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School principal loses job for Facebook post about McKinney police

Technically Incorrect: A Florida principal's short message in support of the police officer in the now-infamous pool party video was deemed insensitive and lacking in common sense by the school district.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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Alberto Iber, the school principal who was removed. NBC4 screenshot by Chris Matyszcyk/CNET

YouTube videos of police in dubious action have had their effects this week.

First, the South Carolina police officer who in April shot an unarmed black man, Walter Scott, in the back was indicted on a murder charge by a grand jury on Monday. (The incident was filmed and posted to YouTube by a bystander.)

This week has also witnessed the aftermath of a YouTube video of a private pool party last weekend in McKinney, Texas, in which an officer acted with severe, seemingly uwarranted aggression toward a teenage black girl. The incident is under investigation and the officer, Cpl. Eric Casebolt, resigned and apologized.

The McKinney case, though, has claimed another job. Alberto Iber, principal of North Miami Senior High School in Florida, was removed from his position and reassigned to administrative duties after turning to Facebook to offer his comment on the video.

As the Miami Herald reported Tuesday, Iber posted on Facebook: "He did nothing wrong. He was afraid for his life. I commend him for his actions."

It's an interesting reaction to someone dragging an unarmed teenager in a bikini down by her hair, pinning her with his knees and handcuffing her.

Iber did not correctly predict reaction to his comment, despite the fact that 99 percent of the students at North Miami High School come from minority families. Local community members were appalled by his thoughts.

The Miami-Dade County school district issued a statement in explanation of its actions: "Judgment is the currency of honesty. Insensitivity -- intentional or perceived -- is both unacceptable and inconsistent with our policies, but more importantly with our expectation of common sense behavior that elevates the dignity and humanity of all, beginning with children."

Iber removed his Facebook comment after a few hours. This was a few hours too late. Iber told the Miami Herald that he was merely stating his opinion. He added: "I regret that I posted the comment as it apparently became newsworthy and has apparently upset people. That was not my intention in any way."

Could he really not imagine that someone might be offended by his comments, say a parent or even a student?

Kids are constantly being reprimanded by schools for their social media activity. Many schools -- including some in Florida -- now employ outside companies to monitor their students' every Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube posting. And these days kids get expelled for mocking their principal's looks on Facebook or for using the F-word on Twitter.

Kids aren't alone when it comes to official school reaction to their seemingly private lives.

The most intriguing part of the district's statement about Iber was the reference to common sense. Talk of "honesty" and "insensitivity" seems like politically correct obfuscation. This was an issue that has arisen purely because of the existence of social media and the need to understand the way it works and the consequences (however right or wrong) it can carry.

Somehow, the temptation that social media offers people to be instantly heard -- and, they hope, admired -- is simply overwhelming. They cease thinking and start doing. It's a megaphone to the world, one that they shout through in hopes of getting applause.

Applause isn't always the reaction.