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Online Teacher ID Theft Becoming More Common

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A high school coach in Burleson has not been able to teach this school year because he is accused of having an inappropriate online relationship with a 16-year-old girl. Police are now investigating the case again and considering the possibility the teacher’s identity was stolen.

The man is just one of several North Texas teachers dealing with computer hackers and ruined reputations.

Larry Shaw, with the United Educators Association, says he is seeing a growing trend of teachers being impersonated online and students hacking into the Facebook and Twitter accounts of instructors.

Most frequently the ID theft involves students posing as teachers.

Shaw said most school districts act very quickly if accusations are made about inappropriate behavior.

“Right then, it’s administrative leave. Pending investigation, the teacher goes home,” Shaw said. “And you gotta remember most times teachers have never been in trouble and so it’s devastating to them, it’s devastating to their families.”

Personally, Shaw said he wishes teachers would refrain from having a Facebook page at all.

“We gave up telling people not to have them. We just say ‘on your personal account, for God’s sake, don’t friend your students.’”

Regardless of the outcome, the investigation will be on the teachers record.

“It’s very, very hard to get that off your record,” Shaw said. “Once the bell has been rung it is almost impossible to un-ring it.”

Administrators at the United Educators Association also recommend that teachers Google themselves frequently to see what information concerning them is being posted online and through social media.

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