The trouble with Twitter

By Denis Storey


I repeatedly tell my oldest kids—both nascent teenagers—how happy I am not to be in middle school in the social media fishbowl these kids have to endure today.

High school was bad enough for a geek like me back in the 1980s, and this was decades before being a geek was cool(ish). I can’t even imagine how much worse life would have been dealing with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and whatever else while trying to hang onto my lunch money.

Maybe the dangers of social media cut both ways, too. A teacher right here in our backyard in Colorado got herself into trouble with her Twitter account – @Crunk_Bear. (And don’t bother checking. It’s already been taken down). Seems the first-year high school teacher, who’s real name is Carly McKinney, thought she was still in college, posting tweets celebrating the “herbal” lifestyle and half-naked pics of herself, among other minutiae. Although marijuana’s technically legal here in Colorado now, most employers frown on space cakes at the office.

And so did the Cherry Creek School District. After the local NBC affiliate “exposed” the overeager tweeter, schools officials immediately suspended her. Their explanation centered on her weed references—and her comment about bringing it to work. And that certainly makes sense, especially when your workplace is crawling with so many reckless minors.

But let me play devil’s advocate for a second.

Leaving this colossal lapse of judgment aside for now, it’s not like the knucklehead broke any laws or even necessarily did anything unethical, really. Sure, she made a fool of herself, and she probably undercut any authority she might have had with her students—if she had any to begin with. But how much of our private life is forfeit, even when we make it public? She wasn’t a politician, a preacher or even any kind of public figure. Her job as educator—at a public high school—doesn’t come with any morality clause, does it?

Keep in mind that this is the same state that featured a convicted killer running for a city council seat down the interstate in Colorado Springs (don’t worry; he lost).

So maybe it comes back down to that lapse in judgment after all. As an employer, do you keep someone around who makes such bonehead decisions? Especially when you’re leaving them in charge, no matter how temporarily, of a bunch of hormonal, reason-impaired kids? Can you afford to?

I don’t know.

Originally published on