nose rings at work, letting your boss be your landlord, and more

It’s wee answer Wednesday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. Should you let your boss be your landlord?

I am asking a question on behalf of a friend. Her lease at her apartment is about to be up, and her boss, aware of the situation, offered up his rental property for her. I was hoping you could give me/her some insight into the serious cons of such an arrangement. At this time, she is only seeing the pros (low rent, no background check, familiarity with her landlord). She’s always in a precarious financial situation and I’m afraid this set-up could come back to haunt her professionally if she defaults on rent. Any insight you could provide would be great.

Oh no — this is a terrible idea! Please try to talk her out of it. Does she really want to face her boss at work when she’s several months past due on rent or end up in a conflict with him when he won’t fix the air conditioning? Does she really want tension with him if she generates noise complaints from neighbors or ends up needing to be evicted? And if her finances are precarious, that’s all the more reason not to jeopardize her standing with her boss — she needs to stay on good terms at work and protect her income.

By the way, her boss is the one making the really big mistake — he’d be in an awkward position if she wasn’t paying. They’re both crazy to be considering this.

2. How to tell a receptionist she can’t wear a nose ring to work

I have had a wonderful front desk receptionist/medical biller for 6 years. She always goes out of her way and is extremely dedicated. Well, yesterday she came in with a nose ring. I don’t know how to handle it without hurting her feelings. She’s had a tough life. Please let me know how to get rid of the nose ring.

“Jane, we don’t allow facial piercings here, so unfortunately I have to ask you not to wear your nose ring to work.”

Add it to your dress code if you want something clearer to refer to in the future, but it’s perfectly legitimate to define “no facial piercings” as part of overall professional appearance, particularly for a customer-facing role like a receptionist. Just be straightforward.

3. Fox’s TV show “Does Someone Have to Go?”

Have you watched Fox’s show “Does Someone Have To Go?” What do you think of it/ the concept? I can’t imagine why a good manager/ owner with problems in the work force would want to air it all out in public — even if they get rid of the worst employee, the revelations (salary, personal issues, etc.) would cause more damage that is solved.

I’m purposely avoiding it, but from what I understand about the concept, it’s a reality show where a business is handed over to the employees to run and they decide whether to punish their coworkers with pay cuts, demotions, or firings. I’m pretty grossed out by the concept, since I’m not a big fan of putting people’s livelihoods on the line for entertainment (and it seems to completely miss the boat on what good management means and instead turns the workplaces into Lord of the Flies type debacles).

I assume the business owners who agree to go on to the show do so not for any business reason but rather because they’ve succumbed to the terrible American hunger for the spotlight.

4. Do I have to stop using my company-provided transit card if I buy a car?

For about a year, I have been provided with a transit card by the company I work for. I hope to, within the next few months, purchase a vehicle. In the event that I do get a car, I plan to continue to use public transit to get to work because it’s a relatively short commute. Would it be unethical for me to continue to use my company issued and paid for transit card or should I return it upon getting a car?

Not at all. Absent some statement to the contrary, assume that it’s a benefit your company is providing you to cut transportation costs and keep you from having to drive (and sometimes the reason is environmental as well; many companies have initiatives to encourage public transit use since it’s greener).

5. Can I ask my child’s teacher not to post online about him?

I have a number of Facebook friends who are teachers, and some of them will post “funny” or “cute” stories about their students as status updates (sometimes even wrong test answers that they find hilarious). I’m concerned that my chid’s teachers will be doing the same thing once he starts school. Even if they don’t mention him by name, I don’t love the idea that they might post something he says/does/writes online for all their friends go comment on.

I tried googling “teachers posting about students online,” hoping to find that school districts were developing social media policies tackling these issues, but didn’t find much. I do support teachers having the right to free speech like anyone else, but I also think I have to advocate for my child’s right to privacy since he’s too young to say, “Hey, I’d appreciate it if you could refrain from talking about me behind my back on the internet.” Is there any way for me to make this request without coming across as a fascist kill-joy?

I’m not sure this is a workplace question, but I’m going to answer it anyway: It’s perfectly reasonable to ask that your child’s name or photo not be posted, but it sounds like the types of posts you’re talking about don’t identify the particular student. So while you could certainly make the request, I think you’d be over-stepping and would end up coming across as one of those parents.

You could certainly ask his school administration what policies they have on that issue generally, but I think making this request specifically about your child isn’t likely to solve the problem and is likely to get you marked out as a pain. Anyone disagree?

6. How to tell a former coworker that I won’t recommend her for a job

I recently started a new job and ran into a former colleague in the ladies room. I made the mistake of mentioning that there may be an opening in my department — just as a point of conversation, not because I was trying to recruit her. Quite the contrary. She was a problem at our former company and she is really aggressive. If she should ask about the position (I had heard she was unhappy in her department), how do I decline tactfully? (I was telling her how much I liked this company, my boss, and my coworkers, and when I mentioned the open positon, she paused and she seemed to have that “Hmmm…” look like she was thinking more about it, so I want to be prepared in case she asks me to “sell” her to my boss. I would never recommend her.)

If she decides to apply and asks you to recommend her, you can certainly tell her that you’re not involved in the hiring process at all and she’d be better off just applying directly. Or, you can tell her that you’ll pass her resume along and do so — but with a note to your manager that while you’re passing her materials along at her request, you would not recommend her for the position. If your manager wants more information (which she almost certainly will, if the resume looks like a potential fit), she’ll ask you for it.

7. How to prepare for an interview without a specific job attached

I’ve been called back by a company that previously rejected me for a role (without telling me, but that’s another story). They’ve asked to set up an interview just to “have a chat” — they said that they don’t have a role on offer as such, but just wanted to see where I was at. I have no idea how to prepare for this interview, given that I don’t have a job description to work with, but it’s a bit more formal than a networking meeting (the interviewer is bringing along another manager she wants me to meet). I’ve had a look through the archives and I’ve read your book, and I was planning on bringing a few copies of my updated resume. Is there anything else I can do to prepare for this kind of interview?

I’d actually prepare very similarly to how you would for a regular interview, minus the job-specific parts. So spend some time thinking through the skills you have to offer, practicing talking about times you’ve used those skills and what you’ve accomplished, and so forth. If you have the name of the other manager you’re meeting with, figure out what she does in the organization, since that may give you some clues into what they’ll be interested in talking about. But mainly, go into it the way a consultant would go into a meeting with a potential client — thinking “this might lead to new business, and I’ll tell them about what I do and why I’m good at it, and hear what they’re looking for and what they have to offer.”

{ 341 comments… read them below }

  1. Michelle*

    OP #2– Why do you care about the nose ring, though? I don’t live in a conservative area, so maybe I can’t relate, but I guarantee you no one would be affronted by a nose ring.

    1. FD*

      It’s not exactly that people would be affronted, it’s that in most areas, it just isn’t considered a professional look. (Just as obviously non-natural hair isn’t.) Whether that’s *fair* or not is another matter, but I know in my area, a nose ring would definitely raise eyebrows, and you don’t want that in a customer-facing position.

      (In some fields, it’s a health/sanitation thing too–I’ve worked several places where you can only have small stud earrings, and sometimes not even that, but I doubt that’s the case for a receptionist.)

      1. Anonymous*

        In most areas? I’ve worked in bible belt USA, and this usually isn’t a problem (and for those that are this is company specific not a “cultural” problem.). As far as “health” fields go, I can’t imagine where this would be an issue either. If facial contamination is an issue you’re wearing a full facial mask, and this couldn’t be an issue.

        1. FD*

          Hm, fair enough. I’ve worked in the midwest, in parts of Florida, and in DC. I’ve definitely never worked anywhere that would have allowed it, and I can’t say I’ve ever been in a medical office where I saw a nose ring on any receptionist ever. However, it is possible that my field is just slightly conservative? I’m not sure.

          1. shellbell*

            I’ve worked in north carolina and in dc. I see nose rings all the the time. My physician has a nose ring!

          2. FiveNine*

            I live in D.C. and have never, ever seen a medical worker with a nose ring. Heck, for that matter, I once worked as an executive assistant in the model AIDS clinic, and even there, the case workers, who have a lot more leeway in how they dress, didn’t wear nose rings.

            1. shellbell*

              Really?? It is extremely common for women physicians raised in India to wear nose rings. I worked in healthcare for 12+ yrs in 4 different states. Saw nose rings commonly in every practice that I worked in. Often, they are barely noticable.

          3. NBB*

            Good lord! Are we following each other around? I too have worked in the midwest, DC and Florida. Isn’t it interesting how those place are so very, very different from each other?

        2. Coco*

          It has nothing to do with being in the bible belt or in a conservative area. Some companies see it as not being part of professional dress. We all have to make concessions when we work.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      In many parts of the country, many organizations (certainly not all, but many) consider it too far outside the mainstream for customer-facing positions.

      1. Anonymous*

        Right, customer-facing is different from, say, behind-the-scenes administrative work. You gotta make sure everyone, from all walks of life, feel comfortable dealing with her.

        Unless she’s a receptionist for a Hot Topic executive, then maybe . . .

        1. Chris80*

          I don’t think this is 100% true. It’s not my job (nor anyone’s) to make sure that people from all walks of life are comfortable dealing with everyone in a customer service position. After all, there are some people that will never be comfortable dealing with someone who is African American, Muslim, disabled, obese, gay, transgender, etc. Making everyone comfortable with the different types of people they will inevitably encounter is not a priority for me, and that includes making them comfortable with people with nose piercings!

          1. AG*

            Right, but it’s the company’s prerogative to decide what appearance is considered professional, as long as they are not discriminating against a protected class.

          2. Xay*

            Can we stop comparing having a piercing to being a member of a protected class? It’s a elective body modification like a tattoo or hairstyle that can be reasonably addressed in a dress code.

            1. Chris80*

              Fair enough. Not all of the above are protected classes though, which is more the point I was trying to make. We can’t possibly ensure that each customer is comfortable around everyone in customer service.

            2. Mel*

              At my company, we have a lot of Indian employees (actually, our company is owned by Indians) and while a nose ring is part of their culture and many of the Indian girls I have worked with wear a nose ring at work, it’s actually in our dress code that employees should have no visible body piercings except for one set of earrings in the lobes. Because they are Indian though, our company looks the other way. If I were to come in with a nose ring though (I’m white), it would be frowned upon, and I’d probably be asked to take it out.

              I have cartilage piercings in my ears, and have always had to wear my hair over my ears.

              1. Chinook*

                Mel, are you sure that you would be asked to remove the nose ring if you wore the same style as your East Indian coworkers? East Indians (as well as non-Indians who got their nose pierced while working/living there) all wore subtle studs that were not necessarily noticeable at first glance. It may not be a case of racism so much as the dress code not being updated.

                1. Rana*

                  That’s a good point. I was just thinking that while some nose rings can be rather obvious and obtrusive, a small, subtle stud is often less of a problem. (Ditto with big jangly earrings versus small hoops or studs, for that matter.)

              2. Justine*

                Are they hindu? Because, IIRC, nose rings hold a lot of religious significance in hinduism. I don’t know how the law works with this kind of stuff, but perhaps is would religious discrimination to prohibit hindus from wearing nose rings.

      2. Windchime*

        That’s how my employer sees it, and we are just outside of Seattle, which is a pretty relaxed place. My previous employer was also in Washington in a much more conservative area, and facial piercings are absolutely not allowed in either place. Tattoos must also be completely covered.

        Both employers are healthcare facilities, if that makes a difference.

    3. Jane*

      Definitely depends on the location, industry, and specific company. Some are more conservative than others. Even in the same field, it varies wildly.

      1. Carrie in Scotland*

        If she has only just had her nose pierced, like ear piercing, you should allow a certain amount of time with the ring/stud in it otherwise it would just close up again. Assuming your receptionist wants to keep her nose piercing, could you maybe ask her if she would change out the ring and put a stud in it? some nose studs, again like earrings, can be very small & hardly noticeable.

        1. Sydney Bristow*

          I can’t remember what it’s called, but there is some sort of filler thing that you can put in while at work and switch back to the hoop or stud outside of work. There may be some period of time before a person can do that while the piercing heals though.

          1. Calla*

            That’s a retainer, and I do think there are certain types you can wear while it’s healing. That said, with a retainer you can still usually tell the nose is pierced so I think OP might as well let her wear a small diamond stud (which imo is pretty common and not at all unprofessional but I guess there’s some areas where that’s not the norm) in it.

            1. Cathy*

              Yes, they make little, clear, rubber nose studs to use in place of a metal one. In my experience, they are actually *more* visible than a small stud.
              I have a nose piercing – had it for about 10 years. My co-workers freaked the first time I wore a loop (forgot to change it out after the weekend) instead of my usual diamond stud. They all wanted to know when I got it done and were completely shocked when I told them “about 8 years ago”. They literally never noticed it!

              1. Kelly L.*

                When it’s just the little diamond stud, it usually takes me ages to figure out someone has one–and the thought process is usually “Wait, did her freckle just sparkle?…Oh!”

        2. Carrie*

          +1 There is a difference between a nose ring and a nose piercing. Is it that the OP won’t allow rings, or won’t allow piercings? I don’t see why a simple stud would be a problem – nose studs seem to be about as common as second ear piercings nowadays. An actual ring is a different story.

          1. Lisa*

            Nose piercings can be very pretty and so can small rings.

            If there wasn’t a written policy or even an understanding of don’t have facial piercings, etc. before she got this one, I think OP should attempt a compromise. I hope OP will allow the person to wear it until the 6 weeks are up, so that it won’t close. After that, she should remove it for work and told that leeway will not be given for any new piercings.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              It really depends on the tone of the business. There are plenty of businesses where a prohibition, even in the early weeks, would be reasonable.

              For instance, I used to work for an advocacy organization that was already saddled with stereotypes about being an issue for liberals/hippies/etc, and the organization was committed to presenting a very mainstream, middle-America, professional image to counter those stereotypes: no long hair on men, no facial piercings, etc. There was a business reason for it.

              I imagine something similar might be true if you worked with a population of older, socially conservative people who would feel uncomfortable with a receptionist who looked, to them, anti-authority (which is how a lot of older people think of piercings).

              1. Chinook*

                While I can understand the majority repsonse about why on earth it should matter whther or not the receptionist wears a nose ring, I have to agree with Allison that the company image can be affected by it. As well, the employee must have realized there would be a reaction to it, especially if it is imediately noticeable (i.e. a small diamond or metallic stud does look like a freckle).

                When you do any type of body modification, whether it be piercing (even the 2 that are accepted in female ears) or tattoos, you have to take into consideration that it may not garner a positive reaction from those around you. I speak from experience and this is why I chose a tattoo in a visible place that remains covered until I have a reputation that makes it more of a quirk rather than a major descriptor of me. (I took it as a compliment last week at church when someone said they never thought of me as someone who would have ink)

    4. Lindsay J*

      It’s interesting, when I was in school and doing my therapy practicums I assumed I would have to take the nose ring I had at the time out. However, my advisor straight up told me that she didn’t see how it could be a problem for anyone and that I could leave it in unless the parents of any of the children I was providing therapy for said anything about it.

      However, every retail, medical reception, and other job I have had (even non-customer facing positions) have deemed it unprofessional and against dress-code. I believe it just goes back to the image a company wants to portray, (usually fresh faced, polite, and helpful) and worries about a slippery slope argument (well if she can have a nose ring, why can’t I have my eyebrow ring? etc).

      I see the same thing with tattoos – most people that I know (young and old) do not have a problem with tattoos, however most companies that I work for have had policies against allowing them to show.

      1. Cruella Da Boss*

        Please keep in mind that most company dress codes were drafted well before facial piercings gained popularity. Most companies, like mine, never considered them until they were faced with an employee who had one.

      2. De Minimis*

        I used to work at Borders, and the policy on it seemed to depend on the area. I worked in Silicon Valley and facial piercings were against dress code at our store and at those nearby, but were allowed in the stores that were in the Bay Area proper.

