I don't aim to offend people with things I post online, but I don't expect to make everyone happy either. If a future employer might not hire me because I express myself publicly, chances are I don't want to work there anyways. However, I find it sad to see this kind of thing in education. I know too many great teachers in public schools that have decided to leave due to crap like this, and I can't help feeling that things only get worse in their absence.
(edited for grammar)
In the mean time, tomorrow is the 1st of the month, remember to pay rent, utility bills, and credit card bills.
The "someone who is a dick is probably not someone I'd want to work with anyways" thought is correct, but it is a thought that practically no one out there in the real world actually enjoys. One has to realize that the current state of the software industry affords us the luxury of choosing our jobs out of many opportunities, instead of simply taking whatever we can get. We are extraordinary outliers in this respect, and it remains to be seen how long we can make this last.
The majority of people in this country (and abroad!) do not have such luxuries - I'm all for regulation here, because it seems like this is not something that will regulate itself.
 Side thought: what's wrong with people? You see something you don't like on Facebook, you talk to that person like a reasonable human being. This passive aggressiveness pisses me right the hell off. We've become a society of cowards and snitches, so afraid of confrontation that we will hide behind a 3rd party whenever anything that displeases us happens.
Assuming the worst because she wouldn't give access is exactly the kind of reasoning that courts resolutely set their face against.
Necessity is the argument of tyrants and the creed of slaves. I for see this decision being overturned quite quickly.
Not too long ago, one of my colleagues (senior dev) opined that he would never want to work for a company that expected him to wear a suit to an interview.
He (currently) has the luxury of expecting potential employers to bend over backwards to cater to his needs. If this industry ever retreats from the current boom, I suspect a lot of this bravado will retreat in tandem.
It would behoove us to exhibit a certain level of understanding and solidarity towards those not currently employed in a privileged industry.
That said, it doesn't really matter to me.
1) I don't want to work anywhere that requires me to friend my boss or give up my password.
2) I don't want to work anywhere that doesn't like me for who I actually am, and I'm sure as shit not going to hide who I actually am so I can be a slave for someone.
Some people do not have this luxury. And that is why you should care.
People like to make things about their lives public as long as it remains their choice - when they are forced into becoming more public, they will look for alternatives.
Why don't do they ask for the phone number from her ex-boyfriend or her Xbox live access? This is equally absurd, the employer has no right whatsoever to intrude the personal life of one of his employees.
I don't believe the school board should have been involved in that either, but that would have been somewhat "better" than firing the teacher.
Better still, the school board should have said "It's Facebook, nothing to do with us."
I certainly don't mean that schools should look for stuff to investigate. I also don't see enough particulars from this article to make a clear judgement about this case. But when it is appropriate for the school to get involved, these situations can be handled without anyone handing over their password.
To be fair she did post something that would get her fired if posted in a truly public setting. If the parent of a student was able to see this picture then it's hard to consider her Facebook profile private. If they had a screen shot of this photo on Facebook I doubt they would require her password to suspend her.
That being said I still think it is horrid that anyone would even think of asking for a Facebook password, and the "guilty until proven innocent" thing doesn't fly with me.
But it was not a public setting, so how is that relevant?
I guess this clown has never heard of innocent until proven guilty. Yes, yes, I realize this is not a court of law, but let's see how he feels about that when the ACLU hauls him into one.
When you say something (online) you are publishing it
all those pub conversations, all those vitriolic diatribes against managers (whom we later bacame) are packed up and put into a book called read me later
we have all been writing appendicies to the Viz Swearosaurus
Facebook is another modality of human speech. At first, we spoke and things lived in the minds of listeners alone, or to those to whom the words were related. Then, with writing, we could record words durably, and any who could read and had access to the text could know what we say. Now what we say is durable and trivially disseminated to thousands, perhaps millions.
By all means, speak your mind. But consider first if you want what you have to said known by all possible recipients of the speech, and if you're wiling to deal with all consequences thereof.
Edit: none of which is to say that forcing people to divulge passwords for or the content of social media for employment purposes is remotely ok. It's not.
If this classroom assistant had simply sent her funny photo to friends using e-mail, perhaps we would not be reading about it?
I do think some kind of privacy protection is needed, in Europe we have some laws, but they are not perfect.
Surely there is a law that's already on the books that prevents coersion of person details? Under the U.S. Constitution, the government must get a search warrant. I don't see how this is any different - this is the government using coersion to gain access to your private life. I think that a good lawyer could take this to the Federal Court to challenge the constitutionality of the matter.
If this was a prosecutor, they would file a subpoena to Facebook via the court system.