By The News Service of Florida Staff
An administrative law judge has backed a decision by the Lake County superintendent of schools to fire a teacher who posted what the judge described as “lewd and offensive material” on the TikTok social-media network.
Judge Robert Telfer III on Friday issued a 26-page order recommending that the Lake County School Board terminate the employment of Todd Erdman, who was a faculty member at Umatilla Middle School. Lake County Superintendent Diane Kornegay in October 2019 informed Erdman that she planned to recommend termination to the school board after an investigation of numerous TikTok videos that included Erdman making sexually explicit comments, according to Telfer’s ruling.
Erdman appealed Kornegay’s decision to the state Division of Administrative Hearings and said, in part, that he had set his TikTok account to “private” so that videos would not be shared and that someone had stolen his cell phone. But Telfair concluded that Erdman’s “explanation is not credible” and that he violated a series of rules.
“Further, the TikTok videos … ultimately made their way into the public sphere, and students, parents, and school district personnel viewed and became aware of them,” the judge wrote.
Wood, depending upon a number of factors businesses and governments do have the right to fire or punish individuals for what they say or believe.
Think about it.
In this particular instance evidently a teacher of young boys and girls posted on a social media outlet (for public viewing) things/comments/photos which were sexually inappropriate for someone in the teaching profession by social and moral standards!
Thus the school administration (business) and the judge (government) , and many would assume the majority of parents and other teachers, agreed the employee should be fired!
When will government and business learn they cannot fire people for what they say or believe? This is a dangerous slope; we will arrive at a reality where any of us can be fired because the Powers That Be don’t like what we say. This is clearly a First Amendment issue. Heed the warnings of George Orwell.
When will people learn the Social Media is NOT safe OR secure?