    5. BCW*

      Kind of going along with that, my question is was that the actual policy already? I mean, if in the employee guidelines or something it specifically says “No piercings” I get it. But if there was no rule forbidding it already, ti would kind of suck to be told you can’t do it. I’ve worked for companies that had a rule of “no visible tattoos”, my company now doesn’t. If I decided to go out and get an arm sleeve tattoo, then all of a sudden the company decided I could no longer wear short sleeves because of a rule that they only decided on after the fact, I’d be a bit annoyed.

      1. bearing*

        Agree that the kindest thing would be to offer a compromise, at least if “no facial piercings” was not an explicitly understood rule prior to this.

        Let her know you understand that it will take about six weeks to heal correctly; request that the employee replace the ring with a very conservative stud when at work; tell her that you reserve the right to ask her to remove it early if you detect any actual problems with customers during the six weeks; and maybe keep an open mind during those six weeks to see if, in fact, there are any problems at all. Nose piercings may be more accepted than you realize.

      2. Elizabeth*

        If I decided to go out and get an arm sleeve tattoo, then all of a sudden the company decided I could no longer wear short sleeves because of a rule that they only decided on after the fact, I’d be a bit annoyed.

        The hospital I work at has a policy of “no visible tattoos and no piercings except ears, and then a maximum of 2 in each ear”. The policy was put into affect in 2008/2009.

        We didn’t grandfather in ink or piercings. If you had a nose ring & a full sleeve, you put in a spacer/retainer and wore long sleeves from the date the policy started being enforced. My boss had the time had 4 earrings in one ear & 6 in the other, and she cut it down to 2 in each.

        We gave 6 months warning before we started enforcing the policy. There are a lot of people with ink (and a lot of really good ink) here who just don’t show it during work hours. Our HR department is up front with applicants that this is strictly enforced here.

        Our patient population is overwhelmingly over the age of 65. They have strong opinions about ink & piercings. They don’t want to see either. As demographics change, that will probably change. In the meantime, we’ve made the decision that the opinions of the people to whom we are providing intimate care override the desires of our employees for self-expression.

        1. KellyK*

          That’s a very reasonable way to handle it. You had a real need based on the patients you serve, and you gave six months’ warning so even if someone had just gotten ink or a piercing the day before the policy came out, they’d have plenty of time to let a piercing heal, buy clothes that hide the new tattoo, or whatever they needed to do. Or, for that matter, six months to start job-hunting if it really was a deal-breaker for them.

    6. Jazzy Red*

      “I guarantee you no one would be affronted by a nose ring.”

      Wanna bet? I don’t like to see facial piercings on receptionists, med techs, food servers, etc. It screams “unsanitary” to lots of people.

      In a professional setting, if you’d wear it to a club, you probably shouldn’t wear it to work.

      I can guarantee you that if the OP hasn’t already had complaints from clients about the nose ring, she will soon.

      1. Natalie*

        I’m curious if you have similar feelings about ear piercings on receptionists, med techs, and servers.

      2. Kerry*

        In a professional setting, if you’d wear it to a club, you probably shouldn’t wear it to work.

        I don’t know about this as a ‘rule’ – I think there are a few things that cross over. I’d wear underpants to a club and I’m pretty sure I should wear them at work, too.

      3. Michelle*

        There’s nothing unsanitary about piercings. It’s understandable to say you don’t like how they look, or they signify social attitudes you don’t agree with, but it’s no different from having earrings.

        1. Jamie*

          I don’t know – I think there is more of a squick factor for some people because part of it is inside the nose or mouth – which reads as unsanitary for some people.

          If I’m in a meeting and someone touches their ear and then hands me a pen I don’t care. If they had their fingers in their nose or mouth I’m not touching the pen.

        2. FD*

          Actually, this isn’t true. For example, if the earring in the piercing has places germs can get into and that aren’t easily cleaned, it can be a sanitary issue if you’re handling contaminants or food, and accidentally touch your earring.

    7. Lils*

      I am a mid-level manager and have had my nose pierced for 16 years. In the 90s I received shocked reactions from many people, but since the mid-2000s it has been far more acceptable. Some jobs have allowed it and some haven’t–specifically it’s depended solely on the attitude–dare I say “hipness”?–of the manager.

      I never wear my nose stud to work now, just like I keep my hair a natural color–not the fire-engine red it used to be. I also keep my band t-shirts at home and wear suits and dresses to the office. I spent too much money going to school and too much effort working on my career to have people judge me for something so minor. It means literally nothing to me to assume the mask of a professional person at work. I’m taken more seriously because my appearance and my behavior indicate an alignment with company culture. That gives me power to fight for things that are important–ethical policies, a productive team, etc.

      OP#2 should not worry about setting and enforcing reasonable dress codes. “No facial piercings” is a legitimate dress code policy. I’m not sure how this person’s “tough life” comes into it. If not wearing her nose ring at work will help her get ahead in your organization’s culture, you’re doing her a favor. That being said, I would not set such a rule at my workplace for a receptionist, since if anything it would probably positively affect our customer service (our clients are college students).

      As was mentioned above, there are ways to keep the piercing open for the 6 week healing period. I have done this many times myself. Eventually just wearing it at night will keep it open.

  2. FD*

    OP #1- Oh, God, that has “bad idea” written all over it. What if he had to fire her? Could he do it, knowing he would be losing out on the rent money he would otherwise be getting? Not to mention, do you want to risk your boss seeing you when you’re slouching down to the mailbox in your flip flops and a scruffy t-shirt?

    1. Jessa*

      I totally agree. There’s just nothing good likely to come out of having your boss as a landlord, unless your boss is your relative already.

      1. LisaLyn*

        Yeah, I felt like yelling “NOOOO” at the computer when I read that. Even if she doesn’t get behind in her rent, I don’t see how realistically this is anywhere close to a good idea. On top of everything else, it may end up looking strange to the OP’s friend’s coworkers and that can start the kind of indirect trouble that could really cause harm to the OP’s friend’s job. Just … no. Not a good idea.

      2. Anonymous*

        Wow, I don’t know! A landlord who is your relative (involved in your family/personal life) AND your boss (involved in your professional life)? I feel like that’s more of a trifecta of pure misery than anything! But maybe that’s just me!

        1. Chinook*

          “A landlord who is your relative (involved in your family/personal life) AND your boss (involved in your professional life)? I feel like that’s more of a trifecta of pure misery than anything! ”

          Either that or the byproduct of living in a small town.

    2. Jamie*

      Yep, bad idea written all over it is right. It just confess the power dynamic on top of the other million reasons that you shouldn’t rent from your boss.

    3. JMegan*

      Also, if she is behind on her rent for whatever reason, it opens the door for the boss to say “I know exactly how much you earn, what the heck are you spending it on that you can’t pay your rent on time?”

      It’s none of her boss’ business how she spends the money she earns, and none of her landlord’s business what her salary is. Bad, bad idea to mix the two.

      1. Jazzy Red*

        The last time I rented an apartment, the application asked for my employer and monthly income. Yes, it is the landlord’s business to know a renter’s income.

        I agree with the rest of your comment completely, though.

    4. Anonymous Accountant*

      Exactly. Or what if the company had layoffs and he had to tell her she’s laid off? That’d be super awkward to see her regularly and I can imagine a discussion like this:

      “Jane, you are 3 months behind on your rent”.

      “Well, if I hadn’t received that layoff notice”…

      1. Lore*

        Not to mention, in the case of layoffs, the boss now has a personal financial stake in whether one of his employees has a source of income or not, which seems like a major conflict of interest when those decisions are getting made.

  3. Chriama*

    #5 – I find the issue of social media and kids hard. I have younger sisters who aren’t on Facebook, but sometimes they’ll end up in the background of a picture posted by one of my friends and I’ll ask them to take it down.
    On the other hand, if your kid isn’t being identified I by name or picture (and I can’t imagine any teacher thinking that’s ok, since media release forms are opt in rather than opt out) I don’t think there’s anything you can do. Quite frankly, I think it would be an unreasonable request. Facebook is a social environment, and one of the ways people socialize is by sharing anecdotes about their workplaces.
    You might cringe to imagine that someone in internetland is being amused at your kid’s expense, but if they don’t know it’s your kid, then it isn’t really at his expense, is it? Let it go.

    1. Jane*

      I am friends with a teacher who posts stories about his students from time to time. Usually funny anecdotes. He never puts out personally identifiable information, though. I think that would cross the line, but so long as that is not the case, I don’t think it is a battle worth fighting.

      1. Chriama*

        I totally agree that personally identifiable info crosses the line, but I think most teachers would do that. When dealing with kids you have to be really careful about protecting their information (e.g. media release forms when taking pictures of school events that might end up in a newsletter or on a website) so I can’t imagine going through all that training and then letting a student’s name slip on Facebook.

      2. Jen*

        I have a few teacher friends who do this as well. One started out with the “Isn’t this funny?” stories and then veered into “These kids are all idiots and let me make fun of their stupidity” and I actually e-mailed her on it – just gave her a gentle warning that Facebook changes their security so often and when she posts about students she should think “Would I get in trouble if this somehow was posted for the public to see?” and explained that I knew a friend who got fired for making fun of a customer on a customer service call because a co-worker reported him. She thanked me and took down the mean posts and hasn’t posted since then.

        It’s a fine line. Generally I think it’s wisest for everyone to not post anything at all about work unless it’s really positive.

        1. Anonymous*

          +++ This. As teachers we are held to certain moral and ethical standards and all too often, I’ve seen some teachers post these type of status “I can’t believe Johnny’s mom sent him in to school with this shirt on” or “OMG would you name your kid that name” To me this crosses a line and when I see these types of comments I don’t respond. Some things are sweet and innocent but if you’re pretty much saying “these kids and their parents are idiots” then maybe the teacher needs to rethink that status. I’m glad you emailed her.

          And to add even though the identity is not known to some of their ‘fb’ friends it’s usually easily identifiable to their fb friends who are also co-workers. I had one colleague make a few questionable post on fb about students and one time former parent of student implied in the thread that she knew who the teacher was talking about. I have a few pics of the my classroom and/ or projects on my page that’s it. I have had couple of parent post pics of me with their kid on their page.

      1. Laura Treider*

        I don’t think the OP is “friends” with the teachers who will be involved with his child. He is friends with other teachers and is assuming his child will have teachers who may be active with social media.

    2. Bwmn*

      I have friends who are teachers, and their posts on Facebook about their students are never identifiable with who the student is.

      That being said, Slate’s former advice podcast “Manners for the Digital Age” fielded a question about posting photos of kids on Facebook (and brought on a lawyer) – and legally speaking, the law is not on the side of taking the photos down. While I’m sure that schools have their own codes for what teachers can/can’t share about their students (through social media and other venues), on the larger legal level there’s not much there. If a parent is really concerned, they might ask the school for information about what type of confidentiality guidelines they have for student information and how that relates to social media – maybe it’s possible to choose a school based on who has the strongest privacy policies.

      (link to the podcast I referred to:

    3. Josh S*

      I’m friends with a teacher that does this all the time. Pulling a couple quotes directly from her FB (with permission):

      [Other teacher] was explaining how Puerto Rico is related to the US.
      Student: So then does that mean Hawaii is a territory too?
      Teacher: No, Hawaii is a state.
      Student: One of the 50 states?
      Teacher: Yes.
      Student: Or are there 51 states??”

      Student Quote of the Day:
      (Keep in mind that 100% of my students are black.)
      Student: “We have next Tuesday off? For what?”
      Me: “It’s Lincoln’s birthday.”
      Student: “Lincoln? What he ever do for us?”

      I think these are funny. The teacher isn’t FB friends with any of her students (current or former) or their parents. So if the teacher in question has that same level of separation on FB (which they should to maintain professional boundaries with the kids and parents!), I don’t even know how the OP would find out about funny stories like this in the first place.

      Further, I don’t see any way to know which student said any of these things. So privacy seems to be protected through anonymity.

      All that said, I think the OP should be able to go to the teacher and ask that anecdotes originating from her kid be kept off of social media. It’s a bit fringe, but not overly so, IMO.

      But like I said–if the teacher is doing things right, there’s not a way for the OP to know.

      1. Lindsay J*

        Privacy and separation between parents/students and Facebook was something I was going to mention, too.

        I could see being upset and responding to an issue if – say – one of your kid’s teachers had a public blog, Facebook, or Tumblr where they regularly made posts mocking their students. At that point I feel it would be appropriate to go to the teacher (and then the district) and tell them you did not feel comfortable with this, did not want your child mentioned in it, and would ideally want it to stop all together.

        However, proactively approaching this before the start of an issue and presuming to control what a person can post in their own private Facebook feed is another thing entirely. How would you ensure this is being done, or how would you want the school district to go about it? Most of my friends that I have that are teachers have taken measures (going by middle names, making their profile unsearchable, whatever) to ensure that their students and teachers cannot find them, or they maintain separate “professional” and “personal” pages – one for parents and students, and one for friends. If they were to post anything about any kid (and they occasionally do) the parent would likely never be aware that it is happening at all. And if you’re not aware of it, and the kid is not aware of it, and no identifying information is attached, what is the harm in it happening?

        Plus, it just looks overly paranoid, and will likely lead the people in the district you interact with to believe you will be difficult in other ways as well.

        To me, I guess the difference is like the difference between if you were interviewing with somebody who regularly posts interview horror stories on a blog and at the end said, “I know you regularly blog about your interview experiences, etc, and I’m a big fan of your blog. However, I’m a really private person and would appreciate it if you didn’t mention anything that happened in the interview on it.”


        Putting a line on your cover letter that says, “Please don’t talk about me or my candidacy on any blogs or social media sites.”

        The concerns about both are a little awkward (and it could be considered somewhat presumptuous to assume that they will find you so interesting to talk about anyway) but the second is so much more crazy sounding than the first.

        1. Bwmn*

          I also think that where the privacy concerns arise, it might also be helpful for a parent to carefully think about what specific concerns they have and how that relates specifically to teachers’ posts.

          If a parent comes to a school event, and takes pictures of the class (be it their child in a group, or just a group shot of other students) – that photo may easily end up on Facebook. Not to mention a photo with the caption of your child that could read something like “My kid in abc elementary school play with XYZ, who lives next door to us”. And there you go – your child and relatively easy information to find where they live and go to school is on the internet. And if you’re not friends with this parent on Facebook (or perhaps are, but that person has you listed as an aquaintance and blocked from seeing most of their activity) – you’d have no way of knowing this photo/information out there exists. And it’s completely legal.

          So going to the teacher pre-emptively to ask them to refrain from posting anything about your child (redacted or not) is going to sound paranoid. Not because you’re trying to protect your child, but because of how many other ways your child can end up on social media.

          1. Natalie*

            I don’t have kids so I don’t really track these things, but is it actually likely that someone will specifically go target a child because they happened to see the kid of Facebook? From what I’ve read about predators, the minority that are not friends or relatives of their victims don’t go trolling on Facebook to find kids their FB-friends know, who might not even live in the same state as them.

            1. fposte*

              I think there are different views. Some parents would agree with that, but some parents feel like any exposure provides a risk that doesn’t bring a compensating advantage.

              It’s interesting to me that some people are even uncomfortable with phone numbers being findable, since I grew up in the day of the phone book.

              1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

                I agree with this so much! It’s hard for me to get worked up about privacy stuff because I, like, exist in the world. People will find out where I live because I walk around, and I enter and exit my home every day. My email address has been traded and sold probably hundreds of times. I’ve somehow managed to keep my phone relatively spam-free, but if I didn’t, people change their numbers all the time. And like fposte mentions, back in the day there was a huge book of everyone’s phone numbers delivered free to your door a couple times a year!

