Florida judge backs teacher firing over TikTok posts

This Feb. 25, 2020, file photo, shows the icon for TikTok in New York.
This Feb. 25, 2020, file photo, shows the icon for TikTok in New York.(AP)
Published: Nov. 9, 2020 at 2:45 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2020 at 2:50 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (NSF) - An administrative law judge has backed a decision by the Lake County superintendent of schools to fire a teacher who posted what the judge described as “lewd and offensive material” on the TikTok social-media network.

Judge Robert Telfer III on Friday issued a 26-page order recommending that the Lake County School Board terminate the employment of Todd Erdman, who was a faculty member at Umatilla Middle School. Lake County Superintendent Diane Kornegay in October 2019 informed Erdman that she planned to recommend termination to the school board after an investigation of numerous TikTok videos that included Erdman making sexually explicit comments, according to Telfer’s ruling.

Erdman appealed Kornegay’s decision to the state Division of Administrative Hearings and said, in part, that he had set his TikTok account to “private” so that videos would not be shared and that someone had stolen his cell phone. But Telfair concluded that Erdman’s “explanation is not credible” and that he violated a series of rules.

“Further, the TikTok videos … ultimately made their way into the public sphere, and students, parents, and school district personnel viewed and became aware of them,” the judge wrote.

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