher that lost her job as well.  I’m sure if you want to go back through all 650 posts on this site, you can find plenty of typos and misspellings.  Knock yourself out!  I however will continue to focus on the issue at hand here where a teacher LOST HER JOB FOR DRINKING A BEER! I will no longer reply to people simply pointing out my grammatical deficiencies.

-Don.

JIM’S UPDATE 2/15/11 While Don will no longer be responding to his grammatical deficiencies, please feel free to point out all of his other shortcomings, which are still fair game. ;)

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136 Comments on “Teacher Fired Over Beer Photo.”

  1. Ian Joyce
    February 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    All that picture proves is that she is holding 2 glasses of unknown contents. Clearly she deserves her job back.

    • Don
      February 8, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

      I agree Ian. There is no “Proof” of anything at all. To her credit she did say yes she was drinking. She went to the Guinness Brewery taproom and had a Guinness on tap, and a photo, she went to a couple of pubs too. So what? I find it hard to believe that she has been out over a year over this already!

      • Ian Joyce
        February 8, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

        Agreed, it’s hard to believe. Drinking or not, she deserves her job back as she’s acting like an adult in that picture, not some sloppy drunk college kid.

        It’s possible her teaching contract has some stipulation about appearing publicly with a drink or some such nonsense.

  2. 1Time4got
    February 8, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with her photo, so my guess is the ultra-conservative Christian right or in this case, just plain wrong, rules her school board. Isn’t the legal drinking age in this country 21 and obviously she’s older than 21.

    Perhaps someone should remind her school board that Prohibition ended a long time ago and the separation of church and state remains a solid principle in our nation. If she was teaching at a private Christian school, I could possibly understand it, but she’s a public school teacher for God’s sake.

    Here’s raising a toast to her getting her job back and her school board joining the rest of us in the 21st century.

    • Don
      February 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

      AMEN! And no, I’m not on the Christian Right…or wrong…jus sayin’

      • February 8, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

        Funny, I’d call myself on the conservative side of center and the Christian side of religion and couldn’t disagree more with her dismissal.

        All I’m saying is let’s maybe not try to blame an entire group of people for the act of a very few.

  3. February 8, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    This is complete load of crap. Why would this be wrong? Because IF a student saw it, they MIGHT think she has some alcohol occasionally? I suppose its safe to assume they all live in an otherwise alcohol-free zone, and not ONE of them has a dad who kills a case of Coors every weekend, or an uncle who drinks Old Grandad like its going out of style. The entire school board should be removed for allowing this, as well as the school administrators who failed to back her. Un-f*cking-believable.

    • Don
      February 8, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

      Dustin, not only did the administrators fail to back her, they were the ones that persecuted her for the picture in the first place! Oh, and take it easy on us OGD drinkers, that’s some good stuff, especially the 114 proof.

  4. February 8, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    That makes me very, very angry. It’s not enough that teachers get paid garbage doing a thankless job so little Johnny and Julie Knucklehead can continue to push the state of Georgia lower in the education rankings (40th in 2010… dumbasses). They’re now monitoring the morality of their employees in their personal time? And punishing them for doing something that isn’t even immoral?

    This is absolutely brutal. I hope that woman takes the state of Georgia for all they’re worth.

    • Don
      February 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

      I know, I couldn’t even believe it when I saw the story over my lunch hour. How can these actions of the Barrow County School Board be tolerated in this day and age? It is reprehensible.

    • February 14, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

      What pisses me off also is that not only do the teachers get paid crap, and are apparently not allowed to indulge in adult activities when they are on VACATION, but the people in charge of our schools are using our children’s educational funding to sit around on the internet and nit-pick our teachers out of a job! We don’t have enough money for books or arts programs but we have money for sports and spies? Speaking of nit-pickers; really lame for the grammar nagging. Everyone who commented on it is the same kind of scum sucking pig that led to that teacher’s demise, and further more doesn’t deserve to share air. Worthless ass clowns!

  5. Nicole
    February 8, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    So is it a policy that teachers can’t drink even on vacation? If she was showing it off to her students I could see the issue, but as it is this sounds ridiculous.

    • Don
      February 8, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

      They said she was asked to resign because she posted the pictures on her Facebook site. So it isn’t the activity they don’t condone, but the telling anyone about it…I guess. I wonder how many times they have given students detention for not ratting out their friends, and here she is above board about it and she gets fired…talk about mixed messages…

  6. February 8, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

    Reminiscent of my college experience. A rumor that I had alcohol at my house while living off campus landed me on disciplinary probation. I was later suspended, but for a matter of much more serious gravity.

    A pic of my buddy holding a brew got him suspended.

    Poor Gal….you have my sympathy, sister.