                Now, I get that when it’s a kid, extra caution is warranted because they can’t make their own choices about this stuff. But teachers, on the whole, are probably the most well-trained and thoroughly screened adult any given child will interact with… it’s just not super likely that any harm will come to a child via any social media interactions of the teacher.

                But the child COULD see minor harm to their education by being the kid of the irritating, paranoid, controlling parent. I don’t think either harm is likely, but the latter is certainly more likely than the former.

                1. fposte*

                  I actually think that an identified teacher posting a quote is likelier to result in grief than a kid’s picture; there’s a lot more teasing and hurt feelings in the world than there is stranger danger.

            2. Lindsay J*

              Yeah, I always thought the concern about addresses, schools etc, for kids being available was weird. (Though I was/am coming from the perspective of a kid in this case.)

              It’s not like kids are rare commodities that a predator could not find without having specific instructions as to where to find them. Most kidnappings are by family members and acquaintances IIRC. (And every large scale child search I have seen in the amusement industry has resulted in the child being found with a noncustodial parent.) They don’t need an address or school name from Facebook because they probably already have that info.

              And if the person is one of those rarer predator types that targets just any child I doubt they are looking at Facebook pics and “window shopping” for kids to target. If they want to find a kid they can roll down the street any morning while elementary school kids are waiting for the bus and find those who aren’t being supervised, or hang out at the mall or playground and do the same thing without ever getting any info off of the the internet.

              I would be cautious about actually allowing kids to talk to and form relationships with people online, because that familiarity could lead to a kid essentially agreeing to be kidnapped or assaulted. Looking back, if I had just slightly less common sense I could have certainly gotten myself into trouble with people I spoke to in chat rooms, who would certainly have been candidates for “To Catch a Predator” had it existed back then.

            3. Bwmn*

              I also don’t have kids – and honestly have no idea.

              Moreso though, my point regarding this subject is that if you want a child protected from being online – it’s important to think about exactly what you’re protecting them from. And what you’re not.

              Asking a teacher to refrain from posting anecdotes about a student in school really has nothing to do with privacy. So then if the concern is that posting an anecdote is perceived as mean or cracking a joke at the child’s expense – the parent is essentially going up to a teacher and asking “please don’t be mean to my child”. Which I don’t necessarily see as starting a positive relationship with a teacher.

      2. Elise*

        I’m not against the teachers’ posts. I just wanted to point out the humor in you making a point to say you had your friend’s permission to use their quotes in a comment defending the position of using quotes without permission.

        Even though you didn’t mention that teacher’s name, you still felt the need to get their okay. And you felt the need to tell us that you had their okay. :)

        1. Josh S*

          That’s largely because I know she’s a private person and doesn’t like to reshare things publicly. I don’t know *why* she’s that way, but she is, and I respect her enough to honor her wishes.

      3. Jamie*

        Actually, I may be outing myself as “one of those parents” but the quotes you mentioned would bother me. The humor is how uneducated and ill informed the kids are – and tbh that reflects pretty poorly on the teacher posting them.

        Not friending parents is fine, but there is no way to completely control the audience for something posted on the Internet. I can imagine it would make a kid feel bad to know that something they said was perceived as so stupid to their teacher they had to share the joke with their circle.

        I wouldn’t expect my health professionals or my attorney topmost wacky anecdotes about me, I think the standard should be at least as high for kids.

        I like the idea of asking about the schools policy on this kind of thing.

        1. Sarah B.*

          As a teacher I find that quote quite funny. I don’t see it as mocking the student; instead I think it is calling attention to the problems in our school system. I hate it when people blame teachers for students not learning. We are incredibly underpaid, work very long hours, and usually have too many students in our classes. At the high school where I teach the majority of us are buying basic classroom supplies (including textbooks) with our own money, spend ten to twelve hours a day at school, and have forty or more students each class period. I have room for thirty two student desks in my classroom. We are still teaching because we love to teach and are trying to make a difference.
          Plus, you don’t need to ask about the school’s policy. When I was studying for my education degree (at a well regarded university in Texas) we were told that it is against the law for a teacher to tell stories about her students using their names or other information that makes them identifiable. The only exception is if you are asking another teacher for advice on how to help or handle a particular student. There are similar laws applying to doctors and lawyers.

          1. KindaLawyer*

            Hmmm – attorney-client privilege and doctor-patient privilege are concepts in the rules of evidence. But the privilege (from having to testify at trial about the communications) focuses on communications between the professional and the individual seeking the professionals help. I don’t believe there is an analogous privilege for teacher/student communications. Which isn’t what you are talking about anyway.

            What you are talking about is analogous to an attorney talking to other people (not at trial) about things a client told them, which is an issue of confidentiality. Confidentiality about client matters is certainly part of the rule of professional responsibility and a matter of ethics, so the an attorney would be subject to sanctions from their state bar association. But that is regulated within the profession, by the state bar association, and not by a court of law. As far as I can tell, you can’t sue the attorney for breaking that confidence (you can sue them for other things) because it doesn’t constitute legal malpractice – just unethical conduct.

            Doctor-patient breach of confidentiality is considered medical malpractice though…so it can vary, but doesn’t really neatly line up with a teacher-student example.

            1. Anonymous*

              FERPA covers the privacy of educational records and prohibits the release of personally identifiable information without written permission. The school can be fined by the federal government, although in practice that doesn’t happen, it’s usually a “Dear Colleague” letter. Most schools have their own policies anyway – I work in post secondary education and we would fire someone for posting those kinds of stories, honestly. The internet is forever, and a screenshot of something like that, even without names, could really be detrimental to classroom management.

              1. KindaLawyer*

                Which sounds more analogous to HIPPA, than say attorney-client/doctor-patient privileges.

          2. ChristineSW*

            Social workers too. I’ve heard of some hospital social workers getting terminated from their jobs for posting about patients.

            1. ChristineSW*

              Oops, that didn’t come out right. *Thou shall not post until having full quota of coffee*

        2. OliviaNOPE*

          Go on Twitter some day and see how many health professionals are tweeting about their patients. The number is HIGH.

          1. ThatGirl*

            The Civil War in the U.S. was not fought to resolve the issue of slavery. It was to keep the Confederate States (which happened to be States that allowed/encouraged slavery) from seceding from the Union.

            1. fposte*

              There’s no flat statement about the cause of the Civil War that’s universally agreed upon, but none of the theories make the Emancipation Proclamation un-happen, and that’s a pretty big Lincoln deal. (And yes, I know the EP didn’t legally free all enslaved people in the US, but it was most of them.)

            2. Natalie*

              That seems like a fairly pedantic claim, considering the entire reason the Confederate States seceded was because of slavery. South Carolina, the leader in the secession movement, mentions only slavery-related issues in their declaration of secession. Slavery was required by the CSA’s constitution – not just allowed, required.

              1. Rana*

                This. If slavery were not an issue for the North (and West), the South wouldn’t have felt the need to secede. So while the Civil War may have been about addressing secession, to claim that resolving the issue of slavery wasn’t part of it is to misunderstand the context. The country had been trying for the previous fifty years or so to come up with a way for the South to have slavery while not requiring the rest of the country to go along with it, and it couldn’t be resolved: hence the Civil War.

        3. fposte*

          The internet is filled with health professionals telling wacky stories. (Don’t forget your pharmacist–there’s a lot of pharmblogging, for some reason.)

        4. OP #5*

          Yes- thank you Jamie! To me it’s about the “standard” that’s somehow different for kids. Honestly, I never thought twice about teachers posting about students until I started nursing school and HIPPA was hammered into my head. Then I wondered why children weren’t afforded the same level of protection.

          I suppose if I were searching for a private school, then it might be appropriate to inquire about a social media policy with an admissions rep. But there isn’t really anyone I could ask at our school without (understandably) causing offense.

          So I suppose I’ll just have to suck it up and accept this as a part of life in the 21st century…

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            No, even at a public school it would be fine to ask the administration about their policy. I think that’s different than giving a directive to a teacher about anonymous anecdotes.

          2. Jamie*

            Absolutely – you can inquire about a policy regarding anything that affects your kid(s) – if anyone takes issue with you asking if there is a policy and if so, for clarification, then there are bigger problems.

            A good school will want parents to be informed and promote transparency with their policies.

            Good teachers and other education professionals are invaluable – but you are your child’s advocate first and foremost and there is nothing wrong with asking for information about anything that affects your child.

            1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

              Completely agree with Jamie and Alison. Asking about the policy from, say, the principal or assistant principal (especially if you can request it innocuously in an upbeat an non-crazy email; that way you have it in writing!) is totally different than making any kind of request about your child.

              And, in the odd chance that they DON’T already have such a policy, your question could be exactly the prompting they need to institute one. Definitely ask if it’s something important to you!

          3. K-5 School Admin*

            It is totally appropriate to ask about the district policy! You sign truckloads of forms when eb rolling a kid in public school–I encourage you to ask for clarity on anything you sign.

          4. annie*

            My mom is a teacher and I have many teacher friends. You’re not going to see a photo or your kids name/identifiable information ever show up in any posts as that’s a pretty standard rule in all school districts, not to mention common sense. Anyone who is getting up in arms about that, just take a deep breath, because that is not happening. No one fears a non-custodial parent kidnapping more than your kid’s teacher – there are plenty of stories of teachers and principles being threatened or hurt by domestic violence situations like that. Every school worker is well aware, especially after Newtown, that they may very well be at the wrong end of gun someday, trying to protect their kids. They all have done the lockdown drills, and every teacher in America has thought about where in their classroom they would go if this happened.

            But yeah, sometimes they post cute stories about their students online. But you should know, even if you stop them from posting it on Facebook, they are still telling all of their friends those same stories, and their friends are repeating it again. Kids are funny, they do cute things, people like to tell/hear funny stories about cute kids. Just last night at dinner with friends, I told a funny/touching story about some of my mom’s students saying they were so sad to leave her classroom on the last day of school. My advice to the OP is to really drill down in their mind to what they are truly concerned about, and try to address that directly.

          5. Rana*

            I can only speak to FERPA from the college level, but it doesn’t preclude sharing funny (or otherwise) stories about your students. It prevents the sharing of things like grades, addresses, Social Security numbers, class schedules, and other privileged information. A story told about an unnamed student is perfectly legal, though certainly one can debate the ethics of it.

            (For what it’s worth, most professors – and I would imagine, teachers – are pretty cautious about not naming their students. My husband talks about his students all the time, for example, but I don’t know any of their names, and if I met one in person, I’d have no clue as to which of them they were.)

          6. Lindsay J*

            But nothing about HIPAA prohibits a provider from sharing anecdotes about patients online, so long as no identifiable information is provided.

            So posting saying:
            Patient: I don’t know how I got chicken pox. I haven’t been around any chickens recently.
            Me: Chicken pox doesn’t come from chickens.
            Patient: Next you’ll be telling me charlie horses don’t come from riding horses

            is perfectly okay to post online.

            Saying “Jane Smith told me today she doesn’t like the taste of petroleum jelly – she has been eating it rather than applying it to her rash” is not.

            Debatable are: “My four year old patient that lives in The Woodlands and has red hair and blue eyes,” and so less detail is usually better.

            1. fposte*

              If “The Woodlands” is an area smaller than a state, it’s not debatable–it’s overly identifying.

        5. tcookson*

          I have to agree with Jamie; these quotes or similar posts from teachers would bother me. It is just about the teacher showing her students a basic degree of respect (as in, I won’t exploit our interactions and/or your foibles for the amusement of my 500 closest friends).

          To do so shows a certain degree of callousness, or the lack of a moment’s reflection on how they’d like it if other people published”wacky anecdotes” at their expense. Being underpaid or saying that you’re using the kids’ foibles to highlight problems with our educational system is no excuse; it’s simply unkind to portray someone (even unbeknownst to them) as a poster child for ignorance. You can bet that the child would feel bad if he knew.

        6. Anonymous*

          My school has a policy, and it specifically prohibits this sort of posts by teachers. Especially when done using district resources, and that includes using district wifi from your smartphone.

          I think more school districts will be developing policies such as this. It isn’t actually that hard to figure out which kid a teacher is talking about, unless all the kids dress alike and look alike and learn alike of course.

      4. A teacher*

        I post similar things that kids say in my room or I have an overhear in the halls comment I will post. I am friends with former students and they can’t guess whom I’m talking about so I know what I post isn’t identifiable. Kids say funny stuff and I’ve even said to them you know that might be my FB status and they of course laugh… They also post stupid stuff I say or tweet what peers say all the time.

        I look at it as similar to when any of you post about co-workers but in their case if they were to read it it would be indentifiable. If you are a parent that does complain about a generic posting, you are “one of those parents” and I would go out of my way to document every interaction with you because I would know I need to CYA. I’ve only had a few parents like that but they are the very few that frustrate me.

      5. Elizabeth West*

        I see no way to know exactly who it is, unless the teacher is Facebook-friends with other students (frowned upon in most schools) who may say “Oh that was Frankie X who said that! Ha ha ha ha!” and shared the post with his/her 249 friends.

    4. Jessa*

      Anecdotes yes, pictures never. I have an issue with pics that identify which kid belongs to which parent and also tips their location to people who may not have nice motives. Also, I’d think that teachers as a rule have an obligation to be NICE. As in you don’t post nasty anecdotes that might be identifiable. And sometimes not putting the name is not sufficient, some kids behaviour is just so obviously them.

      1. Bwmn*

        What people think regarding anecdotes and pictures are really going to depend and vary based on the individual school’s policies. I think that a parent asking the school what their policy about student privacy is – and how that relates to social media – is very fair.

        However, sharing anecdotes and even photos of these kids isn’t illegal. So it’s really up to what the school’s policies for teachers are.

      2. Anonymous*

        Yes! A teacher here posted a pic of a kid’s shirt (the child’s face was not visible)..with a not so nice comment. I just think ‘this type’ of posting is inappropriate.

    5. BCW*

      Yeah, I think its a bit much to ask that. I used to teach, and I’d posted funny stories and stuff too, but never identified the kid. I know kids are different, but I mean thats like someone asking you to not go on AAM and post a story about something that your co-worker did. As long as you aren’t saying “Jane Smith from Chicago who works at XYZ company” its not a big deal. You can’t really dictate how people use their social media as long as it isn’t violating your kids privacy.

      1. Jamie*

        An anonymous poster here could be anyone and their random co-worker could work anywhere in the world if they don’t post identifying information.

        Facebook has the teachers name and a finite number of students from a very specific school. If you were a teacher and posted here about some silly thing a kid said it could be anyone. If it was your Facebook page then it’s one of a small subset of kids who could be hurt if they heard about anything said in a mocking tone. Huge difference.

        1. BCW*

          Well, I’ll give you a little bit of that. It really goes down to how much info you have. I’ll admit, if you can easily see that you are a 4th grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary School in Smallville, IL, and that school only has one class per grade and there are only 15 kinds, then yes. That is a very small subset. If you only have your name and not your employer, plus you live in a pretty big city, thats completely different.

          1. tcookson*

            I don’t think the fact that the comment can’t be identified as being about one particular student mitigates the problem, though. A teacher posting unflattering comments that can be traced only as far as being about “one of the kids in 4th grade at Jefferson Elementary in Smallville, IL” is still violating a certain degree of trust placed in her by the kids that they won’t be publicly mocked.

            1. fposte*

              That’s where I think the rough HIPAA guidelines work even in this very non-HIPAA situation. Could they pin this kid down to an area smaller than a state? Then don’t post it.

    6. Camp Director Kim*

      OP #5, I am a summer camp director, and we have a policy that explicitly prevents our counselors from posting identifiable photos of any child online at any time, for any reason. It’s an issue of privacy and safety, even if the child’s last name is not associated with the picture.

      Even with a direct photo release from the parents, posting pictures of children can be a sticky wicket. So we avoid it as much as possible other than in our marketing materials.

