SUPPORT BUILDS FOR REINSTATEMENT OF LEIGH ANNE ARTHUR …
Three students at Union High School – a government-run facility located in the socially conservative Upstate region of South Carolina – want their teacher to be rehired in the aftermath of her “nude selfie” scandal. Teacher Leigh Anne Arthur was forced to resign from her post last week after an as-yet-unidentified male student stole her phone, discovered a nude picture on it, photographed the picture on his own phone and spread a copy of the image to others via text messages and social media.
Arthur’s phone was in her desk at the time it was improperly accessed – and there is absolutely no evidence to suggest she consented to it being searched. In fact there is ample evidence to the contrary – including Arthur’s allegation that the student who improperly obtained the racy image acted with malicious intent. Nonetheless, the school district claimed Arthur “made the nude picture available to her students” and compelled her resignation as a result of that allegation.
The student? No charges have been filed against him – and the school has handed down no discipline against him.
Arthur did file a complaint with local law enforcement against the student, alleging he “had the ultimate decision to take pictures of my pictures, and he had the ultimate decision to send them out.” An investigation based on Arthur’s complaint is ongoing.
In writing on this drama earlier this week, we came down squarely on Arthur’s side.
“It seems to us that a teacher who places a personal item inside their desk has a reasonable expectation of privacy, right? Certainly she’s not consenting or expecting a student to rife through the desk, find her cellphone, scroll through its image gallery, find a naughty picture and then take a picture of the naughty image and blast it far and wide,” we wrote.
“That’s a violation of privacy, as far as we’re concerned,” we added.
Arthur’s students feel the same, arguing that the circumstances surrounding her forced resignation were “unacceptable, and must be corrected.”
“Leigh Anne Arthur is the victim of a blatant attack of her privacy,” three of them wrote in an online petition. “Personal photographs were illegally obtained by a student and were sent to other students in the school.”
We agree …
The students added that Arthur was “escorted off of school property,” leaving them “to believe that she has been forced to, or given little choice but to resign.”
Hundreds of people have already signed the petition to reinstate Arthur.
As we noted in our previous coverage, this case isn’t completely clean cut. Arthur obviously showed poor judgment in having such photos stored on an unlocked mobile device – one that she brought onto school property. But the school’s allegation that this somehow constituted “making the photos available to students” is a stretch.
We don’t believe in government-run education (we support universal tax credits and vouchers for low-income students). And we believe private employers should be allowed to hire and fire at will. Above all, though, we believe in liberty – and it seems pretty clear in this case Arthur’s liberty was violated.