    • Don
      February 8, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

      That was in an instance when you were underage? Was it a private college? It seems that in this case where the teacher was completely legal, there wasn’t even a question of morality, and it is a public school, there shouldn’t be any question about her teaching career.

      • February 9, 2011 at 8:42 pm #

        Mine was a completely different scenario. I was 23 years old, but it was a private college. Her scenario is much more retarded with more dire consequences…I was just saying I know what it’s like to have your future toyed with by legalism.

  7. February 8, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    She is double fisting…

    • Don
      February 8, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

      True, but who is to say she isn’t holding for a friend? No officer…that’s not my pot. I’m just holding it for a friend. In all seriousness, she doesn’t deserve to loose her job over it!

      • July 20, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

        I’ll assume she is “holding for a friend” as I just wouldn’t want someone who drinks beer and wine at the same time teaching anything to anyone.

        • Don
          July 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

          I like to mix them then drink, it is much easier than drinking out of two glasses at the same time!

  8. February 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    Should she: Get her job back? Yes. Get paid back pay? Yes. Sue the f*$&ing h&!! out of the entire school system? Yes. Tell them all to go f$&* themselves afterward and NEVER go back to said job once she’s reinstated? Double yes! Good lord, people… Do those administrators know nothing about teenagers? I spent 7 years teaching H.S. in S. Georgia and let me tell you, those kids were doing things I didn’t know there were even names for! I had kids who were: married, parents, street fighters, illegal immigrants, on probation, working full time, in court more than in class, drug dealers, drug addicts, living alone, living in cars, their family’s sole breadwinners, smokers, drinkers, cutters, and just about any other negative thing you can imagine, all mixed in equally with the honors students, sheltered babies, and ‘good kids.’ Some of the troubled ones were honors students and ‘good kids’, too! Oh, the stories I could tell! A teacher who knocks back a few beers on vacation will not, in any way, disillusion today’s public high school students. They’ve seen it all, or heard about it all, already. Alcohol is the LEAST of the things the school board needs to worry about.

    • Don
      February 8, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

      Perhaps it is just symbolism over substance. They can’t possibly address all the issues you just mentioned so to look like they are effective they go after “low hanging fruit.” That way they look like they are engaged and active. Sounding like she is a victim of an ineffective and incompetent system. I’ve seen this before and it is ugly…

    • December 10, 2011 at 11:40 am #

      To paraphrase W, “Is our schools learning?” Apparently not.

      Has anyone heard how this saga ended? I have not.

  9. B is for beer
    February 8, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    You wrote: “For God’s sake she isn’t naked, That I could see as inappropriate.”

    I don’t think I would _personally_ find that inappropriate at all if she were, nope, not at all. :-) :-) :-)

    That aside, yes, the school district has absolutely no business making that kind of a judgment, much less depriving her of her employment. We need to fight this pervasive anti-alcohol bigotry that is so common in this country.

    It does, however, illustrate the need to be extra cautious about what kind of information or photos we make available to others when using facebook.com or other websites because there are bad people out there (in this case a school board with one or more Prohibitionists and/or teabagger morons) who misuse that information to do bad things to you. It’s a shame that we have to self-censor even innocent self-expression, but that’s what has happened to our society.

    P.S. The editor in me compels me to point out that you really meant to use the word “lose” not “loose” in both instances in which you used it. You probably also meant to write principal rather than principle (in a somewhat ironic swap of homophones considering the nature of the story). ;-) Oddly enough, both errors are listed consecutively on this site: http://learnyourdamnhomophones.com/

    • B is for beer
      February 8, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

      Incidentally, I’m a little puzzled by her choice of resignation rather than leaving it to the district to suspend her, unless the decision to sue the school district didn’t come until later. Force the district to make the decision and be responsible for it. Yes, she would have a suspension “on her permanent record,” but a lawsuit to regain her job also creates a public record, so what has she really gained by avoiding the suspension. By resigning, one could make the case that her loss of employment was “voluntary” (even though it was actually coerced), whereas a wrongful suspension would not be.

      • Don
        February 8, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

        Good points, and ones that I’m sure the crack public school legal team will bring out! I watched a couple of news clips about this and she said that the Principal (the correct one) told her that it was a done deal, that he had already discussed it with the District Superintendent and that the School Board had been polled and she was going to be gone. So she was essentially ambushed with this. Easy for us to say what she should have done with the benefit of 20 years more experience and hindsight on our side. She did take the legal action after she resigned, BTW.

      • February 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

        She resigned because she thought (or was told) that a suspension would be a black mark on her career that followed her forever.

        She also didn’t know that the maximum suspension they could levy upon her was 10 days. She got railroaded.