      1. Jamie*

        I like that policy. From pre-k through senior year of high school we had to sign a form at the beginning of every school year asking if we would allow photos or identifying information in the media.

  4. Beatrice*

    #5- I’m a teacher and have taught in several different states. In most of the states I have been in a teacher can lose their teaching kiscence for posting and/or telling someone a student ancedote that identifies the student by name. One state had a similar rule that included sharing information that could allow someone to identify the student. Are you concerned that someone would recognize your child in a teacher’s post?
    I can tell you that AAM is absolutely right, if you make a request like this it would label you are one of “those” parents. (It could also result in a story about you ending up on Facebook. ;)

    1. Eric*

      Wow. Nice threat there.

      It is perfectly reasonable in this day and age to simply voice your concern about your child and facebook. Making a polite comment about that surely will not get you labeled as a helicopter parent.

      I totally disagree with most everything I have seen on this page on answer #5: from the AAM “official” response, to every comment about it. Especially the Abe Lincoln story, which reeks of “look how stupid my black students are”. That one is totally appalling, and I tend to think I have a good sense of humor.

      You are your child’s advocate. Advocate for them. Protect them. Your judgment is best, not teachers or the school. This simple facebook request does not rise to the level of obnoxious.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Come on, that’s no more a threat than it’s a threat to tell a job seeker that they’ll look a little crazy if they, say, show up in person with a plant and candy for the hiring manager. It’s not a threat; it’s advice, in response to a request for advice.

      2. OP #5*

        Thanks for the support, Eric! I do think AAM is right though; the reality is that a teacher would likely be offended by the question. I wish there was a way to pressure the school districts to develop some kind of social media policy that ONLY pertained to prohibiting posts about students (becuase there IS such a fine line between a “funny” story and something that could be perceived as making fun of a child). But most of my son’s classmates’ parents are much younger than I am and probably aren’t bothered by this issue. I’m starting to write this off as a generational thing :/

        1. Loose Seal*

          Could you write a letter to the school board asking them to clarify the policy (or draft a policy if one doesn’t exist)? I don’t have kids so I’ve never communicated with the school board but here they are elected so they sort of have to pay attention to what the public has to say.

        2. Marmite*

          It might help to ask yourself what it is you’re worried about. Is it that a teacher might make fun of your child to her friends? Or is it that something posted on FB could be linked to your son? If it’s the former then social media has nothing to do with it, your child’s teacher may laugh about her students with her friends at the end of the work day via e-mail, text, phone call, in person etc. It’s not nice to think of someone making fun of our kids, but kids do stupid things and teaching can be a high pressure, under-appreciated job.

          If you’re concerned about something on FB being linked to your son, it shouldn’t be something to worry about if the status is referencing an anonymous child. If your son is being named/having his photo posted, that probably is against school regulations and you could certainly complain about that. Many parents don’t like their child’s name or photo appearing online and most teachers would be understanding of that privacy concern.

          It’s sounds from your comment above that you’re mostly concerned about a teacher telling a funny story that’s really making fun of your child (intentionally or otherwise) and that can (and probably will at some point) happen offline.

          1. Jen*

            I agree. Teachers have been sharing stories about students (and their parents!) long before social media. You won’t be able to prevent this. There are so many other things to worry about when your son hits school-age, I’d let this one go.

        3. Anonymous*

          This is why your school district’s Board meetings are open to the public! Get on the agenda, attend, and address your concerns to the Board. This is also why (most) school boards are elected. You could run for office…just saying.

    2. Elizabeth*

      As another teacher, I agree with Beatrice’s final comment that making this request (not in reaction to anything, just upfront) has the potential to get a parent labeled as difficult. I want to add that I don’t let my perceptions of a parent impact the way I interact with their child – but having a parent come to me with this kind of request at the beginning of the school year would definitely make me feel more stressed out about subsequent parent-teacher conferences, for example. I would worry that things I said or did would be misinterpreted by the parent and that the parent might be trying to catch me in some misdeed.

      1. Anonymous*

        As an employee, you have to open to the concerns of your clients though. One of your clients is the parents, another is your district office/principle, and the third is your school board. I know it is a lot. I also work in K12 schools. The bottom line is, you work for those parents, because if they didn’t bring their kids, you wouldn’t be working.

        1. Bobby Digital*

          Speaking as a former teacher, I think posting about students on Facebook is irresponsible, especially when students are the punchlines of jokes. Privacy objections aside, I wouldn’t advise anyone to mock in writing their coworkers, bosses, or clients, much less regularly, and especially not if their coworkers, bosses, or clients were emotionally-fragile, self-conscious, trusting children. Every time I read one of these “stories,” it strikes me that the teacher must be pretty confused about the nature of their position. That Lincoln thing? That’s a teachable moment, not an opportunity to garner Likes and OMGs.

  5. Cube Ninja*

    Re #2, I’ll disclaim up front that I have both a full sleeve tattoo (normally covered in the office) and 00 ga piercings in my. So long as I’m wearing a dress shirt or sweater, I’m fully within my company dress code. That said, I also totally understand that many other employers are significant more conservative in terms of dress code.

    I do want to point out that a small nose stud is a fairly different thing from, say, a lip ring, 1″ plugs in the ears, facial tattoos, etc. Now, if it something more like a septum or bridge piercing, I agree that those don’t come off as being totally professional and probably aren’t suited to front desk type work in most applications. That said, my large (for professional settings) piercings certainly aren’t common either, but I’ve been part of many client-facing meetings and never had a single comment about it aside from a few compliments about the tattoo. Generally speaking, I find that whatever perceptions someone might have based on the piercings are changed very quickly as soon as I start talking.

    I’ll freely admit my bias here and will also assume I’ll be in the minority opinion, but if it *is* a small nose stud and it isn’t something that’s contemplated by your existing dress code, I’d urge you to consider whether or not it’s truly worthwhile to address. Is it likely to cause great offense to clients/customers/etc that come into the front office? Did her performance or attitude suddenly change as a result of the piercing? Chances are that the answer is no to both of these questions.

    Of course, if it’s something a little less discreet, by all means address it. It’s also fine to have the policy in place to begin with, but if it isn’t something that’s currently in your company’s dress code, I’d be prepared for a little bit of push back even if you are totally justified in addressing it.

    1. Rachel*

      I’m 100% with you here. I don’t have any truly unusual piercings, but I have two captive bead rings in the lower cartilage of my left ear. I like them, and I don’t take them out ever. I’ve never had an employer care about them, and it’s not like I hide them during job interviews.

      Obviously this varies by location, but I don’t think of a nose stud as being at all a big deal- they’re often the kind of thing that I don’t even notice for a long time. If she’s wearing a ring (ie a little hoop) rather than a stud, I wouldn’t find it unreasonable to ask her to switch to a stud for the workplace. A number of my friends with pierced noses wear a ring on the weekends and a stud during the work week. But a discreet stud? Plain silver or gold & round, not a weird shape and nothing extra sparkly? I’d be genuinely surprised if you got any complaints from clients/customers/whoever.

      1. A Bug!*

        And add to that, for me I initially read it as “oo ga” piercings, like, “ooh gah”, because the font makes the 0’s little, and, well, between that and the “as long as I’m wearing a dress shirt it’s covered”, it didn’t help the mystery one bit.

        Thanks for the morning chuckle!

  6. V*

    #7… Why don’t you prepare for it like an informational interview? Obviously, this will have a lot more back and forth because they will presumably benefit too, but come up with some really in-depth questions that will give you a good idea of whether or not this is a good fit.

    1. Chriama*

      I think with informational interviews you’re trying to learn more about a position/company/industry, whereas this seems to be an assessment of whether or not the OP could bring value to the company. Like Alison says, it’s more like a consultant meeting with a client. You have a skill set and you want to see if the company would benefit from your expertise. Definitely screen for fit, but unlike an informational interview you need to be prepared to speak about yourself too.

  7. mel*

    Sucks about the nose piercing. She probably should have asked first (no-facial-piercings is a pretty common rule) because she’s now out the money and it’s not like she can just not wear it during the day… can she? Would it close up that fast? I’d rather see a metal stud than an open wound.

    One of my former coworkers had a septum piercing and I didn’t even know until she showed me. She just flipped her ring up into her nostrils so no one could even see they were there!

    1. Tinker*

      The jewelry can’t be removed and put back in like that while they’re healing — it’s the same as pierced ears in that regard, doing that will cause irritation, infection, and disruption of the healing process.

      1. Jamie*

        That’s why she should have asked first. IMO the workplace has every right to require it be removed during work hours and if that causes issues for her…that isn’t theirs to worry about.

        Unless tons of other co-workers who were public facing also had them they aren’t mainstream enough to assume this wouldn’t be an issue at work.

        1. KellyK*

          While she probably should’ve asked first, I also think that if they’re dead set against facial piercings, it should be included in a written dress code. If it’s not, or if there is no dress code, it’s no surprise that she’d assume it was okay.

    2. Anonymous*

      I’m probably in the minority, in that IMO this falls into the same EEO category as sexual/minority/other. If this is how you choose to express yourself, it really shouldn’t be discrimaniated against.

      1. Cube Ninja*

        This isn’t at all an EEO issue – employers rightly have the ability to dictate a dress code for their business so long as it doesn’t impact a protected class. Folks with tattoos and piercings will almost certainly never be a protected class in and of themselves.

      2. Penguin*

        Unless facial piercings are part of your religion, I don’t agree with you. I have full sleeves (tattoos) and work in managerial positions, I always wear long sleeves, even in Southern summers.

        Once the nose piercing is healed, she can put in a clear retainer during the day so it is invisible. Until then, maybe a compromise can be reached (working in the back filing forms, taking PTO, a band aid etc).

        1. Calibrachoa*

          There is such a thing as the Church of Body Modification.

          Now I am also wondering since over in Manchester the police have listed “subculture” on the list of hate crimes, if this has had any effet on job discrimination or if it has yet to come up…

          1. Amanda EO*

            Employment discrimination in the UK is covered by an entirely seperate set of regulations from hate crime definitions (the Equality Act 2010).

            Subculture isn’t included in the Equality Act as a protected characteristic, so they wouldn’t likely be able to make a discrimination claim. Unless, say, because of the particular subculture the employer thinks you might be gay or of a certain religion and treats you differently because of that, because the Equality Act does protect you from discrimination or harrassment due to the perception of a protected characteristic.

      3. Jamie*

        I don’t see how something that is a conscious choice would merit the same protections as race, sexual orientation, gender, etc. which is inherently a part of who you are.

        This is a style choice – if I choose to express myself by wearing shorts or track pants to work my employer should be able to send me home (and would). What I do on my time is my own business, but professional appearance isn’t unreasonable.

          1. Jamie*

            Race, sexual orientation, and gender are not – which is what I posted. And marital/parental status is not protected in all jurisdictions.

            And yes, religion is a choice, but it’s also specifically protected.

      4. BCW*

        I wouldn’t go THAT far, although I agree its not really a big deal. I mean if you work at a high end store, I can understand that you don’t want someone with a full facial tattoo representing your brand. But I’ve argued before that companies should be able to hire whoever they want to represent them with customers (cute girls, Abercrombie type guys, whatever) and there shouldn’t be standards there, but I get shot down with that too.

      5. Lily in NYC*

        No way. What if I wanted to express myself by exposing my chest at work? If companies are allowed to require women to wear pantyhose, then they are allowed to ban facial piercings. We don’t have to like it, but it’s not really our choice.

      6. Chinook*

        I don’t see how any type of body modification like piercings or tatoos could be considered a protected class because they are 100% a choice and individuals need to realize that choices have consequences. Even if it is for religious reasons, there are ways to make them less noticeable and to make sure people are seeing you and not the modification.

        1. Chinook*

          Exceptions given of course for things like WWII concentration camp tatoos and the like. Those were definitely not a choice.

          1. Anonymous*

            I would hope anyone with that situation is enjoying a nice happy retirement at this point!

    3. Cube Ninja*

      Fresh piercings can close up more than you’d expect after just one day. Heck, they can close up quite a bit even if they’re a few months old and you leave your jewelry out too long. When I got my inner conch (thick part of the ear) piercings done, they took around 7 months to heal completely and if they were slightly irritated when I cleaned them, they’d try to close up after just a few minutes.

    4. ThursdaysGeek*

      My god-daughter works at a daycare and most of them don’t allow facial piercings. She used to have to wear a band-aid over her nose ring.

      1. Natalie*

        Personally I would take jewelry out around a lot of kids just on the grounds of safety. Kids pull stuff!

        Similarly, a friend who works on a mental health ward decided to remove her eyebrow piercing after she was punched by a patient and the piercing got mildly infected. Unfortunately physical violence is a non-zero risk of her job, so she decided she was better off without it.

  8. Tinker*

    Given that the issue with #2 seems to be of appearance at work, rather than the presence of the piercing generally, it might soften the blow to consider suggesting concealment as an option — not with a band-aid or silly putty, I mean, but there are clear retainers available that can be used in healing piercings, and septum piercings with circular barbells can often be flipped up. If it’s a fresh piercing, they’d probably have to visit their piercer to exchange the jewelry and leave in the unobtrusive piece until healing was complete. But after that they would be able to install bling to their heart’s content someplace not work, while not tempting the customers to lead them around by the nose at work.

    I had a coworker who had a diamond stud in her nostril piercing for some months before I noticed it, and according to her it often went unnoticed. Admittedly, I am not the world champion of eye contact, but then again a diamond stud is not the most subtle option available either.

    1. Lindsay J*

      My parents did not notice my nose ring for a few weeks when I got it. I also did wear it at one job where it was forbidden (with my manager’s pseudo-blessing – she didn’t care, but told me that if HR or anyone higher than her mentioned it that she was going to say she had never noticed it and wasn’t going to go to bat for it) and nobody else ever did mention it.

    2. Natalie*

      I have a bridge piercing (along the bridge of my nose for anyone unfamiliar) and *multiple* people have failed to notice it for years. A well chosen, well sized piercing works with someone’s face, just like makeup or any other adornment, and shouldn’t scream LOOK AT MY NOSE!!!

    3. Calibrachoa*

      My next door neighbor took 18 months to notice my lip ring and most people take ages to notice the dermal on my cheek :D

      1. AG*

        Trust me, they notice, they are probably just too grossed out to say anything. I am not against piercings, but that kind of piercing gives me the creeps.

        1. Jamie*

          I’m not saying everyone is grossed out, but for the people saying that others don’t notice…how do you know they just aren’t commenting? I agree if it’s parents they would probably say something if they noticed, but for co-workers if they aren’t your manager and it’s not against policy (and even if it is) they may not say anything.

          I notice them when I see them, but I don’t comment.

          1. A Bug!*

            Yeah, same here. Be pierced or be not pierced, whatever. If you’re keeping them clean so I can’t smell them and your jewelry doesn’t depict offensive symbols, it’s really no different to me than your hairstyle or any other accessory you’re wearing.

            I’ll comment if there’s something particularly appealing to me about them but otherwise it’d be like saying “Oh, I see you’re wearing a watch today. My cousin wears a watch. Well, see you around!”

          2. Natalie*

            In my case, more than one person has exclaimed “when did you get that piercing?” and then doubted me when I responded that I’d had it for years.

          3. Calibrachoa*

            Generally because after several months they go “oh is that new?” at some point and I go “urrr no I’ve had it since 20xx”

        2. some1*

          FWIW, people who are “grossed out” by piercings, obesity, revealing clothing, odd hair colors/styles, shaved heads, etc. usually give an involuntary reaction that they “notice” even if they don’t say anything.

          Just because someone with a lip piercing didn’t react to your reactrion, doesn’t mean s/he didn’t notice it.

  9. Chocolate Teapot*

    For question 6, it can be difficult to maintain a balance between politeness and not giving out information. (I ran into this at a networking event the other week).

  10. mooseknuckle*

    But why is a nose piercing offensive and against dress code norms when tattoos aren’t?

