Colorado teacher placed on leave over social media posts
Marshall Zelinger, KMGH
6:02 AM, Jan 30, 2013
6:04 AM, Jan 30, 2013
AURORA, Colo. - A Colorado high school teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave during an investigation into her alleged activity on social media.
The first-year math teacher's Twitter bio reads, "Stay high. Stay drunk…Mile High City."
In one Twitter photo, the young woman is drinking from a glass with a goofy look on her face. In other photos, she's wearing skimpy outfits, revealing a lot of skin and a bear tattoo.
As new reporters began examining the teacher's Twitter accounts Monday, they were taken down.
KSHB sister station KMGH is not naming the teacher because she has not been accused of a crime or a school district violation.
Cherry Creek School District spokeswoman Tustin Amole told KMGH putting the teacher on paid leave Tuesday is not a disciplinary action. Amole called it part of the investigative process.
"Based on what you've seen, what's questionable?" KMGH reporter Marshall Zelinger asked Amole.
"There are things that are troubling to us, however, what we need to do is to talk with her to review our district policy and then determine what our next step will be," said Amole.
One of the teacher's Twitter profile bios states: "Crunker than most. Stay sexy. Stay high. Stay drunk. Stay free. Stay trippy. Mile High City."
On another Twitter profile, the woman writes: "High School Math Teacher. Out of this world crazy. Crunk. Colorado."
The OnlineSlangDictionary.com says "crunk" is a mash-up of "Chronic" -- slang for marijuana -- and "drunk." In other words, "under the influence of both marijuana and alcohol," the dictionary entry states.
But crunk can also mean "extremely fun, exciting, wild," the slang dictionary says. Crunk is also a style of Southern hip hop music.
On an Internet blog, the teacher writes that she's a fan of the hip hop act Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz, who helped define Crunk music with the 1997 album: "Get Crunk, Who U Wit: Da Album."
One Twitter photo shows the woman wearing a daisy-chain around her blond hair, green mirrored sunglasses and a goofy expression with her tongue hanging out as she sits in the front passenger seat of a parked car with a man at the wheel. She's also wearing a glittery pink tube top and purple stockings. The car door obstructs what else the woman is wearing.
Every employee of Cherry Creek Schools is required to take a training course on multiple topics, including:
Communications and Social Media
Child Abuse and Reporting
Universal Precaution Against Dangerous Diseases
Discrimination and Harassment
Employees are required to sign the form, stating they understand the district's policies.
"Essentially, what we tell our teachers is, 'If it's not something that you would say in your classroom, if it's not something that you would hang on your classroom wall, it should not be on your Facebook or Twitter page,'" said Amole.
Even on a personal Facebook or Twitter account? asked Zelinger.
"Even on a personal one. We recommend against it," said Amole. "When someone has a personal Facebook, Twitter or other social media account, then the policy is not quite so clear. They have a First Amendment right."
KMGH spoke with the teacher, who said she wanted to wait until after meeting with the district before she spoke on the record.
The teacher said she understands how her social media content can reflect on her employer, but was unclear as to what exactly drew the concern.
District policy prevents teachers from using district resources, like computers or Internet access, to post on a personal social media account.
"Is there reason to believe any of the photos were taken on school property?" asked Zelinger.
"We don't know. That's one of the things we'll need to investigate," said Amole. "We're going to talk to her. She will not be returning to class until our investigation is completed."