    • Don
      February 8, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

      Thanks for the grammar lesson! It will make my brother Jim laugh, as he has already told me about both of those and my inexplicable ability to use either correctly. I will fix them. I too would not be offended by her nudity, in fact I might encourage it in the appropriate venue. That said these folks are completely out of their minds to fire her for such an innocent transgression, if you can even call it a transgression.

      • B is for beer
        February 8, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

        We all make those kinds of mistakes, especially while writing on the fly. (At least as the blog owner, you have the ability to edit yours after the fact, but someone who comments gets only one shot ;-). ) I see that I have not only forgotten to use a question mark after the “what has she really gained” sentence, but also f-d up the “By resigning…” sentence in that the “one” who might make the case… wasn’t the teacher who was coerced into resigning.

        I think I could use a beer about now.

        • Don
          February 8, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

          Now there has been so much dialog about my bad grammar in the comments I feel compelled to leave it as is, so now when people read through the comments they make sense!

    • B is for beer
      February 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

      Ummm, “editor’s correction”

      As I re-read my comment, I see that I wrote:
      …you really meant to use the word “lose” not “loose” in both instances…
      when I really should have written
      …you really meant to use the word “lose,” not “loose,” in both instances…

      Physician, heal thyself (grin).

    • February 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

      Best. Comment. Ever!!

      That stupid “loose” versus “lose” thing he does makes me nuts!! And forget Principle (versus principal), you should see him both compliment / complement!!

      /feeling better now

      • Don
        February 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

        SHUT UP… :(

  10. Brandon
    February 8, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    Hmmm, does she have any other photos of herself on the internet? ;)

    • Don
      February 8, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

      There are a lot of “pretty women” out there Brandon…Knock yourself out!

  11. Matt
    February 8, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    I have lost all perspective living out in California. It blows my mind there are still people out there that would make this type of decision to fire her. I bet she is an outgoing, type-A personality woman that enjoys life and the school official that made this decision thinks women should stay at home and be seen, not heard. Crazy.

    • February 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

      Grammar and punctuation definitely makes it look like an educator wrote the anonymous “parent” email that started the wheels in motion. Almost for sure an inside job.

  12. Professor English
    February 8, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    RE: “…policy that gives her Principle and the School Board…”

    Principle = A rule or belief governing one’s personal behavior
    Principal = The head or director of a school

    Also, principal is not capitalized.

    You’re welcome.

    • Don
      February 8, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

      Let me go on record as saying I just write about English teachers, and only when Beer or whiskey are involved. I am not, nor have I ever been an English Teacher, or professed to be anything but an Idiot. Rooftop speech over…

      • Professor English
        February 8, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

        Clearly. :)

    • February 8, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

      You tell that moran!

      I mean morman.

      Uh, moroon.

      Oh forget it!

    • B is for beer
      February 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

      Hey, “Professor,” use this with your students: http://learnyourdamnhomophones.com/

      • February 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

        Don’t sweat it, Don. My mom was an English teacher and I still don’t write more better than most people.

        • Don
          February 8, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

          What the fu@k people! At what point did this post cease to be about the poor lady who lost her job, and focus on my inability to write? Here is a potential career move for her, she could be a tutor for crappy blog writers!

      • February 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

        If that link were “learnyourdamnhomophobes.com,” you’d click through to find a picture of Don and the guy who played Uncle Jessie on the Dukes of Hazzard.

        • Don
          February 8, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

          Yeah…you know that sleeveless, mother of pearl snap shirt he wore drove me nuts!

      • Angelina
        February 12, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

        Ok, I have to agree with Don. Do you guys really care so much about his grammer or the fact that this woman lost her job?

        • Don
          February 14, 2011 at 9:17 am #

          Thank’s for your support Angelina! I have posted an “Update” on the bottom of the post for all who want to bash on me for my grammar.

      • Cass
        February 14, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

        To answer your question, I really don’t know why she would loose her job over this… or lose it.

        Sorry, had to join in on the grammar fun. Anyway, this really is pathetic. That Principal needs to knock a few back and get laid.

  13. February 8, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    Any of you word nerds and grammar goons gonna point out the period in the headline?

    • February 8, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

      I just assumed that it was a third of an ellipsis.

    • 1Time4got
      February 8, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

      No, but I will point out that she wasn’t “fired” over the photo but rather “because of” the photo. Was she physically launched from a propellant device over a 3-D replica of the photo? If she was, then she was fired over the photo. If not, she was fired because of the photo.

      • Don
        February 8, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

        Yeah…see Jim…you dummy!

  14. February 8, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    In retrospect, this article was pure marketing genius.

    Step 1: Tell your readership- a whole bunch of beer lovers- about someone being persecuted because of their ingestion of beer.

    Step 2: Put a picture up of a pretty smiling woman holding beer, namely the one that was persecuted.

