1. You will not marry during the term of your contract. 2. You are not to keep company with men. 3. You must be home between the hours of 8 PM and 6 AM unless at a school function. 4. You may not loiter downtown in any of the ice cream stores. 5. You may not travel beyond the city limits unless you have permission of the chairman of the chairman of the school board. 6. You may not ride in carriages or automobiles with any man except your father or brother. 7. You may not smoke cigarettes. 8. You may not dress in bright colors. 9. You may under no circumstances dye your hair. 10. You must wear at least 2 petticoats. 11. Your dresses may not be any shorter than 2 inches above the ankles. 12. To keep the classroom neat and clean you must sweep the floor once a day, scrub the floor with hot soapy water once a week, clean the blackboards once a day and start the fire at 7 AM to have the school warm by 8 AM when the scholars arrive.

The above list is most likely fake since it has never been accurately attributed to any school, state, or even country. Regardless of authenticity, it demonstrates the fact that teachers have historically been held to a higher standard in both their professional and private lives. There have been dozens of dismissals the media has focused on, one happening just last week in Florida. 26-year-old teacher Olivia Sprauer was forced to resign from her teaching position because of a series of photographs she had professionally taken. Some were bikini shots while others were much more risqué, but none that I saw were done in the context of her being a teacher.

Ashley Payne posted photos from a European vacation to her Facebook page. The photos showed the happy teacher on vacation enjoying a few alcoholic beverages and she was fired.

Betsy Ramsdale was placed on administrative leave after posting a photo of herself looking down the barrel of a gun.

An act or behavior that gravely violates the moral sentiment or accepted moral standards of the community

Most contracts contain a moral turpitude clause which serves as a catch-all for bad behavior. It’s difficult to predict all the ways in which a teacher can behave badly, so the moral turpitude clause allows districts to suspend or dismiss staff citing the vague rule. Because there are no solid definitions as to what actions are immoral the rulings tend to be pretty subjective.

I can’t imagine how paranoid that would make someone. It goes further than being smart with your online identity. You can make all your Facebook settings private only to have a friend share a photo of you holding a beer. Suddenly you’re pulled into the administrators office for a “talk.” What if you took some scandalous photos when you were 18? Does that mean you should lose your job when they surface 20 years later? What if you voice your opinion in a public forum and some parents disagree and complain to the principal? These have all happened.

[T]eachers . . . are entrusted with the care of small children and adolescents. We do not hesitate to conclude that these men and women are intended by parents, citizenry, and lawmakers alike to serve as good examples for their young charges. Their character and conduct may be expected to be above those of the average individual not working in so sensitive a relationship as that of teacher to pupil. It is not inappropriate or unreasonable to hold our teachers to a higher standard of personal conduct, given the youthful ideals they are supposed to foster and elevate.

I can’t think of any other profession that is held to such a high standard. Is it fair? On one hand, teachers sign these contracts and should know what they’re getting into. On the other hand should they give up so many basic rights for the sake of a career?

Teachers spend 8 hours a day with these children, parents cover the rest. Shouldn’t parents be held to even higher moral standards given the amount of time and influence they have over the same students?