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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    1

    Default Wrongfully Accused of Giving Pornography to a Student

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Wisconsin

    I have been falsely accused of sharing pornographic files with students. To preface, I teach a class that requires in-class activities on computers. A lot of times students will forget to download the material (i.e. software templates) from the course website so I have them download files off my personal flash drive so everyone can do the activities in class.

    My boss called me to her office one day and had me bring my laptop and flash drive and sat down with me to go through the files. She went straight to one folder that included files on my personal finances and pointed to file and asked if I knew what it was. I honestly did not, and she proceeded to open an inappropriate video. I was shocked and had never seen the file. She then went on to say that a student had come in to her office to say the student found this on the flash drive I gave him. I have been given the choice to resign or be terminated.

    The file is only on the flash drive and the school computer that this student was sitting at. This student is failing. They easily got the opportunity to put the file on my drive without me noticing while I turned my back. I have excellent reviews with the school. Although I was careless with letting students have access to my flashdrive and not monitoring what they do with it every second, the student admitting to looking through the contents to search for homework (and instead found this file). Does the fact that he admitted going through my personal flash drive make a difference? Do I have a chance in keeping my job? Will I be eligible for rehire in the future or at a different school? Is it worth suing the student?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    35,894

    Default Re: Wrongfully Accused by Student

    The problem as I see it is that you have no proof that the student downloaded anything.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    23,951

    Default Re: Wrongfully Accused by Student

    1.) No
    2.) We don't know
    3.) We don't know
    4.) No

    To go into more detail:

    1.) Whether the student admitted to going through your personal flash drive is irrelevant. Obviously he did or he couldn't have "found" the file. What he did wrong is a separate issue from what you are accused of

    2.) There's no way for us to tell based on the information available to us. We don't know how believable the student is, how believable you are, how hard-nosed the principal is, whether you are in a union, if so what your union contract says, whether you are tenured, or a whole host of other factors. There's also the fact that, minus a union or other contract that specifies otherwise, you could be fired just for not monitoring the students more closely.

    3.) MUCH too early to even make a guess at this. We don't know the school's rehire policies or what they will be saying in a reference even if you are fired, which is not yet certain

    4.) Not without considerably more evidence than you have that the student put the file there. This is not an accusation - this is an explanation of how things would go down in court. While yes, based on what you have posted, he could have done so, you've posted nothing to suggest that you yourself could not have. How much simpler an explanation that you put the file yourself on your own flash drive? Without some kind of evidence that ONLY he could have placed the file there, a suit would fail.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    7,605

    Default Re: Wrongfully Accused by Student

    While it can't help you out of your current predicament, I'd like to offer a few tips for the future:

    - Flash drives are CHEAP. Never, never, never, never have personal information on a flash drive you intend to share with others. Especially financial data. Especially with a bunch of kids you don't really know much about. Did I mention NEVER have personal info on a flash drive you intend to share with others?

    - If you only intend for others to access/retrieve files off the drive, set it up so they don't have permission to place files on the drive. If you only want them to have access to a particular folder, lock it down or have separate drives for separate needs. Did I mention flash drives are CHEAP?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Wrongfully Accused by Student

    How big are the files? Why not email them?

    We don't have access to the flash drive, computer or any records of internet access from the student's computer. It's possible that there's data associated with the files or Internet access that would show that the file was added to your flash drive at that time. Or not. If you didn't put the file there, it's worth exploring.

    What level of education are we talking about?

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