Parents are voicing concerns about a picture they say they saw posted on a teacher's Facebook page that shows him being spanked by a student.
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In the picture, San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts teacher Bill Doyle is seen bent over and smiling as a smiling brunette smacks his behind.
"I'm speechless," said Nadia Hugie as she waited for her daughter outside the school. "That's not appropriate at all. I don't like it," she said, viewing the images on a cellphone screen.
Other parents had much the same response, but Anna Nilsson had questions.
"What is the context of what happened in this picture? It is a creative and arts school," she pointed out. "For all we know, this could be part of a play."
"If its art, it's appropriate," Nilsson added.
Parent activist Sally Smith, whose children no longer go to San Diego Unified School District schools, disagreed.
"Photos of teachers interacting in this way are totally inappropriate. For years, I've been raising this issue with San Diego Unified, but I've gotten nowhere. These issues continue to come up and many parents are very upset that there isn't more accountability for this type of teacher misconduct," said Smith.
Smith said teachers should not be able to communicate with students through any kind of online outlet except the district's email.
A school district representative told 10News reporter Allison Ash there has been no investigation of Doyle's Facebook page because nobody filed a formal complaint.
"We can't address something that hasn't been brought forward to us," said Linda Zintz of the San Diego Unified School District.
The parent who found the picture told 10News she did not report it to the district because to do so could lead to retaliation against her child, who is a student there. She spoke on the condition of anonymity, telling 10News she searched Doyle on the Internet after hearing students talk about him doing inappropriate things.
The woman believes the picture was taken three years ago because she knows the student seen spanking Doyle graduated. She did not know how long the spanking picture, or one of Doyle cradling what appeared to be a teenage boy, had been posted.
Doyle's Facebook page shows him holding up a glass of wine, but privacy settings now bar Internet users from seeing his private photos.
10News left messages for Doyle at the school, at his home and online, but they were not returned.
A man who said he was the vice principal of SCPA told 10News he would speak to them "in a few minutes," but was seen leaving the campus in his car a short time later. He also ignored a message left on his voicemail.
San Diego Unified has a 7-page policy for staffers that lists social media guidelines for them to follow. In the section that deals with personal technology, the guidelines state: "District employees must be mindful that any internet information is ultimately accessible to the world. To avoid jeopardizing their professional effectiveness, employees are encouraged to familiarize themselves with privacy policies, settings and protections on any social networking websites to which they choose to subscribe and be aware that information posted online, despite privacy protections, is easily and often reported to administrators or exposed to district students."
The guidelines go on to warn against "friending" students on social networking sites outside those that are dedicated to academic use.
The guidelines also say: "Because online content can be spread in mere seconds to a mass audience, the district encourages employees to ask themselves before posting any information online whether they would be comfortable having this information printed in the newspaper alongside their photo."
The guidelines end with this warning in bold letters: "If you would not bring it into the classroom, do not post it online!"
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