    Step 3: Casually mention the word “naked” in reference to her. Be sure to be accurate with it, though- don’t say that she’s actually been naked on the internet.

    Tada! You’ve got a whole assload of blog traffic.

    • Don
      February 8, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

      John, you’re not implying that this was self-serving are you? I simply had her best interests in mind when I wrote the post, and know nothing of this “marketing” you speak of…

      • February 8, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

        Ha… I definitely didn’t think there was any nefarious intent other than to entertain your readers. But, damn… attractive woman + beer + controversy is a lethal combo. It’s the Tinkers to Evers to Chance of booze blog readership.

  15. B is for beer
    February 8, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

    You wrote: “What the fu@k people! At what point did this post cease to be about the poor lady who lost her job, and focus on my inability to write?”

    Okay, okay, it’s all my fault. I started it. Just delete all the comments 5:01pm and later, and there’s nothing about your desperate need for a session with this English (or as you wrote it, “english” ;-) ) teacher from Georgia. And to think I was trying to do you a favour by pointing to the need for you to have a “consultation” with her. Sheeeesh!!

    • Don
      February 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

      I’m not delitn notn. it al staz az iz.

  16. cerrano
    February 8, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    first, let me say that in my opinion, this ideally should not be grounds for dismissal for all the reasons you guys pointed out.

    but as a teacher, i have to question her judgment in putting something like that on facebook. she has to understand that when she signed that contract, she’s an educator 24/7 and thus will be held accountable for her actions. while i think it is too much to ask of someone to deny themselves a legal good time like the one she appears to be having in that photo, i don’t think it is too much to ask them not to put that photo online as documented evidence of her doing something that might give her students and the community the wrong impression. the key is that she chose to put the photo there. it wasn’t a candid shot taken by a student. i think that’s where sentiment from the district is coming from, albeit much too harshly.

    ultimately, the administration needs to grow a pair and tell any complaining parents to stfu and have an “adult conversation” with this fair maiden to make sure it doesn’t happen again. but when people argue about “tenure” which is really due process for teachers, this is a good example as to why the policy exists, and what happens when educators are unfairly targeted for b.s. reasons.

    btw, love the blog.

    • Don
      February 9, 2011 at 10:03 am #

      She was a 24 year old woman. Who among us hasn’t regretted a decision at that age? It doesn’t matter. This was not an offence that should have cost her so dearly. She was railroaded and made an example. Now I hope the example can be one of fairness and recourse to the law.

    • Alfred
      February 15, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

      “she has to understand that when she signed that contract, she’s an educator 24/7 and thus will be held accountable for her actions. ”

      Your argument is based on this premise, but it’s a wrong premise. Being a schoolteacher does not force you to sacrifice your privacy or your personal life. Full stop.

  17. Big Tex
    February 8, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

    This kind of stuff sticks in my craw. My suspicion is that Barrow County is rather rural, seeing that the school district is named for the county and not a metropolitan area. 46k people live there, confirming my suspicion. Secondly, this is the deep south and to draw a comparison with my home state, it is much (from what I can tell) like East Texas. Driving through, there are about 5 Baptist churches for every other kind. Moreover, many Baptists with which I was familiar frowned heavily upon alcohol in general. At any rate, this whole incident reminds me of an old song:

    • Don
      February 9, 2011 at 10:01 am #

      Wow Tex, I’ve heard that song about 100 times before and I’ve never listened to the words! It is totally appropriate in this instance! Good call. And yes this is rural, backwater, deep south. So, I’m sure the hypocrites were out in full force on this one.

  18. February 9, 2011 at 12:15 am #

    I need to go to bed and am jumping on this too late to read all the comments, but here’s my two cents…

    There must not be much union presence there in Georgia. Otherwise, there would have been a pretty huge fight over this. That said, one can set their privacy settings on FB so that such pictures aren’t discovered. Plus, no one should ever friend their boss.

    • Don
      February 9, 2011 at 10:06 am #

      Were talking deep south. I’m guessing unless you work in a tobacco plant or a textile mill, union presence is minimal. And from what I read and the interviews I listened to her privacy settings were all set pretty high on Facebook, she was probably outed by someone with an ax to grind.

    • Big Tex
      February 9, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

      If it’s like Texas, the union has a presence even though it’s a “right-to-work” state. In essence, the union (if there) is impotent. Moreover, teachers wouldn’t be required to join (like my sister in Dallas).

      • February 9, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

        By “non-existent” I also mean that the unions have no power or say. I worked in a strong union district and this shit would have never happened. Of course, I also have worked in a “right-to-work” state and this has happened several times.

  19. February 9, 2011 at 12:15 am #

    I think the perception of her doing whatever is more than enough for The Man to take action to save our children. Maybe the school board is made up of FDA members?