    I’ve worked in retail, nonprofits, call centers and gyms….in all the jobs 99% of my coworkers had visible tattoos on every visible part of the body (hands feet arms neck tramp stamp etc). I wear a tiny beaded stud on my nostril….my retail job wanted me to take it out even though everyone else had clearly visible tattoos….I felt it was completely unfair.

    1. fposte*

      Why are they necessarily the same, though? You can take a stud out for the day, after all.

      Some workplaces will forbid them both; some will allow one and not the other. It’s a workplace culture call, just like any aspect of dress code. I personally don’t care, but it’s like any dress code choice–there’s no prerogative to insist they let you choose to appear how you want.

    2. Chinook*

      Tattoos are permanent and won’t fall out accidentally (and if one did, you have bigger issues). Piercings can get infected even after they heal and could fall out (I know I have lost the odd earring when I had the wrong backing), both of which become potential safety hazards, epseically in food service. also, they can be removed or made less inconspicuous.

      As for tatoos, they also can be covered (even facial ones with makeup) and both DH and I have no problem with being asked to do so. In fact, DH’s are noticeable even with long sleeves and has affected him when it comes to job assignments even in the military (he was turned down to stand honour guard at a funeral because it was being televised and they didn’t want visible tattoos. The irony is that the vet being honoured probably had a few tattoos himself). We realize we made a choice to do this and that we run the risk of being judged as “tattooed freaks” rather than on our character and work ethic.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      For food service, it’s generally because there’s a perception that you might touch the piercing during your shift (to adjust it, etc.) and you are not supposed to touch your face while handing food. And the whole it-might-fall-out-and-land-in-someone’s-sandwich thing. I’ve worked in food places where we weren’t allowed to wear ANY jewelry.

  11. OP #7*

    OP #7 here!

    Thanks for the advice. I’ll try to treat it like I’m consulting – it’s tough, because I’m still only a few years into the workforce, and looking to transition into a more strategic role. So I’m trying to frame my skills in a way that will help their organisation, but it’s very hard when you’re blindly guessing what they might need!
    The other manager I’m meeting with is the same level as my original interviewer (sales manager), so they do very similar things within the company.
    The meeting is tomorrow, so I’ll report back how I go! Cheers.

    1. LisaLyn*

      Please do report back and good luck! Even though you don’t know exactly what they need, most organizations need people who can get things done, are organized, and can be part of a team. Get some examples of projects you’ve completed ready!

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Keep in mind that you don’t need to try to frame anything — be direct and candid about who you are and what you have to offer, and let it come out naturally if it’s a fit or not. You don’t want a job that isn’t a natural fit, so there’s no need to try to guess what they want.

  12. Marmite*

    Regarding the teachers and FB, it sounds to me like the OP is concerned about either her child finding out what’s been said about him (unlikely if he’s not even old enough to have started school yet), or that other people will find out what teacher’s have said about her child. The latter is also extremely unlikely because his full name would need to be included for people to even stand a chance of Googling him and these comments showing up.

    Personally, I have lots of teacher friends on FB and have posted the odd status about something funny a kid I’m working with has done (I’m not a teacher but do work with large groups of kids). I don’t name them and I don’t post anything other than large group photos (no individual or small group shots) and I don’t tag anything with a location. This seems to be what most of my teacher friends do too (some of them are less rigid on which photos they post) and I honestly can’t see what harm any of us are doing.

    FWIW, I have a child, attending nursery school, I assume his teachers sometimes post on FB or Twitter about the ridiculous things he and his classmates get up to, and I’m fine with that.

    1. OliviaNOPE*

      I agree. Even if it’s not on social media, your kid’s teachers are definitely talking about him/her to someone. My husband is a teacher and he tells me stories about his kids on a daily basis.

      1. Jennifer*

        I’m a public librarian (youth services) we have signs on both our program rooms saying pictures will be taken and I’ve only had one parent ask to have her kids left out (she’s um…not a friendly person so…yeah). People, especially kids, love to see their photos up on our facebook page. One of my most popular posts was pulling out old photos from five years ago and the kids and parents id’d themselves. I never add more than first names to photos we post. I do tell crazy stories, but again without names. Seriously, most kid stories are just funny – like when I was asking the four year olds what they would do in kindergarten
        4 year old boy “I’m going to grow a mustache!”
        4 year old girl, giving him a disgusted look “well, I’m not!”

        1. Chinook*

          There are legit reasons for not having your child’s picture posted, though. The biggest one I ran into as a teacher was a custody issue where the custodial parent left an abusive spouse and was granted full custody of the child. They did not want to be found by the abusive ex so would make sure the school knew that their child’s name and school were never to be published (this was early internet). We as teachers knew this was an issue in the school even if we didn’t know the child’s name (her specific teacher had more details).

          1. Marmite*

            Yes, there are legit reasons, children in care is a common one, religious reasons another. However, we are made aware of this at the beginning of any program as parents/carers are given the option to have their children left out of group photos that will be posted online (when that is the case we take two shots of each group photo, with the second leaving out kids who’s parents take that option). It’s the first shot that I would post if I posted anything. Teachers would similarly know if there were issues like this in their classroom.

  13. Carrie in Scotland*

    #5 – this comes up at work sometimes.

    The truth is, we are now living in a modern technological world where lots of out lives are played out online. Obviously there are unfortunately people who are…unsavoury characters, shall we say? The trick is to know the balance. Parents of childminders, for example, often join a facebook group/page where the information about their child is shared instead of diaries or workbooks which can take time – fb is more instant and you can learn alot about your child that way. the group is closed/private to parents only.
    But it is ultimately up to you what you decide. But as AAM says, you might well be labelled as “one of those parents”

  14. OP #5*

    Thanks so much AAM for answering my question!! I agree- I probably would come across as too controlling for trying to bring this up with a teacher.

    I suppose I was more curious about whether or not this was considered appropriate in general, from a social media policy perspective (hence why I thought to ask AAM). Because I don’t really see friends of mine who are lawyers posing about clients, doctors/nurses posting about patients, sales/retail folks posting about customers, etc, it struck me as odd that it was acceptable for teachers to talk about students (minors) that way, especially when it could be taken as making fun of a kid’s wrong answer.

    I’m still new to the whole social media thing, and there are times it feels like a conversation between friends, but there are also times it feels like the rest of the internet, complete with complete strangers anxious to judge people they don’t know. And we’ve all heard horror stories of someone posting something that they thought was “private,” but the word got out anyway.

    1. Bwmn*

      Legally speaking – lawyers and anyone working in the healthcare industry are not permitted to discuss anything regarding their clients/patients (without signed expressed permission). This has nothing to do with professional standards or practices – but is US law. Now, there are many lawyers/health care professionals who have ways to “vent” about patients/clients at work – but doing it online and with a written record would be very wreckless and pose significant legal risk.

      I’m sure there are schools that have some kind of written policy regarding student information and social media. I’m sure there are schools that have no policy beyond their standard policy regarding student information. Particularly given different standards that apply to different state school systems, private schools, etc.

      1. OP #5*

        Yeah, I suppose ideally I’d like to see schools develop some sort of similar policy. For what it’s worth, I DO think teachers are unfairly targeted in the school personnel social media policies that I have come across, as they pertain to what a teacher can post about him/herself (when it comes to things like vacation pics involving bathing suits or cocktails). So I’m not trying to single teachers out as a professionals in need of additional restrictions, I’m really just talking about applying the same standards for professionals across the board- regarding posts about clients/patients/customers. Meaning, I would be ok with a HIPPA-like policy that protected students. From what I can tell, FERPA doesn’t go quite as far.

      2. Anonymous*

        The health care aspect is US law, but the prohibition against attorneys violating client confidentiality is a matter of professional responsibility and adherence to the ethical standards of the profession. Violating it would result in sanctions by the disciplinary committee of the bar association or state supreme court.

        I would also point out that this does not prevent any disclosure of information (we have to file motions, argue the case, etc.) but only confidential information. There is no requirement that permission to share information be written or signed, although I agree that it would be a good defensive practice. It is critical to HIPAA compliance however.

        We are also, as attorneys, responsible for properly supervising non-attorneys in our employ – so that the receptionist knows she should not be running out to tell all her friends which celebrity came in to the office that day.

      3. KellyK*

        I thought HIPAA only related to identifiable information about a patient that can be related back to them. Does it actually prohibit, say, a pediatric nurse from mentioning that a kid puked all over her or a phlebotomist relating a funny conversation with a patient who teasingly called him a vampire?

        1. Ariancita*

          Yes, correct. I was about to post this. HIPAA only pertains to identifiable patient information (though that can mean more than just name/ can also mean that a reasonable person could not deduce the patient’s identity). You can talk about unidentifiable information all you want…if you couldn’t, we’d have huge problems with publishing research.

      4. fposte*

        Neither attorney-client privilege nor HIPAA mean you can never report on anything your client/patient does anywhere, though. HIPAA even provides de-identification standards that make sharing info okay if they’re met. Hence the thriving blogosphere of medical personnel talking about their patients online, which is perfectly legal if they do it correctly.

        Now to be fair, the HIPAA de-identification standards include removing any indication of geographic identifiers smaller than a state, and a teacher whose school is identifiable would be posting more identifiably than that, so it wouldn’t meet the standard if the school was identifiable. But the notion that lawyers and doctors can’t vent about clients and patients openly online is mistaken.

        1. Ariancita*

          Correct. So implementing a HIPAA like restriction for schools wouldn’t prevent what the OP would like prevented, but it would also create really difficult restrictions (like how to store student grade books, etc) and burden the teachers with yearly trainings, etc and IT with regulating/managing computer systems teachers use for grading and other identifiable student information. Talk about a can of worms! And for what purpose?

          I think the issue here is more emotional. Since it’s clear that the child’s identity would not be associated with the posting, it sounds to me more like the parent would feel a general umbrage at the idea that some stranger may be having a chuckle at the parent’s perceived expense of her/his child. (Perceived because it’s not really at the expense when it’s not identifiable.) That’s fair enough, but that’s a different issue.

          1. fposte*

            Actually, if the teacher posts under her own name or with the school identified, that would make reports on her students TMI for HIPAA. But as you say, it would come with a bunch of other baggage.

            1. Ariancita*

              HIPAA is all about identifiable information. As I posted up thread, if the identity could be deduced, yes, you are correct. If it could not, then it wouldn’t matter.

              But yes, there are all sorts of other inconveniences that would happen if HIPAA-like restrictions were put into play–things that make day-to-day work very hard, particularly for a teacher who may bring student papers, projects, etc home to grade.

    2. Bonnie*

      I think part of the answer might be the subject matter. Many teachers are posting things they find cute or funny or think that other people will. I’m guessing there are not too many discussions with your lawyer or your doctor that fall in that same category.

    3. Calibrachoa*

      Just google “Not always right” and “Things I learned form my patients”…

    4. Brett*

      One thing many parents are not aware of is that the personal use of social media issue is very touchy in most public school districts. While my wife was a public school teacher, the district tried several times to implement a policy barring teachers from using social media.

      Read that again. That is not “barring teachers from using social media on the job”. They wanted teachers to sign away their ability to use Facebook, twitter, etc. at any time. The district also pushed for a ban on teachers maintaining even an anonymous blog or any webpage not on school servers. Principals routinely asked teachers to turn over the passwords for the social media accounts they did have (at the time, the state had a law requiring teachers to turn over their passwords on demand).

      This eventually came to a head in our state in 2011 when the legislature passed a law banning teachers from using any online resource which allows private communication. This included private webmail accounts such as yahoo or gmail. Everything a teacher did online in their personal time had to be open and available to their school administrators. Several states have similar laws banning social media communication with students, including open accounts (all teacher accounts must be private), but our state was the first to go so far as banning teachers from websites just with the capability of communicating privately with students.

      This is not necessarily the situation in your state, but it is the situation in many states and so you can be walking into a minefield to make such requests of your child’s teacher.

      1. OP #5*

        Yeah, that’s pretty rediculous. And I mentioned elsewhere that I do think teachers are unfairly targeted in a lot of social media policies. What I’m advocating here is providing the same level of privacy to students that other professionals are required to provide to their customers/clients/patients. I think a teacher should be free to post anything they like about themselves, their political views, their religion, their weekend- whatever- it’s the personal sphere. Which is partly why I think, ideally, students should be kept out of it.

        And I won’t make the request. Anyone who agrees with me (few as that number may be!) would be offended that I suggested they might do such a thing, and anyone who doesn’t agree would be offended that I’d try to change their habits. Which I understand. So it’s a lose-lose. I’ll just accept I’m an old lady with some pretty old-fashioned ideas about the internet, and it’s time to move on.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I don’t think it’s about being offended that you’d try to change their habits, exactly. It’s more about thinking it’s an overreaction — the kind of thing that would get an eye roll, not offense-taking.

        2. fposte*

          Keep in mind, though, that the standard you think exists for other professionals doesn’t–as noted upthread, plenty of bloggers post stories about their patients/clients/etc., just making sure there’s no identifying information. The situation you’re considering isn’t an outlier.

        3. Elizabeth West*

          Your concern is understandable; many social media sites have shifting privcy settings, and it’s true that even responsible people slip up sometimes. But your child’s school should have some type of policy about this. It might ease your mind to simply ask about it.

          I don’t think that’s helicoptering at all.

        1. De Minimis*

          Think it may have been Missouri…I vaguely remember that in the news when it happened.

        2. Anonymous*

          New Hampshire? Texas? I’m trying to think of other states that are known for having insane legislatures.

          I wonder if they also banned teachers from using Blackboard…

        3. Brett*

          Yes, Missouri. The law was repealed, but in a manner that still left the door open for individual districts to implement the policies formerly mandated by the law (and principals still have the legal power to require teachers to turn over social media passwords).

          Missouri is a very strange state for public employee collective bargaining. It was illegal until relatively recently. School employees (including administrators) can bargain as a unit, but cannot unionize or strike in most cases. As a result, teachers are normally in a weak position during contract negotiations and districts can pursue policies like this. My wife’s former district once pushed for a policy banning teachers from establishments with liquor licenses!

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Missouri is weird overall. It’s so tight-assed, but it has one of the highest meth use rates in the country. I sometimes wonder if the legislators aren’t using it too.

            *Disclaimer: grew up here

      2. Chinook*

        Holy cow!!! I understand the need for teachers to be discreet in public, but my employer will gain access or deny me permission to use my own private email account on yahoo over my dead body! What is next? Insisting on my personal mail only being received at the school? No personal cellphones?

        I don’t know what the licensing process is like in the US, but my provincial licenses require me to live up to certain professional and ethical standards and this should be enough to presume I will act appropriately without needing to monitor my every move.

    5. fposte*

      To be honest, OP #5, I think they shouldn’t post like that myself unless they’re deeply anonymized. If they’re identifiable, their comments are likely to be found by the school’s kids and parents, and I think that really does endanger the relationship. But I don’t think I’d raise it with them, because that’s a personal call to me rather than a policy.

    6. Anonymous*

      “it struck me as odd that it was acceptable for teachers to talk about students (minors) that way, especially when it could be taken as making fun of a kid’s wrong answer.”

      I think most districts would not find it acceptable for teachers to mock students; then again the line is very fine…

      1. Marmite*

        I don’t think it would be seen as mocking by most people. The kind of the thing the OP is referring to (I think) is more along the lines of the stuff that Kids Say the Darndest Things is made of, not pointing and laughing at the stupid kid. The funny exam website is an example of the type of kid’s “wrong” answers that teachers might find funny enough to share. I haven’t looked at all of them, but the ones I’ve seen aren’t mocking anyone.

    7. Lindsay J*

      All of these things do happen though, pretty regularly. If you Google “Not Always Right” the first link will have tons of retail stories, and there are forums on Reddit and entire blogs, Livejournal communities, and Tumblrs dedicated to posts about customers, bad tech support experiences, and pharmacists and doctors posting anecdotes.

