A Chicago computer teacher at Overton Elementary School showed poor judgment posting photos of student Ukailya Loftonon on her Facebook page, leading to the child being mocked for her hairdo on picture day. Lucinda Williams says her daughter saw a picture of a model wearing Jolly Ranchers at the end of her braids (the candies were attached with elastic bands) in a hair salon magazine and begged her mother to give her the hairstyle. Williams, a hairdresser, agreed but said she'd do it on picture day: March 24, 2011.
Most of Loftonon's teachers complimented her hair at school, so when one of them asked to put her hair over her face and then used her cell phone camera to take pictures from the side and the back, she didn't think much of it. "She took a picture of me and then she said my boyfriend can't believe this," Loftonon told ABC7. "My mama told me she put it on Facebook and then I felt sad."
That night, another parent whose child is the teacher's friend on Facebook let Williams know that the teacher posted the photo and allegedly wrote "right, this is for picture day." The comments on the photo included "if you are going to make your child look ridiculous, the least you can do is have them matching," "yeah, this is foolishness," and "I laughed so hard that my contact popped out." The other parent saved both the photos and the comments onto a CD.
Williams notified the school principal the next day. The teacher apologized and said she took down the photos, but Williams says it's not enough. Her lawyer is preparing a lawsuit against Chicago Public Schools (CPS).
"The principal said this was a good teacher but this was a case of poor judgment," a CPS spokesperson said in a statement. "The district is currently investigating the matter to determine if any policies have been violated. If policies have in fact been violated, the district will move on disciplinary action."
"She never apologized to my daughter," Williams said. "She is still in the school. She wasn't suspended. I mean, it's like nothing happened. She just apologized and that's it. That's not enough."
Earlier this month I wrote an article titled Students suspended, expelled over Facebook posts. It was a slightly different situation, but it's still interesting to read a similar story where the victim and perpetrator have been reversed.