    • Don
      February 9, 2011 at 10:07 am #

      And in the meantime that same man is cutting the hell outta the school budgets and forcing more and more people to consider home schooling as a real option. Good job MAN…

  20. Valerie
    February 9, 2011 at 12:57 am #

    I’m a teacher and I have pictures of me holding a beer here and there. I’m mid twenties and I’m doing nothing illegal. The form that she signed sounds to breaking her right to privacy. Not only that being a teacher is a hard job. There’s no happy medium your either dealing with parents or parents who don’t give a crap. So her needing an adult beverage on HER vacation so be it. When your a teacher you never really get to leave your job at the workplace. The worries/concerns of your students are always in the back of your mind. I’m glad she is fighting it and she should defeat the school board.

    • Don
      February 9, 2011 at 10:10 am #

      I would agree Valerie. And thank you for doing a very tough job. It does seem like the school board overstepped into right to privacy vs moral behavior.

    • Cameron
      February 14, 2011 at 2:58 am #

      Hopefully English grammar isn’t one of the subjects you’re responsible for teaching.

      • Alfred
        February 15, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

        I know professors who have won awards for their research yet throw grammar to the sidelines when emailing students. Your online persona is not indicative of grammatical aptitude, and you are erroneous in assuming everyone else shares your same concern.

  21. February 9, 2011 at 7:43 am #

    Unless there was a gross violation of school policy; one that is stipulated in her teaching contract, the school will lose this in a court of law. No Federal or State law was broken so the only infraction has to come from some sort of policy breach. I believe firing this teacher could very well be a breach of contract and unless she’s signed some bizarro school policy about having no picture of yourself EVER holding an alcoholic beverage show up on the internet, then this appears to be a knee jerk reaction from an overreaching Principal or School Board.

    • Don
      February 9, 2011 at 10:11 am #

      Agreed Greg. There is some sort of nebulous policy on “inappropriate” content on the internet, but that is way too broad and needs to be nailed down much tighter.

      • February 9, 2011 at 10:58 am #

        School policy also dictates that she is entitled to a review board which they denied her. If anything, the Principal should be fired and Ashley re-hired with back pay.

        • Don
          February 9, 2011 at 11:21 am #

          Technically they didn’t deny her her “day in court” as it was with the board, but they definitely coerced a resignation from her. I agree that they should fire the Principal, hire her back with back pay and rename the school Ashley High.

      • February 9, 2011 at 11:12 am #

        Greg, although you’re technically correct, school boards usually go along with administration on these things. The trouble is that admin are always trying to bend the rules to get teachers out whom they deem to be a headache or whatever. Had she met with a union rep and/or lawyer with the admin, they might not have been able to force her to resign. Plus, this is the time of year when decisions are made about who’s coming back and who isn’t. She could go through a lengthy process, have her name dragged through the mud, still lose her job, and totally miss out on any other job opportunities with another school district. Schools hold all the marbles here. Too bad they’re taking a stand on “morality” and not standardized testing or some other BS policy.

      • February 9, 2011 at 11:15 am #

        Point of clarification- this initially happened in August of 2009. The gory details:

        http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/02/06/sunday/main7323148.shtml?tag=stack

        • Don
          February 9, 2011 at 11:24 am #

          Well at least I didn’t misspell November! ;)

  22. February 9, 2011 at 8:10 am #

    She was totally railroaded. Public employees are protected by the first amendment. In this case, that means she can post whatever the eff she wants on her FB page so long as it is not on work time/with work resources (it was not), it is not divulging confidential information, there is no slander/libel, and the posts would not create a hostile work environment (I’m specifically referring to cyber-bullying here).

    Posting that photo on Facebook might not be the best idea for a myriad of other reasons, but it is not grounds for termination, or even suspension. She should have documented everything, taken the suspension, and then hired an attorney and sued for back pay.

    • Don
      February 9, 2011 at 10:13 am #

      Well it seems like things here are a little katty whompus but I think in the end she should prevail. At least I hope she does.

  23. February 9, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    I taught for ten years in public schools and these sorts of things have been happening forever, particularly in places where the unions are non-existent. Back in the day, teachers (who were almost exclusively female) weren’t allowed after dark or to get married. We’ve come a long way, but this just goes to show how much school districts and administrators don’t really like teachers. I took some courses in administration and every peer in those courses was obsessed with how to get rid of “bad” teachers. There’s an animosity between teachers and administrators. And we wonder why schools can’t find enough “good” teachers. Who would want to work in such an environment? I didn’t and that’s why I don’t do it anymore.

    • Don
      February 9, 2011 at 10:28 am #

      I agree Zac. I think it should be about how to get the kids the best education they can get, and much less about contracts and administrative policies and all the officiousness that seems to be so pervasive in our public schools today. They should ask themselves every time whether this (whatever action they are about to take) will benefit the kids. That seems to get lost all too often.