  15. RB*

    #3 ohgodohgod this is a horrible show. I watched one episode and about half of another. These already dysfunctional workplaces make it 10 times worse by airing their dirty laundry. Most of the management is bad, the employees offer little insight aside from “I don’t like her/I don’t know what he does all day” and rarely have the big picture.

    I can’t imagine that any of these companies are better off by being on that show.

  16. Erin*

    One thing to add as a teacher about post #5: If I got that request from a parent, not only would they be seen as “difficult” in my mind, but I would also be a little insulted at the assumption that I lack professionalism and integrity.

    1. Mike C.*

      As a teacher, you should fully understand why a parent would not want a child’s image published. Ever heard of a family trying to keep a low profile to avoid the attention of spouses under a protective order?

      1. Bwmn*

        I think we’re getting to a day when talking to a teacher in the sense of “you, teacher, I want to make sure aren’t posting images” just isn’t enough. Parents at birthday parties, sporting matches and school events may easily take and post pictures on Facebook without ever thinking to ask. Let alone the fact that school aged children get their own camera phones/Facebook pages at many different ages not always automatically known to a parent.

        I understand that many different parents have different ideas of privacy and protecting their children for all different reasons – but just going after the teacher in this sense really won’t provide that much privacy and just serve to alienate a teacher.

        1. Mike C.*

          Who said that in this situation only a teacher is targeted? And what do parents who want to control everything have to do with parents who are trying to avoid the attention of an abusive spouse or partner?

          I get that this isn’t the aim of the OP, but there are very good reasons out there for a parent not to want their kid on the school website and those reasons should be understood and respected.

          1. Bwmn*

            I understand the type of situation that you are alluding to – however, in cases where that is a real concern, a far more comprehensive tactic needs to be taken. Not just speaking to the classroom teacher.

            Keeping mention of a child off of a school website/social media would be achievable and entirely understandable – but dealt with at the administrative level. And none of this would do anything regarding the photos taken by peers/parents and posted to Facebook, Instagram, etc.

            1. Mike C.*

              This is silly. Contacting the teacher is just one way to get teh ball rolling. If further actions can be taken, I’m sure a teacher will direct the parent to an administrator or will do so on their own.

              Most parents have much better rapport with their kids’ teachers than with administrative officials and when the issue is my former partner is trying to find us and do us harm you tend to look for someone you know to talk with.

              1. Chinook*

                But if the issue is that yoru formaer partner is trying to do harm, then the administration does need to be brought in to the picture because then the office needs to know that the noncustodial parent is not allowed to pick the child up or ask for details about the child at the school. Even someone asking if Junior made it to class on time today could be dangerous as it verifies that that child actually attends that school and presumably lives in that area. Schools are used to dealing with this and have policies and procedures in place for these exact situations.

          2. Jamie*

            I agree with Mike C – there may be very good reasons for a parent not to want pictures of their kids published. And just because you can’t control everything (other kids with phones, friends, etc.) doesn’t mean you shouldn’t control what you can. I expect a school to be more judicious about their postings than an 11 year old with a smart phone.

          3. Lindsay J*

            Yeah, I’m totally okay with teachers posting anecdotes without identifying information, however posting pictures, first and last names, etc is not cool.

      2. A Teacher*

        But the question wasn’t about an image, just an anonymous anecdote. I am a teacher and the few times I have mentioned students on social media I have typically changed the age and/or gender of the student or combined a few interactions into one anecdote.

      3. LV*

        But OP #5 wasn’t talking about pictures of their child – they were talking about anecdotes involving their child in which the child was not identified.

        1. Jamie*

          I won’t belabor this – just I just wanted to make a point about why this can be harmful.

          You cannot control 100% who has access to anything you post on the internet – so the postings by the teachers could come to the attention of the students.

          A teacher posts an anecdote about some darndest thing a kid said in class. Oh look how cute, they said something funny thinking it was true because they don’t know any better. If that is seen by the kids the kid who said it knows it was them – and if it was aloud so does his/her classmates.

          For some kids, and I’m speaking as a mom of someone who struggled with severe and pervasive learning disabilities, that would be devastating. For some kids school is hard enough and “feeling dumb” is something they fight every single day – to see on the internet that the teacher thought something incorrect that they said was mock-worthy enough to post…the damage that can be done to a kid can be irreparable at least with that teacher.

          We’ve read on here and elsewhere that we need to be mindful of what we put on the net under our name because that’s our reputation and once it’s out there it’s forever and we cannot control who sees it. Facebook security settings aren’t foolproof.

          And yes 99% of the stuff posted may not be seen and may be harmless even if it was – but the examples given in Josh S’s post above…if that were my son who was confused on the number of states and it was posted by a trusted teacher and he saw it? It would have been devastating.

          Not all kids have solid self esteem strong enough to take the hits if they and other kids find out the teacher has been (what is perceived as) mocking their ignorance online.

          If you have even a 1% chance of harming a child why would you do it? I really don’t think your pleasure in entertaining people in your online circle with an anecdote should over ride the needs of a child not to be held up for public ridicule should it be discovered.

          Clearly this is a touchy subject for me – but I’ve seen the pain every single day of a kid who worked really hard to hold onto self esteem in school and if a teacher had betrayed what to me is a pretty significant trust it would have been a very big deal.

          1. OP #5*

            This, exactly. You NEVER know where something you post on the internet is going to end up. Someone’s fb friend could do a screen cap of the post, blot out the names & faces (maybe), and then submit it to some tumblr that likes to poke fun at “kids these days” or whatever. And you never know when something like that will go viral. Unlikely, I know, but it does happen.

            Really, it’s not the teacher’s (hypothetical) post in and of itself I’m worried about. I do not believe a teacher would ever intentionally post something that would hurt a kid! It’s really all the other internet randos out there that now have the opportunity to post their opinion on a child- in writing, on the internet, where it could end up anywhere.

            1. Marmite*

              I do understand this concern and it’s one of the reasons I wish parents of teenagers would talk to them about what they post on their own social media pages. Some of the things I see posted by teenagers I’ve worked with make me cringe and hope a university admissions officer or future employee is never going to find them.

              At the age your son is now, though, it is unlikely that he is going to see anything posted about him online unless you let him have extremely free reign of the computer (which it seems you are too sensible to do)! I also think without any identifying information if a random teacher’s comment on something funny a kid in her class did went viral it would be extremely difficult for anyone (yourself included) to know it was about your child.

          2. tcookson*

            This exactly.

            It’s a touchy subject for me, too. My son hasn’t had any learning disabilities, but he is very self-conscious and sensitive. He frequently struggles with his self-esteem and is genuinely hurt by other people’s unkind remarks.
            He worries about “being dumb” because his sister is in advanced classes and he isn’t; he worries that he isn’t good enough because the other boys are athletic and he isn’t; he got his feeling hurt one time when he overheard my SIL asking me if he’s a “momma’s boy” because he wanted to be near me on a family walk.

            School is a very hard place for him to hold onto his self esteem, and I look to his teachers to be of some assistance, or at least not to contribute anything to the problem. If he thought his teacher was saying unkind things about him, he would be devastated.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              *hugs son* You don’t say how old your son is. I hope he finds his niche soon–that helps a LOT. If he can get really interested in something, especially if other kids are into it too, then it’s like a built-in social acceptance deal, even if it’s mostly within the group. It really helped me to carve out an identity for myself that I was proud of (drama / book / writer nerd).

              1. tcookson*

                Thanks, Elizabeth West. He’s 12, and he does have a group of friends that he hangs out with. He’s in Boy Scouts, and a lot of those boys are similar to him: not really interested in sports, more interested in science, Minecraft, and acting silly. He does better one-on-one with just a couple of good friends around than he does in a group; he tends to pull back in a group and feel self-conscious and not interact. He probably gets that from both his parents — we’re a couple of introverts, too!

          3. Marmite*

            This is a great point, Jamie, and I’m sorry your son had such a hard time at school, I hope he had supportive teachers to help him along. I am just curious to know what feedback you got from teachers if you brought this up with them?

            I wonder whether it would be viewed as overprotective, even if backed by specific worries as in your case?

            1. Jamie*

              Thanks – it never came up for him, but if it had I’d have immediately requested a meeting with the school – but then I’ve never worried about whether or not teachers thought I was difficult. I was an involved parent, but if I felt my kids were being hurt or not getting due process I was a PHPITA (potential humongous pain in the ass – Tm Dave Barry)

              FTR most of the teachers all my kids have had have been amazing and I made sure when I sent letters of thanks that their bosses were cced on it and I made sure tptb knew who I thought was exceptional.

              If you are doing what you feel is right when advocating for your chld it doesn’t really matter how other people view that. There are as many ways of raising kids as their are kids – no ne is perfect and walking the overprotective line can be a tough judgement call sometimes. But if you make the decisions with love and logic you won’t veer too far off course.

              1. Kerr*

                +1, Jamie. I heartily agree with both of your comments! There are good things about social media, but there’s also an enormous opportunity for real harm to be done, not by malice, but by thoughtlessness. It’s not being a “helicopter parent” or paranoid to be concerned about these things. And as long as the parent in question takes a good look at what they’re doing and why, and decides that it is, in fact, reasonable…well, who cares if some people consider you “that parent”?

                I agree that it would be a good idea to ask if there’s a policy. If the school has no policy, the OP may consider actively supporting the creation of one.

      4. Erin*

        I’m not sure why you’re bringing up posting pictures here. As I understand it, the OP’s concern was primarily about teachers posting funny anecdotes, and that is what I was speaking to. As a professional adult, I of course would never post pictures of students on social media, or post about them with identifying information. I wouldn’t even want to post something making fun of a specific quote or answer, because laughing at a student is in poor taste. If a parent proactively demanded that I refrain from those things, I would be a little offended, because the implication is that I am NOT a professional adult who knows better.

        I’m confused about why you are taking, to my eyes, a confrontational tone in response to my post.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Erin, I think pictures got mentioned earlier and it got mixed in with what everyone else was talking about.

      5. Chinook*

        But, as a teacher, I would hope to be informed that someone trying to avoid the attention of a spouse or under protective order would atleast give me a heads up as this information would affect my job in more ways than just what I would let be known publicly. As a teacher, I am in parental loci (have the right of a parent) while the child is in my custody and would need to know if there is a specific threat to be aware of, whether it is to keep the child safe or because this may be affecting the child’s behaviour in general.

      6. Marmite*

        The OP isn’t concerned about photos though, she’s concerned about a teacher’s status updates or comments referencing a child anonymously. That’s not on the same level as having your child’s photo posted without your permission.

        1. Anonymous*

          The thing is, what you think of an anonymized and what I can figure out as a reader are probably closer than most folks would think. Kids are smart and they have a lot of free time to figure this sort of thing out.

  17. CollegeAdmin*

    #2: How clear is your dress code policy – is it written anywhere?

    I have no facial piercings, but I have several in my ears, including a 2-point helix spiral and a daith ring. I went through 2 rounds of interviews and was hired at a retail position. I showed up for training and was told that you could not have more than one earring in each ear while working. I had worn my hair down during the interview – not to cover them, but because my hair was at the time too short to pull back. If this was such a crucial part of their dress code, why would they not mention it in their interview process?

    At my new admin job, I still haven’t found anything about a dress code, although I was hired with them seeing my ear piercings. I’m hesitant to get a visible tattoo or (if I was interested in one) a facial piercing, because I don’t know if that would be allowed. A clearly defined/published dress code would really be beneficial.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      You should just ask. You don’t need to speculate — just ask. And in the future, you can ask when accepting an offer what their policy is on piercings and tattoos. Seriously, it’s far better to ask than to wonder or be annoyed later.

  18. Calibrachoa*

    #2 – Why is it that piercings are seen as unprofessional? It seems to be that the only answer I keep seeing is “they just are” with no one able or willing to articulate what precisely is it that is seen as so wrong .

    I personally suspect it is because of the fact that so many people “higher up” are in the age group who first saw piercings, tattoos and wild hair in the original punk era and thus the idea that this is counterculture, danger to society, etc, has permuted it’s way down. Piercings are a way of sticking it up to The Man, therefore The Man does not abide.

    (I suspect that within the next 20, 30 years this will change. Lets face it, the idea of appropriate professional dress is highly mutable and tied to the mainstream aesthetic….)

    1. the gold digger*

      saw piercings, tattoos and wild hair in the original punk era

      I don’t think of tattoos as punk. I think of them as something on someone who has been in prison.

        1. De Minimis*

          I think it’s more that the person has poor judgment or just doesn’t care. These days I’d say the stereotype is more of a Jerry Springer/reality show type of person, not necessarily that they’re some kind of ex-con.

          Of course, if I see a neck tattoo with really sketchy looking ink, I’m probably going to think prison.

          The thing is, even if the stereotype is illogical a business would be foolish to ignore it if customers don’t like an employee’s facial piercings/tattoos. It’s not their job to break down stereotypes.

      1. Mike C.*

        You don’t get out much. Do you view all brides from India as ex-cons as well?

        *Yes, I know it’s temporary, but it’s still tattoo like designs on the skin.

        1. De Minimis*

          I don’t really see any brides from India where I live. If I did, I doubt I would view them that way.

          1. De Minimis*

            But not every place is that diverse.

            Even in my example from my retail job, what was acceptable seemed to vary based on the “norms” of the area. If a store was in San Francisco or Oakland, no one cared about facial piercings…if it was in suburban San Jose, they chose to enforce a stricter dress code.

            In the end, it is up to the business to decide what’s allowed and what isn’t, and it’s up to the employee if that’s a deal-breaker or not.

            My mom works part-time and thought it was ridiculous that her boss turned down a applicant who was well-qualified because she didn’t like her purple hair [this was to work at a library.] I thought it was silly too, but it was a small-town library…although given that employee theft has been a problem I’d say the boss may not be the best judge of character these days anyway [other than hiring my mom, of course!]

        1. Chinook*

          My Eeyore tattoo is very sad – he has never been in prison nor gotten a ticket. In fact, he often follows me to read at church and his only offense has been causing my nephews to ask why they can’t draw on themselves like Auntie did.

          1. Jamie*

            That’s so cute. :)

            When my youngest was 4 I fell asleep while he was napping. I woke up covered in pirate themed “tattoos” all over my legs. It was his pirate phase – and while not permanent sharpie isn’t exactly easily washable either.

            So good thing your little ones aren’t drawing on auntie to give Eeyore some pals.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I have tats myself. They’re not where you can see them unless I’m sleeveless. So many people have them now it’s no big deal anymore, kind of like the whole men-wearing-earrings thing. I can remember when people just lost their minds over that, and now no one even notices.

        Fashions and perceptions change.

    2. fposte*

      Appearance codes in general are based on convention rather than logic, so piercings aren’t any different there. There’s no logic that makes somebody with messy greasy hair or wearing flipflops less able to serve a customer either, but workplaces generally aren’t going to approve of those.

      1. Calibrachoa*

        Yeah, but with those two examples there are a lot of reasons one can articulate for why they are seen as unprofessional – e.g. the noise flip-flops make when you walk in them, or the fact that greasy hair can smell.

        1. Natalie*

          Facial hair might be a better example, then – in a lot of industries, even conservative, well-groomed facial hair is not considered office appropriate.

        2. fposte*

          But those aren’t the reasons they’re unprofessional; they’re just things people throw out as irritants to justify a basic convention (nobody says “chunky greasy hair is fine as long as it doesn’t smell”). See also shirtlessness, which makes people talk about hygiene when it has no particular hygiene consequences.

          Social codes aren’t logical. Linguistic rules aren’t logical. Arguing that they should be is fighting the wrong battle, because human behavior is never going to be defined by logic, and if an employee was insistent that it should be, I’d worry about their communication and deportment. I think you can legitimately argue that this particular a social code is falling by the wayside and point to the clients/customers a business serves, if you’re looking to get it changed. But the “It’s not logical” argument is not in itself relevant.

