Web photo haunts graduate

The picture shows Stacy Snyder of Strasburg wearing a pirate hat while drinking from a plastic “Mr. Goodbar” cup. The photograph taken during a 2005 Halloween party was posted on Snyder’s MySpace Web page with the caption “Drunken Pirate.”

“The day before graduation, the college confronted me about the picture,” Snyder said Thursday. “I was told I wouldn’t be receiving my education degree or teaching certificate because the photo was ‘unprofessional.’ ” —Brett LovelaceWeb photo haunts graduate (Lancaster Online)

The kicker? Snyder is 27 years old.

The denial of degree happened last year; the news hook in this story is that the former student has now filed a lawsuit.

Certainly she showed poor judgment by putting that photo on her profile. Since my only alcohol consumption is about one glass of wine per year, my own attitudes about drunken photos are biased.

Snyder surely learned in her education classes why parents hold the teachers of their children to such high ethical standards. It looks like the school system where Snyder was doing her student-teaching may have been involved. According to the lawsuit, “Conestoga Valley officials told the college their students wouldn’t be allowed to perform student-teacher requirements there if Snyder was not punished.”

For good reason, universities don’t publish information about disciplining students; neither Millersville University nor a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education would comment on this story. We don’t know whether this were just the latest in a long string of unprofessional incidents, in which case it might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. If this were an isolated incident, then denying the education degree seems very harsh.