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Former teacher says cell photos led to wrongful termination

A former middle school teacher claims that she wrongly lost her job following an incident with personal photos stored on her cell phone. Although teachers are generally expected to adhere to a certain form of conduct while on the job, questions are often raised as to what may be appropriate activity when they are off the job. This can become particularly relevant whenever pictures of such outside activity may be leaked to students and their parents. Those in Michigan who believe that they have been the victim of a wrongful termination due to a similar situation may take special note of this woman’s actions.

Although the former teacher’s phone was password protected, she says that she gave the password to some of her students should they need to contact their parents or guardian. However, while attending a meeting for a business club, she claims that a group of female students accessed her desk where she had left her cell phone to charge. Instead of using the phone under the only premise that they had been given permission for -- which would be to call home -- they accessed the stored pictures and apparently found naked photos of their teacher.

The girls allegedly photographed the naked pictures and then sent them around to various other students and friends. According to the former teacher, she was made aware of the situation when, a month later, a student admitted that she was involved with the incident. However, the school claims that the woman actually knew of the photo incident before she claims, and that instead of reporting the incident to officials, she attempted to track down who had been involved by herself.

She has since denied the school's allegations and is pursuing a wrongful termination claim against the local school board. She has further pointed out that there is no policy governing what teachers may or may not store on their phones. Although losing a job for what a Michigan individual believes to be unjustified reasons can have serious and financial implications for that person, the successful litigation of a wrongful termination claim can provide legal recourse, which for some may include lost wages while others may even be reinstated to their former position.

Source: myfoxdfw.com, "Teacher suing after termination, nude selfies leaked", , Aug. 8, 2014

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