          1. Chinook*

            I agree that social codes aren’t logical and saying that a rule isn’t logical and should be thrown out is taking the wrong tact. If you want to fight the perception, start with a small change and then show that it is irrelevant. That is why so many people are saying that the employee should change to a small stud – it is not immediately noticeable and doesn’t scream “look at me.” Then, when it is noticed, it will be seen as no big deal and help chaneg the perception.

            The same goes with tattoos – if the tattoo is more noticeable than person and their actions, then it will be hard to change the perception towards tatoos. It is why I chose to have ink in a place I can choose to cover or not cover and keep it covered until I am accepted into a group. I would never have expected the conservative, older cowboy I sing with a church as being positive baout my Eeyore tattoo, but he got to know me and then the tatoo came out during the summer and now he comments when poor Eeyore has to hibernate for the winter.

            Change comes only when you can prove that the change is really no big deal.

            1. fposte*

              I wouldn’t actually suggest that the employee change to a stud unless she knows it’s okay–otherwise it can be seen as a “screw you” by somebody who hadn’t expected to have to identify every different kind of piercing. But I agree that the change comes when you prove it’s no big deal–I would just use the habits of the customers to make that point.

    3. Yup*

      In my experience, the buttoned-down expectations about appearance are coming from a place of “don’t draw attention to yourself through appearance.”

      I used to work in an uber conservative environment that had rules about men having to be clean shaven and no head hair below collar length, and women not being permitted to wear capri pants or open toes shoes. This was partly dictated by the industry (financial services), which has a tradition of being extremely conservative in style.

      But my general observation was that “professional appearance” actually equated to “neutral” or “quasi-anonymous,” meaning that no one could tell anything about your personality, taste, style, or interests based on your appearance. The idea seemed to be that correct professional behavior was to put on this uniform that masked or smoothed out individuality. Expressing yourself through outward appearance was considered, I don’t know… crass? adolescent? attention-seeking? undisciplined?

      I came across a similar idea in a management book from the 1980s, “What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School” by Mark McCormack, that kind of clarified the attitude for me. I can’t remember the exact quote, but it was something about adversarial negotiations and how you shouldn’t give your opponent any clues about you from your appearance. In other words, protect your advantage by wearing a blue suit, plain tie, etc.

      (I really struggled with this aspect of culture at that job. I have tattoos and love bright colors and big costume jewelry. I felt like a giant squawking parrot in a sea of polite beige.)

      1. Chinook*

        Yup, I think you nailed it. The idea of work expectations is that you as an individual should be anonymous or neutral and your work output is what you should be judged on. What this actually means changes slowly over time (i.e. women wearing pants at work was once seen as rebellious now it is neutral) and is probably most effectively done when the change is subtle.

        1. fposte*

          Maybe, but I think you’re being overly dismissive. For one thing, if this is actually true, it’s useful for you to know, isn’t it? Then you can decide how your appearance can fit into such a context and what you want it to do. For another, it’s a pretty pejorative term for people who dress in a different way from you, when presumably that’s the very behavior you’re objecting to in others.

          Look, we make choices about our appearance. But there’s no right to have those choices be approved of or even accepted by other people, whether it’s wearing jeans or a piercing to work or growing your hair really long or cutting it really short or letting it go gray in an industry where everybody dyes it. If you’re the one hiring, it’s your prerogative to be contemptuous of people in “groupthink uniform” and hire only people who have tattoos and piercings (which doesn’t sound much more individualized to me as a workforce, but it’s an image call). They don’t get to insist that you have to accept their buttondowns and khakis because it’s illogical not to.

          1. Calibrachoa*

            The problem I have with groupthink uniforms and perceived appearances comes less from an individualistic viewpoint than from the fact that these type of perceptions tend have a worse effect on oppressed groups than they do on the privileged.

            I have no problem calling a spade a spade when I see it.

            1. fposte*

              I don’t think it’s any spadier in one direction than another–truth isn’t a special access thing. And neither is groupthink–the whole argument for the growing acceptance of piercings and tattoos is that they *are* a common uniform of youth (and not-so-youth) rather than an expression of rebellion. It sounds like you want them to be accepted as a uniform while still holding them up as a symbol of independence.

    4. JuliB*

      I don’t think professionalism can be defined exactly. It’s more of a feeling people get. Years ago I read Dress for Success. In the introduction, the author explained that he was not making any personal judgments, but rather documenting studies of what looks people tended to trust more than others, or felt comfortable with. (Of course, the critics completely missed the point and harped on the judgmental ‘who are you to decide what is professional or not’ point. Sigh….)

      So given the above, I believe the author would totally agree with you in that it changes over time.

      While I didn’t follow the book to a tee, I did pick up some important pointers that I follow to this day. Mainly – professionalism is something that other people as a consensus decide unthinkingly, rather than an individual and personal decision. In other words, “I think it looks professional” is meaningless in my opinion. Who cares what I think? It’s what the group thinks.

      We have limited information at the time of first impressions, and these impressions can be hard to change.

      So, if I have a lawyer dressing in pink short sleeved suits, I would probably pick one dressed in darker more professional colors if I they were both standing next to each other. If I was hiring an interior designer, I would feel the pink suited woman would be more in tune with her profession.

      I work in consulting (corporate finance) so I get to see a lot of workplace styles across the country, so it’s very interesting.

  19. Rin*

    #1 – I once rented a house from my boss. I never had a problem, since I paid on time, and the house was in good condition. It was almost a company house, now that I think about it, because people in other departments and my own rented it before and after I did.

  20. Mike C.*

    Re OP1:


    I’ve seen this in action, and it’s terrible. In my case the owner of the workplace had all of his H1-B visa holders live in apartments he owned, and it was an incredibly abusive situation.


      1. Mike C.*

        You basically had H1-B holders as research scientists who were required to work tons of overtime (10+ hrs/day, 6-7 days/week) and we constantly being called in after hours. Additionally, these folks were scared to death of being fired for pissing off the owner for fear of immediate deportation.

        It was repulsive and has really shaped my views in many unexpected ways. On the other hand, the potlucks were amazing.

        1. Meg*

          That’s horrible! I know the answer to “Is this legal?” is usually “yes”, but was there any legal recourse for these people?

        2. Lindsay J*

          Yeah, this was common in the amusement business as well. We had H2-Bs and J-1s. They lived in employer provided housing and had part of their paycheck deducted to pay for housing before it even reached their hands. In early and late parts of the season when the parks were not open full-time and they were not making full hours they would often wind up losing money to work for us since their room and board charges wound up being more than what they made.

          I always thought it was awful how some supervisors would terrorize them as well. They were afraid of losing their jobs and being sent home early, and the supervisors knew that and would take advantage of the fact that these people were in a vulnerable position and could not speak up for themselves. They would make their work through their days off, give them the worst/most difficult/most demeaning jobs, and would just generally get off on being threatening or mean to them.

          I had girls come to me crying because their other manager kept them past the time when they were supposed to come to my shift, and then told them that I was going to be mad at them and not let me work for them any more, and that had they worked faster they wouldn’t be in this position.

          Those conditions made me sick to my stomach. I was friends with the housing director and we tried our best to make the experience nice for the workers while they were here (and the company did sponsor free trips for them to be able to see New York, Washington DC, etc) however being only one person in a large organization I could only do so much.

          1. Mike C.*

            I’ve heard similar stories about the amusement park business, and it just makes my skin crawl.

            I wish folks were more aware that there’s more out there than a typical office job, and that lots of good folks end up really being taken advantage of.

            1. fposte*

              I think being really aware of that would require us massively changing our consumer habits in way we’re not prepared to do. And I’m not exempting myself from that statement.

      1. Chinook*

        Yes and no. Temporary workers in Alberta often rent apartments from their employers because a)housing is often hard to come by and b)they don’t know enough about the local economy to really find something else. Most of the time they aren’t required to rent from the employer but it is just more convenient.

        Heck, when I was overseas, I rented an apartment that wasn’t owner by the company but just passed from employee to employee (i.e. if you replaced someone in the job, you also got their apartment). Even if I could have found something cheaper, it was just easier.

  21. Mike C.*

    Re #4:

    You’re not taking advantage for several reasons.

    1. Cards like that are likely subsidized by the local municipality. They want you to use it to keep cars off of the road during peak travel times.

    2. You’re not taking up parking space at your place of employment. Parking is always a limited commodity, so by taking mass transit you’re helping out your employer.

    It’s really a win-win for you, your employer, your coworkers and anyone else driving. Use it guilt free!

    1. Vicki*

      In fact, at my last job (in Silicon Valley, CA), not only did the companies get tax incentives for employees that used transit, the city where I worked did not allow any new parking lots to be added. We also have a number of “Spare The Air” days during the dummer and early Fall when transit is highly encouraged. Please keep using the card!

  22. Cat H*

    #2 – I remember when I was about 18 and I really wanted my nose pierced. It was my call and I didn’t need any parental consent. In the end I decided that although I wanted another piercing, I didn’t want people to judge me just by looking at me.
    In the end, I went for a tongue piercing. Lots of people don’t notice it and I don’t see how it could ever be an issue because I don’t walk around with my tongue out all day. I still have the piercing 8 years later!
    Also, having been with my husband for 7 years, about 3 years ago my mother in law was surprised that I had it! She’d never noticed!

  23. Cruella Da Boss*

    #5 A teacher friend of mine nicknames all of her kindergarteners for just this reason. She can share cute stories without stepping on anyone’s toes. Over the years, she has shared some doozies, but has never disclosed the actual identies of any of her students, even to her closest friends.

  24. Anonicorn*

    #2 – Showing up at work with a nose piercing after 6 years of not doing that seems a little odd to me. (Not that nose piercings themselves are odd, just the situation.)

    1. BCW*

      I don’t get that. I got my first tattoo at the age of 29. I decided I wanted one and got one. Why do you see it as odd that she went out one weekend and decided to do it.

      1. Anonicorn*

        Again, it isn’t that she got one – it’s the fact that after six years of working in the same office that she decided it was acceptable to wear it there, presumably without asking and noticing that nobody else had visible facial piercings.

        Although if it wasn’t explicitly in the dress code then I could see how she would assume it might be OK.

        1. BCW*

          I guess here is the thing, I’m guessing the person that the OP is asking about is a bit younger (less than 35). Well if she works with people who are all older, again I don’t see it as a problem. Just because no one else chooses to have one, doesn’t mean its against the policy. And I don’t really think she would have needed to ask her boss’ permission for something like that.

  25. Lily in NYC*

    Ugh, #5. I’m grumpy today so I’m just going to say this: please get over yourself. You sound destined to be the type of helicopter parent every teacher dreads.

  26. De Minimis*

    I don’t have them anymore, but I used to have piercings back in the 90s and a couple of them were spur of the moment decisions. Piercings favor that way more anyway, since they don’t require nearly as much time/preparation as a tattoo.

    1. Ariancita*

      Or commitment. (You can remove them on a whim, unlike a tattoo.) I also had a number of them back in the day (though none on my face). Eventually removed them all. I don’t even have pierced ears now.

  27. Anonymous*

    I work for a sport-based youth development nonprofit, and we post stories and photos about the juniors we work with all the time- but the kids and their families have signed release forms when they join our organization, and it is clearly indicated that their photos may be used for promotional purposes. We have a social media policy where we do not post anecdotes without permission from the child/parent (so and so played a great game today!), etc. Some of us also have secondary Facebook or Twitter accounts where we post as our work selves but have personal FB accounts that do not mention work. It’s a fine line and it constantly evolves. Frankly, I think you need to respect the wishes of every parent that has a request regarding their child – it may not work for you, but they have the right to spell out what their comfort zone is for their family and protect their child’s rights to the best of their ability. To label them one of “those parents” for doing this is frankly offensive.

    1. TheBurg*


      I’m a preschool teacher and I can see how bringing it up the way the OP mentioned might get you seen as “one of those parents,” but at the same time even if it seems strict or crazy, it’s completely up to the parent if they don’t want their child mentioned on social media. It may be unrealistic to a certain extent, but I can see parents wanting to control this as much as they can. They can’t exactly control the pictures/stories other parents take/tell, but they can talk to their child’s teacher if it’s a big concern to them. I think whether or not I would personally see them as “one of those parents” would have more to do with how the request was handled than what the request is.

  28. Sarah*

    #3 – I’ve seen the show twice now. I didn’t realize what it was the first time, but as soon as I did, I considered nominating my nonprofit! #badmanagement

  29. Kim*

    As an elementary school teacher for 5 years I facebook posted my share of “kids say the darndest things.” (ex: A student playing dreidel during a lesson on multicultural holidays and shouting “please lord Jesus give me a gimel!” and the time a student asked me during our lesson on Whales how the cows were able to hold their breath in the ocean to let the whale babies drink their milk.) It was all in good fun and I had some facebook friends who were colleagues who taught at my school who probably knew who the kids were.

    If a parent approached me asking not to post an anonymous anecdote about their child you’d better believe it would be topic of conversation at our next unofficial happy hour. Finding the humor in a job was one of the only perks in an otherwise difficult job. We had a constant stream of criticism for a task that was near impossible to do. Cut the teachers some slack.

    1. Jamie*

      We had a constant stream of criticism for a task that was near impossible to do.

      Very much like IT in the workplace. If I had a FB page with my real name and I posted amusing anecdotes about the stupid mistakes my users make and how funny it is that people are so ignorant it would be seen as unprofessional because it wouldn’t be hard for anyone who works with me to put a name with the stupid user story.

      And I totally get funny anecdotes being a perk of the job – sometimes it’s the only thing that makes IT worthwhile…I just don’t understand why it needs to be done with a name where you have a finite subset of students.

      1. Ariancita*

        To be fair, IT workers generally make a heck of lot more money than teachers, have fewer restrictions on their personal lives, have their personal lives under less scrutiny, and the stressers don’t even compare. So I wouldn’t make that same comparison.

        Growing up with both parents as teachers, I’ve seen first hand what teachers have to go through on a daily basis, for no money, little recognition, and under tremendous pressure.

        1. Ariancita*

          That is to say, sometimes a little humor truly is all you have as a teacher, when many times one doesn’t know whether to laugh for cry.

      2. KellyK*

        I know people in IT who do post their anecdotes, and it doesn’t strike me as unprofessional. I think it would depend on how many people you work with and how specific or general your anecdotes are. If you work in a company of 35 people and have coworkers friended, there’s a much bigger chance of an anecdote being recognized than if you work in a company of 600.

        I’d apply the same thing to teachers. If you’re telling stories about your honors chem class that has eight kids in it, then you need to be a lot more circumspect than if you mention something that could be any one of your 117 students.

        1. Lindsay J*

          +1. I don’t agree with teachers posting these anecdotes when they have students or parents friended, just like I would probably think less of an IT person or manager who posted anecdotes about coworkers when they had some coworkers friended. In that case it becomes more of a clique-y nasty thing than just exchanging a light-hearted anecdote with some friends as you know that others reading it know exactly who you are referring to, or at least will be sending private messages going “Haha, who said *that*?”

          However, if they don’t, I say they should go nuts, and I have been part of or have seen many friends posting similar on their Facebooks, and have been a part of many forums where they did the same and didn’t think it was unprofessional there.

      3. Anonymous*

        IT is under attack by local, state, and federal institutions and accused of failing the nation’s children while undergoing constant budget reductions, low pay and expected to purchase their own work supplies? Who knew.

        1. Jamie*

          The point was about professionalism and if it’s a good idea to post things which are mocking others under your real name where the people you’re mocking could easily figure out you’re posting about them.

          That was the corollary I was drawing – I didn’t say that teaching and IT are the same profession so I’m not sure why that’s the point your choosing to argue.

