Woman Who Lost Teaching Degree Over MySpace Photo Sues University

Posted Apr 29, 2007 by Chris V. Thangham

A woman who was denied a teaching degree on the eve of graduation because of an unfavorable photo posted on the Internet is now suing her university. She says she was denied the degree simply because of a "Drunken Pirate" photo posted on MySpace.
Stacy Snyder was enrolled in Millersville University to gain a teaching degree and was on the verge of graduation in 2006 when she was denied. Apparently, school officials found a photo (pictured left) on Stacy’s MySpace page with the caption “Drunken Pirate.”
Snyder says she took the photo at a Halloween Party while wearing a pirate hat and drinking alcohol from a plastic cup. She posted the picture as one of many images on her MySpace page.
After seeing this picture, Jane S. Bray, dean of the School of Education, accused Snyder of promoting underage drinking. Snyder apologized immediately but learned the day before her graduation that she wouldn’t be awarded a teaching degree. Instead, she was granted a degree in English.
Snyder has been pursuing her dream to become a teacher for a long time, so the degree in English was not the one she was looking for from Millersville University. Now, Snyder has filed a Federal lawsuit of $75,000 in damages against the school.
Snyder is unable to teach without a degree, so instead she works as a nanny. She is also a mother of two children.
Millersville University didn’t respond to the newspapers that questions about Snyder’s lawsuit. You can see the complete lawsuit report here.
I think the picture looks harmless. If the University denied a degree just because of this picture, it is a shame. While there are predators among some teaching faculty, the schools are going to get worse if they shun people who simply love to teach.
What do you think, is the school justified in not giving Snyder a teaching degree?