  24. Juan Dominguez
    February 9, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    The teacher deserves her job back. I think we should blast the schools email and fight for her. Craft Beeer enthusiast should look out for one another. What say you?

    • Don
      February 9, 2011 at 11:14 am #

      Juan, that is an excellent idea. I will be doing a follow up post to this one later today and I think this strategy will be employed to the full extent. Love it! Thanks for the idea.

  25. Alex
    February 9, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    I think that we, as beer nerds, are missing an obvious explanation: the school board are serious beer geeks and find the idea that one of their teachers would drink a beverage as lowly as a Carlsberg abhorrent. Our children deserve more than Stellapithicus-level teachers!

    If it had been a picture of her holding a Westvleteren 12 in the proper glassware on her vacation in Belgium, she would have been given a promotion. That HAS to be the explanation since any other justification is totally ludicrous.

    • Don
      February 9, 2011 at 11:19 am #

      You know I never looked at that angle! However she was in the country of origin, which gets her points too, so it isn’t as cut and dry as perhaps we originally thought! ;)

  26. February 9, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    I think Terrapin should offer her a job. :)

  27. Mark
    February 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    This is shear lunacy. Last year, did not every news organization in the country show show POTUS having a beer with the cop and professor?

    • Don
      February 9, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

      Yes, but McCain won Georgia, and Barrow county voted 3 to1 for McCain. Guess POTUS doesn’t carry a lot of weight in the Peach State.

  28. scott
    February 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    When the person who was hired came across this was like, “finally! Now I get to do something that gives me a sense of being!” (Probably dissapointed about no nakeds as we all are)
    I could understand if this was a private school but come on. I mean cops get speeding tickets too (rarely)., they get suspended for DUI’s all the time here in Austin. My girlfriend is a teacher, she runs into parents at bars! This is a shock and awe telling others to be more aware of what you do with social media. In my opinion, I feel like she should have been called to the office, told to take the photo down, and at the next faculty meeting a memo should be handed out. I’m thinking the faculty or department head probably didn’t like her. Shes young and attractive, old english teaching prudes hate those qualities…. just sayin

    • Don
      February 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

      Good points Scott. Especially about the no Nakeds…Jus Sayin’

  29. Robert
    February 12, 2011 at 2:28 am #

    She kind of brought this on herself. That’s the thing about social media. People who use it want attention when they post stuff, but they don’t realize that attention can backfire and can have serious consequences. We’re living in political correct times especially in this last decade, and this isn’t the last time somebody will be fired over this type of thing. It’s a shame she’s fired, but a little better judgment would have saved her a lot of headache.

    • February 12, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

      I’d agree, except I don’t think what she did crossed the line of displaying questionable morals or judgement. Having a beer isn’t a crime. It’s not like she was stripping, or wasted, or winning a wet t-shirt competition, or throwing gang signs. She’s an adult holding a beer on vacation AND she had her account as private as possible with no student “friends” there.

      That’s like if a teacher went hunting and got fired for having a picture of them holding a rifle on their page. Obviously they’re an unstable gun nut!! Context and common sense make a huge difference. I think they had it in for her at that school and this was their excuse to make her resign.

  30. RDGordon
    February 12, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    My question… How many of those school board members that fired this teacher are guilty of going to the local pub and knocking back a few pints? Are they so pure that they may pass judgment because their “Moral Compass” is right on track? This reminds me of a lesson I learned as a child… “Judge not lest ye be judged.”

    • Don
      February 12, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

      Or, let he who is without sin cast the first stone! Or the whole glass houses thing…

  31. bill childs
    February 12, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    Absolutely absurd! She should get her job back with back pay. The word principal was spelled wrong.

    • Don
      February 12, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

      You are now officially the gazillionth person to tell me that! This is a beer and whiskey blog…spelling blog is a few doors down on the wright. :)

  32. Kristine
    February 12, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    Teachers are held to a very high standard, yet paid poorly. Go figure. Don, since this was an English teacher, you could respect her by proofreading your post. For starters, the principle you’re referring to is principal.

  33. Al Lea
    February 12, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    This young lady should have every right to have a great time on vacation including a beer or a glass of wine or 2 without being judged by anyone. Without getting philosophical, I would like to tell those who feel saintly enough to judge her to look at there own life and if it is squeeky clean 100% throughout, then maybe they can comment, otherwise let this young lady enjoy her life without looking over her shoulder!

    • Don
      February 14, 2011 at 9:20 am #

      I agree 100% Al. I think as others have pointed out here that the administration might have just used this as an excuse to get rid of her for other reasons, but who knows.