          The salary or working conditions of a profession are irrelevant about whether or not it’s a good idea to post about people who could figure out that you’re mocking them.

          1. Ariancita*

            My take on what Anonymous is saying that Kim’s OP was about how humor serves as a release valve in a high stakes, low reward profession like teaching (and many anecdotes aren’t mocking, though I can see how some of them can be seen that way) and you responded to that post with “Very much like IT in the workplace.” Kim’s OP was specifically about the difficulties of the teaching workplace and how humor fit into that. So your response reads generally like a comparison between the two, even if you didn’t mean it that way.

  30. Joey*

    #3. Before you ask her to get rid of the nose run you should ask yourself why its not appropriate? If you think it may impact your customers is that merely speculative or are you basing it on something of substance.

    I’m saying this as someone who has updated dress code policies and come across this exact dilemma. What I’ve found is that customers generally don’t care in most jobs (within reason). Its usually more conservative bosses that have a problem with it. And there are certainly positives to allowing tats and nose rings and other things very conservative people label as alternative. It makes employees happy, it can broaden your customer base, and it makes you look a little more progressive which broadens your applicant pool.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I’m turning purple trying not to laugh out loud in here. That gave me the giggles for some reason.

  31. Chinook*

    #4 – company transit card. I worked for a company in Calgary that offered transit cards as a taxable benefit (which is also a tax deduction worth one month of transit free). It is usually tied to a green initiative on the part of the company as well as a way to not have to offer parking spaces as a perk (parking is incredibly expensive in Calgary). Albertans are notorious for our car usuage partially because there is little public transit outside the major cities and the only options to travel between communities is bus or plane. So, the company offered us transit passes knowing full well that most of us have cars in hope that we would leave them at home. I leaved in a neighbouring town, so I still drove but instead of going all the way downtown, I just drove to transit stop and parked there instead.

    1. anon*

      I hear you, as a fellow Calgarian. My company recently participated in the Commuter Challenge. I would’ve loved to participate, but it would’ve added an hour to my commute to take the bus and that just isn’t worth it for me. It’s a shame our transit system isn’t better, but it’s nice that there are companies that offer transit cards.

      1. Al Lo*

        I loved it when I lived on the BRT line up Centre Street and could take the #4 downtown from 1/2 a block away from my house (and worked in an office tower on Centre Street downtown, so the bus stopped right outside the building) — no transfers, express bus with minimal stops… it was great. I think that’s the only place I’ve ever lived where it was that easy to take transit to work. (On the other hand, it was my least favourite neighbourhood I’ve lived in because it was so suburban — if I could afford it, I’d be living in one of the inner city neighbourhoods and could walk to work downtown anyway!)

        1. anon*

          Oh yeah, the BRT is great. The kicker here is that I actually live downtown, but ended up getting a job up on 16th Ave. At this point, I like the job enough that the negative of the commuting is outweighed, but wow… do I ever miss being able to walk to work. My last job was literally 2 blocks away.

  32. Chinook*

    #1 boss as landlord – My job on a reserve included the “benefit” of a teacherage which meant my employer was my landlord. This was beneficial because there is no other housing available for non-band members but did mean that, if they was issues with the accomodations (say a toilet sitting in my kitchen for 2 months before it was installed in the bathroom or a tub faucet that required pliers to turn the water on – both issues before I moved in), there really wasn’t much I could do (though if I was there now I would know how to install the toilet and fix the faucet). As well, when I left that job for other reasons, I had to leave the teacherage immediately, if not sooner. So, while it is nice to know your landlord, keep in mind that if things go wrong, there is not much you can do without it affecting your job (which is why I turned down another reserve job where the teacherage had a bathroom where the shower was right next to the electrical panel. There were other red flags abotu the job, but this was one of the bigger ones).

  33. Anonymous*

    Re #1, it’s not the best idea in the world for reasons pointed out here, but I rented from one of my bosses years ago and it turned out to be great for both of us. We actually worked better together because we got so close at home (I was renting her guest house and spent a lot of time with her up at the big house).

    I would bring all the cons mentioned here (which are definitely legitimate concerns) up to your friend, but if she decides to go ahead with this, it doesn’t have to end terribly. If she’s in a bad situation like I was, she can’t necessarily afford to wait for a regular rental and has to take the risk that things might get weird with the boss later.

  34. HR DrankTheKool-Aid*

    “Student: “We have next Tuesday off? For what?”
    Me: “It’s Lincoln’s birthday.”
    Student: “Lincoln? What he ever do for us?”

    If this was a HS age student comment then I could see this as “mocking” or taken as example of our poor educations system. However if it’s coming from a grade school student (and my guess it is) major props to that student for opening a great teaching opportunity.

  35. some1*

    Re: Teachers and FB

    I find a lot of the comments on here ironic, as a woman & most of my friends have kids under 10. I have read more stories on FB that would embarrass people’s own child(ren) than from my teacher friends, and way more complaints & criticisms about people’s own kids, too.

    Re: Boss and Landlord

    Don’t do this. My best friend was working for a real estate and property management company in a big tourist area and she and her BF rented a house from her employer and got screwed over.

    Re: Transit card when you have a car

    A lot of people with cars do this where I live and work, just to save on gas & parking (when the company doesn’t pay for parking).

    1. Ariancita*

      I was thinking the same thing about Teachers and FB! Some of the photos and anecdotes my parent friends post about their children are mortifying! Yes, it’s the parent’s choice, but I keep thinking, what is this poor kid going to think when they get older and realized that all of mum’s or dad’s friends, family, coworkers, whomever have seen them failing at potty training, bare bummed, wearing their lunch, etc???

      1. Elizabeth West*

        We survived our parents doing it, but of course the whole Internet didn’t get to see it. Of course, if you have a kid who is a total ham, it might not bother them that much!

        1. Ariancita*

          Maybe I’m the rare lucky one, but my parents never took photos like that of me. :)

  36. ThursdaysGeek*

    Re #5 — there is a lot of discussion above about posting pictures of kids, as well as anecdotes. I work with teens at our church, and after an event where I have a camera, they all ask me to post the pictures. When I do post them (and I do), I don’t tag them, but the teens then go and tag themselves and their friends.

    Does it make a difference if the kids are older, have FB pages of their own, and request the pictures? I try to make them not too identifiable, but if we’re by Multnomah Falls, or someplace like that, location can’t be kept secret, and then they tag and add comments as well.

    A lot of socializing is done via social media, and I’m not sure where the balance between that and safety and privacy should fall. (I do know that if a parent asked me to not post pictures of their kid, I would make sure to honor that request.)

    1. Elizabeth West*

      It seems to be more younger children–teens usually manage their own pages, at least the ones I know from skating, family, etc., and they post a LOT of pictures of themselves. Their parents are presumably watching it. I know my brother does with his kids. They had to friend him or they didn’t get to have a Facebook page. Some of my friends with older kids and the skating kids’ moms do the same thing.

  37. SaraRenee*

    #5) I wouldn’t worry about it unless you notice your child’s specific teacher posting something that you are not comfortable with. I have a friend who is a teacher and she created a Facebook specifically for her class and their parents where she posts updates on projects, “star of the week”, etc… she finds that that kids really enjoy being in the spotlight and the parents are proud to see their child mentioned. However, she tells parents about this up front and participating is totally optional. I would imagine that most experienced teachers would inform parents about this up front and get their permission prior to doing anything.

  38. Rich*

    #1- This is a terrible idea. Any incident between tenant/landlord will become an issue between employee/employer, and vice versa. My father rented an apartment from his boss; when he quit his job, he had already been looking for a new place, but his boss/landlady decided to overstep bounds by calling my mother (my parents were divorced, but stayed good friends; she was my father’s emergency contact) and alleging things that were not in my father’s character. It made life very awkward.

    #2- Some companies have a “no facial piercings” policy, and I’m sure a precedent had to be set first. As an employer, it is within your right and means to issue and enforce that policy. If it’s a recent piercing, though, your employee will insist that it has to be kept in. While this is a fact for new piercings, make sure to stand your ground- it’s their choice between a tiny piece of metal symbolizing “self-expression” and employment which comes with representing your brand (and yes, you have one, no matter how small a business you are).

    #5- As someone in the education field, I can assert the following: teachers are not allowed to post anything with their students names or faces anywhere without parental consent. The laws (at least in NY) do not cover reproducing work in the manner you reference. I admit, I think those posts are great, but I can’t see posting them so publicly. While that is a matter of preference by teacher, technically, there’s an ethical obligation to do the right thing, which would be to abide by the parents’ wishes. I would say you schedule a meeting or a phone call with the teacher and express your concern–it’s valid! If the teacher should scoff or react negatively, though, go to the administration, explain the situation, and go from there.

  39. KellyK*

    #2 – Nose Ring

    If you don’t have a written dress code that would indicate that the nose piercing isn’t allowed, I think the decent thing to do would be to give her the option of either taking it out or covering it with a Band-Aid, at least during the six weeks or so that it’s healing (assuming that it’s a stud that can be hidden, or that if it is an actual ring, it can be switched out).

    While she should’ve checked to see if it was a problem beforehand, I also think that it’s the employer’s responsibility to be up front about appearance standards if they have them. Little subtle piercings are common enough that I would err on the side of spelling it out if you don’t want people to come to work with them.

    I also feel kind of weird about the idea that a grown adult should be asking their employer’s *permission* for a piercing–it seems oddly paternalistic to me. If I wanted to get one, I’d check first, but I’d definitely phrase it more as, “I’m considering getting a piercing and I can’t find any mention of it in policy–is it within the dress code to come to work with a little stud in my [nose/lip/whatever]?” than as “Is it okay if I get my [nose/lip/whatever] pierced?”

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think it’s definitely not about asking permission — it’s more getting information before acting. If you hear it’s not going to be okay, then you know that your decision is between not getting it and keeping your job, or getting it and planning to move on.

      1. KellyK*

        Oh, that’s totally reasonable. It’s definitely information you want before doing something that might put your job at risk.

        I was getting more of a “permission” vibe from some comments, but I may very well have been reading too much into them.

  40. Kimberly*

    I’m a teacher and want to answer #5 from a teacher’s perspective
    1. Teachers should NOT be posting anything about students no matter how disguised on their personal feed. That is violating federal privacy laws. If you ask me if Shamus (never ever had a student named Shamus) is in my class and you are not a staff member or guardian/parent of Shamus – I’m going to tell you I have no idea who Shamus is even if he is standing next to me doing flip flops down the hall.

    2. Many schools now have opt out for internet postings on school/class blogs, school facebook pages, twitter feeds. If you don’t want your child’s work/image to appear on my class blog you have to send a letter stating that. For example my 2nd graders make videos on how to add and subtract 2 digit numbers – and other students from around the world respond. It is a great learning tool. My district considers posting to be a normal school activity. The schools in my district actually have a flat screen in the reception area that shows the most recent twitter posts with that school’s hashtag – showing post of different activities. Every campus also has a facebook page showing different activities and giving out information alike breakfast and lunch menu, field trip information, upcoming events.

    That said I had a student who had security concerns due to parental rights be terminated. So all the videos my kids made that year were stop motion – the kids were never on camera. So this child got to participate without being put in danger.

    1. fposte*

      Are you talking about FERPA, Kimberly? FERPA doesn’t prevent you posting non-identifying stuff about students, like the anecdotes suggested.

  41. Cassie*

    #3: I watched two episodes out of the four that have aired so far. I don’t have a problem with the first of the 2 episodes per company, which introduces the employees, airs “talking heads” about people talking about their coworkers, and shows the salaries for the employees. It’s not much different from what I know my coworkers do (and I admit, I do too).

    Yes, it’s not easy to hear what your coworkers think of you, but personally, I’d rather hear it than assume everyone is one big happy family. Also, as a NYTimes article claims, these employees opted to participate (the first company only showcased 20 employees, but the company has like 60 employees).

    The part that makes me a bit uneasy is the 2nd episode – where the 3 employees who have been nominated to be fired give presentations on why they should not be fired (essentially beg for their job). I haven’t watched these episodes because I don’t think I could stomach it. The upside (if there is one) is that people who have quit or been fired have moved on to other job (based on recaps/reviews of the show I’ve read).

    It’s also unclear (based on the articles out there) if any of the participants were compensated for appearing on the show. (Fox or the production company declined to comment on that). There’s no way I would have ever agreed to be on a reality show, work-related or otherwise, but I guess some people want their 15 minutes of fame.

    1. AgilePhalanges*

      I can’t believe there haven’t been more comments about this on here, but I watched this show for the trainwreck value, and ended up looking some stuff up about it on the web, too. There’s a company who declined to participate who has been interviewed a bit about the recruitment for the show. And yes, the individual employees get to decide whether to participate, but I do wonder whether those who don’t get the filming days off, and of course the outcomes affect them regardless of whether they were part of the show or not.

      As for the people who are fired, it’s my understanding that the show provides a “severance” to them, but I don’t know how much it is. I’m guessing the participants who aren’t fired get at least the minimum based on the number of episodes they appear in, but not sure how much that is, or whether they get any more than that.

      As for the show itself, it’s exactly what you’d expect from a Fox “reality” show–drama, drama, drama. And not very effective at actually solving a workplace’s problems (though it does sound like the two companies features so far have more than their share of problems!). If they truly wanted to help people, the suggestion I saw on TWOP would be far more beneficial–have workers suggest their top three ideas for improvement, instead of the top three people who should be fired, then vote on them instead. But that wouldn’t be as entertaining to viewers, so…

  42. Recent Grad*

    In regards to #5

    I have worked with children, adolescents, and young adults in many different settings and I think the debate boils to personal ethics. I don’t think it is fair to judge a teacher’s professionalism based on her choice to tell a cute story about your child. Especially if that story does not identify them. I also think that this veers into the personal life of the teacher. Your request is essentially putting an unfair demand on a teacher that would not be asked of her in any other position(my personal opinion). I know these are not the OP’s viewpoints, but it is a part of the ongoing debate.

    If you are really concerned you should speak with the school’s principal first. Sit down and explain your concerns. What you think is happening may not be happening at all. The teacher could be talking about children she works with at church. Make sure you get all of the details first or you will sound very accusatory. Also your child’s teacher is not the only one that interacts with them throughout the day. In a lot of districts teachers team teach. Are you willing to contact for example all of the 3rd grade teachers, the cafeteria monitors, the hall monitors, the parent volunteers, the cafeteria staff, the janitorial staff, the music teacher, the P.E. Teacher, etc. If you are then that is fine and your prerogative, but I don’t believe that pursuing a conversation with the teacher should be the end all be all if this is a valid concern. The teacher should not be the only one you hold accountable for your child’s privacy. If it is that serious to you need to bypass the teacher in this situation and go straight to the administration so that the information can be communicated to everyone.

    Also, this request sounds a little strange if your child(I know nothing of your child or his or her learning abilities) is not suffering from any acknowledged social issues or learning disabilities. Are you afraid that your child may misbehave one day and be anonymously called out on it on Facebook? The truth is teachers do discuss bad behaviors in various ways, but once again they are not identified online. If your child misbehaves the teacher doesn’t have to write a facebook post because other teachers will see and hear it as well as other parents, and anyone else that comes into contact with your child when they are misbehaving.

    I am not a parent so I can not tell you how to raise your child, but I work with children often and I would be more concerned with bullying and the actions of the other children in school and how they affect my child. The old saying is true kids are cruel and things that would not be said by an adult will be said by children with no social filters.

    Good Luck

  43. Dee*

    I’m seeing a ton of people in the food service industry (fast food mainly) wearing facial piercings and I hate it. One man I saw had over five piercings in his face. I’m all for freedom of expression but there’s no need for it at work. You’re there to do a job and be paid for it not to show how artistic or cool you are. I’m only in my 20’s and I wouldn’t dream of having the nerve to act like lip tongue and nose piercings are professional enough to wear to work. Especially if I work with food.

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