Teacher Ashley Payne fired for posting picture of herself holding beer on Facebook

Costly: Ashley Payne, 24, posed for this picture while travelling around Europe in the summer of 2009. It was later spotted on her Facebook page

With a pint of beer in one hand and a glass of wine in the other, the worst thing you could accuse Ashley Payne of is mixing her drink.

But this happy holiday picture has cost the high school teacher her job after a parent spotted it on Facebook - and complained.

The picture was taken while travelling around Europe in the summer of 2009.

But Miss Payne, 24, was shocked when she was summoned to the principal's office at Apalachee High School, in Winder, Georgia, and offered an ultimatum.
She told CBS News: 'He just asked me, "Do you have a Facebook page?" 

'And you know, I'm confused as to why I am being asked this, but I said, "Yes",  and he said, "Do you have any pictures of yourself up there with alcohol?"'

He then offered her an option: resign or be suspended.

She chose to resign.

Unacc-sip-table: Miss payne was told to resign or face suspension

Unacc-sip-table: Miss payne was told to resign or face suspension

School officials also took offence to the use of the B-word on the page.

Miss Payne is now in a bitter legal battle with the school to get her job back.

Fighter: Miss Payne is now in a bitter legal battle with Apalachee High School, in Winder, Georgia to get her job back

Fighter: Miss Payne talks to CBS News. She is now in a bitter legal battle with Apalachee High School, in Winder, Georgia to get her job back

Her lawyer, Richard Storrs, said: 'It would be like I went to a restaurant and I saw my daughter's teacher sitting there with her husband having a glass of some kind of liquid.

'You know, is that frowned upon by the school board? Is that illegal? Is that improper? Of course not. It's the same situation in this case.'

The English teacher later found out it was one anonymous emailer who shopped her to the school board after seeing the picture on the social networking site.

But she is baffled how a parent could gain access to her page when she has all her privacy settings on 'high', meaning only her closest friends have permission to see her pictures.

She admits putting the 'offensive' pictures on Facebook but says she now feels as if she had stashed them in a shoebox at home for them to be stolen and showed to the principal.

Court documents reveal that officials warned teachers about 'unacceptable online activities'. They claimed her page 'promoted alcohol use' and 'contained profanity'.

She now wants to clear her name and claim back her job.

She added: 'I just want to be back in the classroom, if not that classroom, a classroom. I want to get back doing what I went to school for, my passion in life.'

By Lena Sullivan 02/07/2011 11:41:00

Subscribe to comments feed Comments(31 posted)

Sameena 02/07/2011 18:53:55
This is ridiculous! This is a problem of the moral-police gone wrong! This seems like the picture you normally find on FB pages, also most of my friends use occasional profanity on their fb pages. nobody with half a brain would judge a teacher for something like this.
Robert G 02/08/2011 06:27:15
Sounds like a violation of Miss Payne's first amendment rights. The scum of the earth headmaster should be fired immediately. There needs to be a law. 20 years in jail for any boss that fires an employee for anything they put on there facebook page. I hope she wins hew law suite and ends up owning the school.
Barry M. 02/09/2011 13:58:16
Really !! Idiotic...I guess we should impeach or have all the politicians resign for letting people in their counties vote for Sunday Liquor Sales.
Well maybe we could do without Politics all together.
Mr. Principal let us see what is in your cabinets.
Jenna 02/11/2011 22:36:05
Is she over 21?
was she over 21 at the time of the photo?
Did SHE add her students to her facebook page?
im guessing not.
Are parents and school officials getting way out of hand?
She should have this wiped from her record and should be back in the classroom.
I think its crazy. I mn for crying out loud this is just one case that exposes the very tip of the iceburg that is the ethical and moral delimas that come with living in an extremely 'politically correct" society.
Everybody should get over it. maybe the anonymus tip dropper should sit back, relax, and enjoy a glass of the good stuff.
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ThisIsCrazy!!! 02/12/2011 17:06:45
What we do in our personal life is our own busniess... Remember Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Too far to the Left.

Now this...! Too far to the Right.
OuttaHand 02/15/2011 20:59:25
As the parent of three school-aged children, I'm trying to understand how other parents can be so deluded as to think that teachers are pure as the wind-driven snow (or at least should be). Many of these same parents have no problem drinking and/or smoking in front of their children and their children's friends.

Best of luck to Miss Payne. BTW, where's the NEA or her local union with their support. Oh yeah, it's not PC to support this teacher against this unjust action against her, while it's perfectly OK with them to overrule parents when teaching "progressive" social ideas to our children.
teacher 02/22/2011 10:46:56
Are they going to suspend every high school student holding a drink and then arrest them for underage drinking because they post those pictures on their facebook page.
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Jessica 02/23/2011 16:08:22
Wow, so teachers can't have a life outside the school? It's not like she was drinking in the classroom.
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Maria 03/13/2011 20:37:00
Wow! Society is getting so obnoxious to think that they can now tell someone how to live their life outside of work! This parent is a bonafide IDIOT!
And I bet two faced!
Alice_Rose 04/09/2011 09:46:22
She looks so different now, almost like a different person. Guess mixing beer & wine can really age you, plus cause substantial weight gain.
Hope she gets her job back, what a farce.
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06/28/2015 13:22:25
The story clearly states her picture on her facebook page is from 2009 which was 6 years ago. And that isn't what this story is about.
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