CASSOPOLIS – She refused to show her boss her Facebook page. Now a Michigan teacher's aide is receiving the backing of the state's biggest education union – they're filing a lawsuit on her behalf.
Kimberly Hester says last April she posted a picture of a co-worker's pants around her ankles on Facebook. It showed just the pants, ankles and shoes. A parent found it offensive and reported it to the school district.
Hester says the photo wasn't posted during work hours.
At the time, Hester was a teacher's aide at Frank Squires Elementary in Cassopolis. According to a letter from the Cassopolis schools superintendent to the Lewis Cass Intermediate superintendent, a parent who was friends with Hester on Facebook notified the school about the picture.
Hester said her aide job was at Cassopolis public schools, but she was technically employed by Lewis-Cass Intermediate.
A few days later, Lewis Cass ISD superintendent Robert Colby called her into his office.
“He asked me three times if he could view my Facebook and I repeatedly said I was not OK with that,” Hester told WSBT.
In a letter to Hester from the Lewis Cass ISD Special Education Director, he wrote “…in the absence of you voluntarily granting Lewis Cass ISD administration access to you[r] Facebook page, we will assume the worst and act accordingly."
She was put on paid administrative leave – and was eventually suspended for a time.
After being allowed back, she said the hostile work environment caused stress, and her doctor put her on leave. The school fired her in August, saying she didn't show up to work.
Hester says two arbitrators have sided with her, but the school board disagrees with the outcome and is refusing to pay her workman's compensation.
She worked in the Lewis Cass School District.