When is a personal Facebook page no longer personal?
Apparently when you’re a Manteca Unified School District employee and somebody catches wind that questionable images – one containing a confederate flag and others with derogatory or inflammatory messages geared towards the president – are abundant and there for anybody who wants to see them.
Former Stockton councilman Ralph White thinks that’s a fireable offense.
On Tuesday White went before the Manteca Unified Board of with a packet that included color pictures that he printed from the Facebook page of classified employee Debie McLarty – pictures that he said were racist in nature and flew in the face of what he said a school district employee is supposed to represent.
McLarty was part of the negotiating team that helped put in place the contract for all district classified employees that will run through the end of 2016.
As of 11 p.m. Tuesday her Facebook page had been entirely deleted.
According to White he had been contacted last week by a concerned parent. It wasn’t until that same parent contacted him on Monday that he decided to take his concerns to the board in person and pursue his complaints until a reasonable conclusion is reached.
No comments came from district administration, but Trustee Sam Fant did give a brief on-camera interview with a television station following White’s disclosure.
White never specifically named McLarty in his comments during the open forum.
“I think they ought to fire ‘em,” he said. “I think some of the things that were posted on there could incite a riot – some of the people today might hear some of the comments and might not like them and that would be all it would take.
“Some people might say it’s not racist on its own, but when you saw the Klansman’s hood you knew what it meant and what it stood for and seeing that Confederate flag in those pictures is no different.”
Just last week the district launched its highly lauded Going Digital program that will put a tablet in the hands of every single Manteca Unified School District student. But part of the precursor to that was instructing the students on how to be good stewards of the Internet, and teachers were reminded, especially now that every student would have access to a mobile computer, to make sure that they take proper precautions to shield their personal information and not put anything online that could be deemed inappropriate.
On top of not being private, McLarty’s Facebook page also identified her as a Manteca Unified employee. Photos showed people wearing shirts with replicas of the confederate flag, and man wearing a confederate flag hat and appearing to make an obscene gesture at the camera. There also was a posting of a photo that showed two individuals dressed on Civil War era uniforms much like those used at historical re-enactments.
Several anti-Obama postings adorned McLarty’s main wall, as did a tribute to Ronald Reagan.
“In this day and age she should be fired – period,” White reiterated. “Having those kinds of postings up there with little kids – that’s what she’s teaching those children? She’s putting those kids at risk by having their picture up there next to a picture like that, and I bet having a picture of the President with a bullet hole on his forehead would make her somebody that the FBI and the Secret Service would want to talk to.”