  34. Tom
    February 12, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

    I believe the only mistake she made was to resign. If it were me, I would not have resigned and forced the school administrations hand. In my opinion she did nothing illegal nor unethical.

    • Don
      February 14, 2011 at 9:23 am #

      Agreed. If she had played out all her options she would probably still be employed and teaching today. I hope it works out well for her.

  35. February 12, 2011 at 10:46 pm #

    Unbelievable!!! She needs to start lawsuits against the school board, school district, every member of the school board and the principal. That is just completely ridiculous.

    • Don
      February 14, 2011 at 9:24 am #

      Done! She has retained an attorney and is suing to get her job back, hopefully with back pay!

  36. Michael Green
    February 13, 2011 at 12:42 am #

    She needs her job back. nothing wrong here. We need to get out of the stone age thinking. esp with the internet accesability. he did nothing wrong to deserve this treatment.

    • Don
      February 14, 2011 at 9:27 am #

      Agreed. I hope it has a good resolution. Like she ends up winning the school in a judgement and renames it Ashley High!

  37. Also Ryan
    February 13, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    I’m going to assume that this article was written by one of Ms. Payne’s students, and while I very much agree with the opinions expressed, and appreciate the sentiment, I must make one suggestion; finish your English class before writing anything else, please.

  38. kst82276
    February 14, 2011 at 9:01 pm #

    well the SAD thing is unfortunately we’ve invited Big Brother into our home with Social Media..and we did it willing..uuuuh.

    And the cold hard truth IS LOTS of employers now our checking out profiles of current and future employees…so keep your private shit…well PRIVATE!

    and btw…most people dont want constant updates of your trip to 7-11 to get a snickers

    but yes that does royally suck for her! like we need to lose anymore teachers!! and like we need to spend our precious education dollars on a dumb lawsuit! and like kids aren’t bamboozled with every commercial and movie of people drinking and every sporting event getting sponsored by beer companies etc etc…where is the sanity there?

  39. David Foertsch
    February 14, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

    Maybe a campaign to mail the school board all of our empties… just a thought.

  40. February 14, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    I might be willing.to give her a job teaching English. Or whatever she wants. I would totally cure that unemployment and let her drink on the job.

  41. kst82276
    February 14, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    AND that doesn’t excuse us from common sense..i really don’t want my parents or employers to know what i did last night, its called discretion..u should always be mindful of that fact that online u aren’t sharing with private people in an intimate controlled setting u r sharing with the whole world.. which is what www stand for…WORLD WIDE WEB….we all are seemingly wanna be celebrities with social media posts that are ridiculously exhausting and pretty much petty and with reality shows that are comical at best to the outsiders but real to the people who are living them..and now with the internet we got that chance for notoriety but with that comes a cost to privacy. if expose ur private life to the public than u should expect the public scrutiny..and we should act accordingly…and if u have a public job..well expect to be hung out to dry at every sneeze…sharing in its true nature is face to face not cyber world..but i sure am glad it exists in some form to keep up with our blast from the pasts….i think things behind closed doors should remain behind close doors…but when u open that door..dont whine when the wrong person enters..AND i think this is total BS…but those are the rules..because WE as media consumers..thrive on this BS

    • kst82276
      February 14, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

      and oh..my spelling and grammer sucks..its called computer and text talk…im not submitting this for a grade…i already graduated with honors thank u very much

      • kst82276
        February 15, 2011 at 9:57 am #

        oh last thing..remember its all about image and perception…U as a beer columist it behooves u to have pics of u enjoyng libation, as a teacher, it does not…its kinda like we all know our parents have sex..i mean how else did we get here…but we dont want to actually see, hear or have documentation of it!

        • Don
          February 15, 2011 at 10:09 am #

          And that is your best point! It is the ole your parents have sex but you don’t want to know about it! That is the best argument to date as to why this happened and how it could possibly make sense in anyone’s mind. Great point! Still doesn’t excuse their actions but certainly helps to explain them. Thank You!

  42. Derek
    February 15, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    Good God, and we complain about the Taliban and the threat of Sharia Law? Yes, this is a stretch, but given that these stories pop up more often, I’d say that we are on a slippery slope when it comes to the legislation of morality.

  43. Andrew
    February 15, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    OK, so some of you seem to be missing the point of the article.

    The question you need to ask yourself is: At what point did the constitutional right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press become stripped from the internet? If someone is 21 years old, they should be able to post beer pics allll day longggg on the internet, and not have to worry about what their bosses are going to think about it!

    A great point was brought up that I think needs to be elaborated on: The separation of church and state. If someone is doing something completely 100% legal, there should be nothing wrong with showing anyone in the world on the internet. Just because someone thinks that drinking is not right, does not mean they have the right to judge someone else for doing it! ITS LEGAL!! It’s not murder people.

