What is the appropriate level of discipline? - Macleans.ca

What is the appropriate level of discipline?

Posting pictures on Facebook is always hazardous, but can the response go too far?


In November, a Kansas student taking part in a lab for her nursing school posed for a photo with a human placenta. That photo, like so many do, wound up on Facebook. But this photo got the soon-to-be graduate kicked out of school.

“Your demeanor and lack of professional behavior surrounding this event was considered a disruption to the learning environment and did not exemplify the professional behavior that we expect in the nursing program,” Jeanne Walsh, director of nursing at the college, wrote in a letter to Doyle Byrnes and quoted in the article by the Kansas City Star.

It should be no surprise to anyone who posts anything on Facebook these days that bad things can come of it. Posting photos to the Internet offers the vast public curiosity a window on poor decisions and creates a permanent record.

But that the web creates an enormously convenient mechanism to track those who do wrong by ensnaring them in their own ignorance is beyond the point. In this case, it appears that Johnson County Community College is grossly over-reacting.

Four students were kicked out of school for taking photos with the placenta, which did not leave the tray in which it was presented to the students. The photo was on the social networking site for a total of three hours. When a school official told the students that the photo was unacceptable, they took it down immediately.

Byrnes has since closed her Facebook account entirely.

She is now seeking an injunction against the college that would allow her to continue her studies before she is married and moves out of the state this summer.
The school, however, is calling it  “lesson hard learned.” Hard learned, indeed. But in this case, it sounds more like hard taught.

What the four students did was in poor taste. But the lab in which the photos were taken was supervised. They took the photo down as soon as they were told and have apologized profusely. This is hardly an incident worthy of the expulsion of four students, especially considering they complied with the college’s wishes following the posting. The college should be using this case as an example to ensure it doesn’t happen again, and not punishing students excessively for a little harmless fun.

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What is the appropriate level of discipline?

  1. Pingback: Nursing students ousted over placenta photos – msnbc.com – Facebook Is Down

  2. This behavior by the nursing school is precisely why we have cyclical shortages of RN’s, and it reflects the inability of the modern nursing school to emerge from the age-old tradition of humiliating the upcoming generation of RN’s. This tradition is more-accurately called “eating our young,” and it needs to stop.

    I have hope that Ms. Doyle Byrnes will win her lawsuit and see herself reinstated straightaway.

  3. Pingback: Nursing students expelled for Facebook placenta pic – Toronto Sun – Facebook Is Down

  4. While expulsion may be a bit harsh, a suspension would have been the minimum I would have expected to see for such poor taste in judgement. As stated in the original article, these aren’t “giggly teenagers” without a clue of what is/isn’t proper behaviour and I cringe to think what the students would deem “appropriate behaviour” going forward if not reprimanded properly.

  5. They took a photo with a placenta. So what? It’s not like they were playing around with it. It’s not like a placenta is something you wont see in your lifetime. If it was a fetus, then maybe this would be appropriate punishment. It’s unfortunate that 4 people who have dedicated their lives to helping others have had their lives side tracked.

    It’s just a placenta!

  6. Pingback: Students Expelled For Facebook Picture Of Placenta – Babble (blog) – Facebook Is Down

  7. I don’t understand what these nursing students did wrong. It’s not as if they stole the placenta or did something grotesque with it. They took a photo of themselves doing something perfectly legal during their class with the instructor’s knowledge. When the instructor later changed his mind and asked them to remove the photo, it was done immediately. If anything, the school should be the one to apologize profusely to these students. These women should be immediately reinstated and any black mark wiped from their records.

  8. The school has not a let to stand on. There is nothing in the school rules disallowing what was done. They asked and were not told they could not do it. When asked to take the shot down it was promptly done (not all posted pictures)

    I just e-mailed the president of the school and gave him a piece of my mind. YOU CAN TOO!

  9. It is not even in poor taste in my opinion. It looks more like a student showing this is something she is comfortable with and isn’t it fascinating and interesting her eyes ask? People are way too uptight and nursing schools have forever been autocratic and often excessive in punishments. When I was in school an instructor kicked a student out of her class for the quarter for being late one day. She had just been driving behind one of the largest accidents in state history. And she lost that tuition. Now is that just and fair? No. could she fight it? no! she had two years to go and they would eat her alive. this gal is lucky she is almost done! she should go for advanced practice and work with docs and not nurses. sorry to say it but after 20 years that is the only way to see it.

  10. YES!!!!!!!

  11. Just read her injunction was granted. So happy for a logical and rational justice system taking into account that particularly important point about the instructor’s role in the student’s actions. Good luck to all of them.