Role Models And Freedom Of Speech
One of the Diva Den has encountered what happens when you exercise your right to free speech, and learned that sometimes that freedom of expression comes with a price, or consequences.
My niece attends a local vocational high school and as a senior this year she was asked to participate in Junior Day. She’d be helping out with basically orienting the junior class coming in as to how things operate and what is acceptable and not acceptable. One thing had to do with attire. She was asked to dress in an inappropriate manner to show as the example of what is not going to be tolerated in fashion when at school. She has a Twitter account and posted a tweet referencing the teacher that asked and saying she had been asked to dress like a slut. Could she have chosen better words and left out the teacher’s name? Certainly. But she invoked her freedom of expression and it cost her, the price: she isn’t allowed to participate in Junior Day and she was called to the principle’s office to remove the tweet.
Seems the school, in a district that has to keep cutting the budget, can afford to hire people to monitor student’s Facebooks, Twitter accounts etc looking for derogatory remarks about teachers, other students and the schools. Yes, when they cannot afford TEACHERS to instruct students, they PAY people to hunt down and watch students PERSONAL accounts for negative commentary. Don’t get me wrong, I realize that Human Resource departments in 75% of companies or more, are doing the same thing with employees. They also hire and fire based on the type of person you are deemed to be based on what is seen on your Facebook etc. Good time to reconsider those drunken debauchery photos you posted last week from that blow out party.
No one is denying freedom to express oneself, but keep in mind there can be a price for that. Much can be learned about people by what they post in their social media outlets. In an economy where jobs are scarce it might be wise to really look at the image you give of yourself.
Now, I do not like what happened to my niece, but I can see the other side of this issue as well.
How many times have we been up in arms over a sports figure that goes bad and gets arrested, Tiger Woods cheated on his wife with who know how many women, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton get DUI’s, and we’re all upset because by golly they are role models! What kind of image does this portray to our children of what is acceptable? Never mind that they maybe didn’t sign up to be a role model, they are in the public eye, and therefore examples and should behave, right? They should have thought about privacy before they moved into the lime light, with it goes a certain expected amount of responsibility.
SO, is being a representative of your high school to incoming students really any different? Chosen to participate, and accepting that role, one accepts a leadership position and with it becomes a role model of sorts. Are you then not held to a higher standard of expectation? Is it okay to speak negatively or behave in a way that is unbecoming if you are representing your school? Or your program at school? As the representative you are observed not only by current students and faculty, but future students as well. Your words and actions on a public forum represent a product, the school. Even if it is personal, if you make something public, it reflects you, and as a representative of your school, it reflects on them.
Major corporations remove celebrities or others (some become celebrities by being the spokesperson, remember the Dell guy that we all loved, Dude, you’re getting a Dell, that later was busted for pot and dropped? The companies and products being endorsed want a clean cut, positive image. We as consumers are not at all upset and in fact most of the time totally back the dropping of a celebrity endorsement if they fail to live up to expectations of the role model.
I completely understand my niece being upset with those in charge for removing her from the role. I also completely understand the school doing what they felt best to keep a particular image. And as far as those hired to do just this, monitor the students on public forums, are we really upset about the money spent or the fact that someone was caught and singled out because they ARE in a role model position? And if it were another student, would we in the Diva Den be this worked up or would we be saying “good, that person shouldn’t be representing the school if they cannot do it in a positive manner”.
I am torn, to say the least and trying to see all sides. What is YOUR opinion/thought?