If you work at a high school as a teacher or principal and have a mug shot floating around somewhere online, it's probably safe to assume it will surface at some point. In keeping with basic rules of the internet, the proper reaction would then be to ignore its surfacing, instead of over-reacting and trying to squash it. Unfortunately for all involved, the principal at Riverdale High School in Clayton County Georgia did the exact opposite earlier this week and suspended a student who posted her mug shot to Instagram.
The ordeal went down last week, when high school senior Keandre Varner posted the picture to Instagram, writing in the caption that his principal, Jamille Miller-Brown, had been arrested for a DUI. This turned out to be incorrect. But instead of quietly correcting Varner or, better yet, ignoring the situation all together, Miller-Brown called the teenager into her office on Monday to confront him.
"And she was like, 'You said I got arrested for DUI.' And I was like, 'I think you got arrested for DUI,'" [Varner] said.
At that point, according to Varner, Miller-Brown tried to have a police officer arrest him, but the officer refused. Miller-Brown then suspended Varner for four days.
School administrators claim the suspension was the result of the disruption Varner caused, his “belligerent and disrespectful” attitude, and the fact that he allegedly uploaded the photo while at school.
“Regardless of how he uploaded the photo, he still accessed the site,” said spokesperson David Waller, adding that social media sites are supposed to be blocked on school computers.
“When a student becomes belligerent and disrespectful, we’re all human beings and our knee-jerk reaction is to throw a book at him,” Waller said
Eventually, Miller-Brown agreed to reduce the suspension from four days to two days – “After having time to think about her decision, she decided that two days would be sufficient,” Waller said – though not before allegedly threatening to suspend other students for merely having the photo on their phone.
As for Miller-Brown's crime: she was arrested for missing a court date for a speeding ticket, according to school officials.
Varner was allowed to return to school on Thursday, though, as he was quick to tell WSB-TV in Atlanta, not before missing valuable study time for final exams.
“I need to be in school,” Varner said.