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Teacher accused of policing Facebook

March 22, 2012 at 2:39 PM   |   Comments

LAND O' LAKES, Fla., March 22 (UPI) -- A Florida high school teacher may lose her job after school administrators found she had improperly gained access to students' Facebook accounts.

Angelica Cruikshank, a Spanish teacher at Land O' Lakes High School, was concerned students were bad-mouthing her when she looked at their Facebook pages in January, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

She then shared the information she gathered with other students and tried to use it to bar some of the teens from attending a class field trip to the Salvador Dali Museum, said superintendent Heather Fiorentino in a termination letter to Cruikshank.

Some parents called and sent e-mails complaining about Cruik­shank and her treatment of their children.

"The teacher told my daughter to log on to her Facebook account on the teacher's phone so that the teacher could go to the Facebook group to see what was said about her," parent Amy Luce wrote. "The teacher then proceeded to show my daughter's Facebook page to a group of kids the next period on the projector."

"This situation is very troubling to me," Fiorentino wrote. "You seem unaware of student privacy concerns and used extremely poor judgment in taking the steps you took to address these concerns."

In an effort to keep her job, Cruikshank, who is currently suspended without pay, hired a lawyer and submitted a request for a formal hearing with Fiorentino, which is scheduled for after spring break.

District employee relations director Kevin Shibley said Cruikshank has not yet submitted any written rebuttal to the superintendent's termination letter. He said the school district's investigation was completed, as "we haven't been presented with any information that the information in [Fiorentino's termination] letter is inaccurate."

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