    The school board could say, “Oh, well she was supposed to be setting a good example, and representing the school outside of the classroom, and setting a good example for her students”. HAHAHA!!! There are beer and liquor ads, upon ads, upon ads, on TV every single damn day that anyone with a TV can turn on and see blurring in front of their eyes! There are billboards, signs, posters, and even a big ass beer section in every single grocery store! Setting a good example? You mean to tell me that that no one on that school board has ever had a SIP of alcohol? Oh no, it would make the School System look bad…..HAHA!! yea friggin right, what a bunch of hypocrites. (CAUTION: PERSONAL OPINION) = Not to veer off subject, but typical Christianity! As a Christian myself, I know that we have beliefs that contribute to a positive well being and helping of others, etc etc etc, but one of our major downfalls: HYPOCRISY! It’s ok if you don’t follow me there, that’s just my personal opinion.

    Yes, this woman should get her job back. And what makes it funnier to me is that she wasn’t even in North America. lol. What a crock of horse sh*t.

    • Don
      February 15, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

      Good points Andrew. Morality is a slippery slope all its own, simply because no two people have the same sense of it. It is very difficult to legislate, and for those that would have a person lock down their life for their profession, I don’t think that is fair or realistic. I like your point that the law should be the basis of our judgement. If it is legal, then we shouldn’t have any problem with it. If it isn’t legal then we have our answer. Morality and subjectivity go hand in hand and make bad bedfellows when something as important as a person’s livelihood is at stake.

    • kst82276
      February 15, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

      Should is what isn’t, and we have to deal with what is

  44. Paco Letch
    February 15, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    Did anyone think to look up the laws for At-Will states????
    Georgia is one of these states, and an Employer can fire someone for any reason.
    Als0, as long as people keep posting stupid stuff to FB, people will continue to lose their jobs for non-work related activities.

    TIL: 121 people, including 2 bloggers, have no idea what at-will means.

    • February 15, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

      Just because this school had the legal right to fire this woman doesn’t make it right, and it’s silly to paint it in such black and white terms.

      • Paco Letch
        February 15, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

        Regardless if we think it is right or wrong, it’s a simple fact. The school did nothing wrong. If they had, they union would have stepped in. We have zero back story on this. For all we know, she has been warned or asked not to display behavior like this. Also, if you don’t want your personal life to affect you, don’t post on FB. If the school can locate her FB, her students and parents of students can as well.

  45. ag
    February 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    all i see is grape juice and apple juice

  46. kst82276
    February 16, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    Another example of really bad online decisions..

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110216/ap_on_hi_te/us_teacher_suspended_blog

    • Don
      February 16, 2011 at 9:54 am #

      Interestingly enough when I did my research for the post there are dozens of teachers who have been fired over their facebook postings. What was unusual here is just how innocuous the photos were that she was let go for, and the fact that her page was private.

  47. March 9, 2011 at 12:31 am #

    But is there any point in mentioning juice or likes?

  48. Carmen
    April 11, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

    She needs to get her job back!!! She did nothing wrong.

  49. October 20, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    So let me get this, the President of the United States can be served Beer and Wine at State Dinners, on the Golf Courses, whereever and be televised, but this teacher can’t put a private post on her facebook page that is off limits to her students. That is nuts.

    • October 20, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

      Agreed. It’s a stupid double standard and is probably motivated by something else.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention Teacher Fired Over Beer Photo. « Beer & Whiskey Brothers Blog -- Topsy.com - February 8, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Aaron, Cleveland Hops, Robert French, US Beer Bloggers, Girls Pint Out and others. Girls Pint Out said: Teacher Fired Over Beer Photo.: This is the photo that got Ashley Payne, a High School english teacher fired fro… http://bit.ly/hOHhns […]

  2. se7en | religion sucketh - February 13, 2011

    […] from Mark Driscoll at The Resurgence.A teacher in Georgia was fired in November of 2009 because a photo of her holding a beer was on her Facebook profile. Really? Now she’s suing the schoolboard, and this is one time where I can support a […]

  3. Tweets that mention Teacher Fired Over Beer Photo. « Beer & Whiskey Brothers Blog -- Topsy.com - February 14, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by BeerInBaltimore.com, kate and Johnny Fresh, Beer For You. Beer For You said: Teacher Fired Over Beer Photo. #beer http://bit.ly/eMKifF […]

  4. Beer notes: Rahr, Dark Horse, BrewDog, Oakshire and more | Beernews.org - February 21, 2011

    […] Beer and Whiskey Guys blogged about a woman who lost her job as a teacher for a photo on a social media site showing her holding a glass of […]

  5. Our 7 Most Significant Beer and Whiskey Stories of 2011 | Beer & Whiskey Brothers Blog - December 23, 2011

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