April 1, 2011 at 1:42 PM ET
Last week, a seven-year-old girl began her day by begging her mom to decorate her hair with Jolly Rancher candies before going to school. She ended her day with the realization that a cellphone photo taken by one of her teachers was posted — and mocked — on Facebook.
The girl in question is a student at Overton Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois. She is described by ABC News as someone who loves math and enjoys dressing up. And when picture day came around last week, she wanted to have Jolly Rancher candies at the ends of her braids because she'd seen a similar hairstyle in a magazine.
Unfortunately instead of winning admirers, her playful style choice was mocked — by a teacher.
According to the girl's mother, a computer teacher found the hairstyle amusing so that she took steps to document it while proclaiming that her "boyfriend can't believe this":
"She told me her teacher told her to put her hair in her face and she took out her cell phone and she took a picture, not knowing she was putting my baby on Facebook and criticize her," said Lucinda Williams, mother.
Williams says she copied some of the comments from the teacher's Facebook page. The teacher allegedly wrote, "right, this is for picture day." Then someone commented,"if you are going to make your child look ridiculous, the least you can do is have them matching." Another wrote,"yeah, this is foolishness." And one added, "I laughed so hard that my contact popped out."
After the mother complained to both the school's principal and the computer teacher, she received an apology. But she doesn't feel that is sufficient:
"She never apologized to my daughter. 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," said Williams.
Williams says the teacher told her that she deleted the page, but the mother would like her to apologize to her daughter.
Williams has hired an attorney and on Friday they are planning a news conference and a lawsuit against [the Chicago Public Schools system] will be filed that same day.
We've previously heard of more than one incident in which a teacher lost his or her job after somehow inappropriately using Facebook, but we wonder if this is less a case of a teacher overstepping boundaries and more a matter of a woman failing to remember what it's like to be a child.
As commenters and writers on women's culture blog Jezebel point out, this kind of immature behavior is not expected from an educator, but unfortunately it does happen quite a bit:
Rosa Golijan writes about tech here and there. She's a bit obsessed with Twitter, loves to be liked on Facebook, and has made far too many questionable fashion decisions to even consider mocking someone else's style.