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School Employee Loses Job Over Vulgar Comment Online

First Posted: 03/18/10 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 03:40 PM ET

A school employee lost his job after he posted a one-word vulgarity in the comments section of an online article at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran an article asking readers what was the "craziest thing you've ever eaten" and invited them to submit the oddest foods they've consumed, saying,

How about you? Have you gone out on a limb for a meal? What'd you try? Did you like it? Have you had friends or family who have tried stuff on a dare?

The school employee, who later lost his job, posted an anonymous, one-word comment that referred, in vulgar terms, to a woman's anatomy.

The comment was deleted by administrators, then reposted by the reader.

After it was posted a second time, the administrators didn't just delete the comment, but took it one step further: Kurt Greenbaum, the director of social media at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, found the commenter's IP address and traced it to a local school.


ReadWriteWeb
reports,

Greenbaum contacted the school and made them aware of the situation. In his defense, he probably thought he was simply tattle-telling on a naughty student who would learn a valuable lesson about internet anonymity and would have to sit through a week's detention or something of the like. Instead, he cost a school employee his job.

Using the information provided by Greenbaum -- including the IP address, the time at which the comments were posted, and the Post-Dispatch website's location -- the school was able to identify the computer used to make the post, as well as the commenter who posted the obscene word.

The school employee resigned immediately when confronted by the school's headmaster.

Greenbaum wrote a post about the incident titled, "Post a vulgar comment while you're at work, lose your job."

Numerous readers commented on Greenbaum's post.

The editor quipped to one user (who told Greenbaum, "you guys don't like moderating so you call his work and get him fired"),

@Ghetto: Yeah, you caught me! I made him log on to his computer at work, visit STLtoday.com's Talk of the Day, read the item, type a vulgarity and hit the "submit" key.


Interesting perspective. Thanks for your contribution.

What do you think? Was the commenter in the wrong or did Greenbaum cross the line?




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Filed by Bianca Bosker  |