Roselle Park School Fires Trans Teacher For Inappropriate Social Media Presence
In an increasingly digital world, social media plays a significant role in our lives. For students, it is obvious that social media is a part of their daily lives. People basically put their entire lives up on social media for the whole world to see. With that said, it is crucial for schools to adapt their hiring process to include social media checks for prospective teachers. It is not a standard policy for schools to check social media accounts for candidates though. For the Roselle Park School district, if they did an initial check on social media before hiring a man named Austin McCaffrey as a substitute teacher, they would have found an artistic, good-looking, clean-cut man who enjoys music and arts. See the below interview.
The Roselle BOE decided to hire Austin; he grew up in the Roselle Park school system and his family was extremely well-known in the community. Unknown to the school administration, Austin, who was hired under the assumption of being male, later revealed his transgender identity as a trans-woman. However, based on Austin’s physical appearance,
including the presence of a full beard, a deep voice, and attire typically associated with male clothing, there were no discernible indications that he identified as a woman. Upon landing the job, Austin requested his students to address him as "Miss Lavender", as he preferred to be known as Lavender McCaffery. He also maintained an online presence under the username @theconvincingactor on various social media platforms. Unfortunately, when some students conducted a routine internet search on him, they stumbled upon disturbing content that prompted an immediate reaction from concerned parents.
Among the findings on his social media page, the students discovered explicit photographs featuring Austin engaged in provocative acts with a mannequin. Furthermore, he was pictured alongside a bloodied baby doll, holding a knife and fork. Adding to the unsettling nature of these discoveries, Austin’s music repertoire contained deeply disturbing titles such as
“Expanding Catheter Surprise”, “Multilevel Marketing Orgasm” and “Mixing A Cocktail In The Womb”.
Given the significant controversy surrounding these revelations, the district reached the decision to terminate Austin's employment. During a RPSD Board meeting, both Austin and his mother asserted that his dismissal was a result of victimization based on his personal identity. To view the relevant video clip, watch the clip below.
His mother says her “daughter” was victimized for being trans. Austin says that his photos were largely private, despite the reality that all his pictures remain public. A simple search for “@theconvincingactor” on Instagram shows his claim his false. N.J.S.A 34: 6b-5 prohibits employers from requiring either current or prospective employees to provide the username or passwords to their personal social media accounts. Employers who violate this law are subject to liability if they refuse to hire someone to refuses to give them this information. The reality is, his profile is completely public and remains that way. Austin’s termination from the position was primarily attributed to his music, photography style, and public display of sexual fetishes. It is important to emphasize that his dismissal was unrelated to his gender identity. The content publicly accessible through his online presence raised significant concerns, making it evident that having someone with such information in proximity to young children would be
This entire situation could have been prevented through a simple social media search conducted prior to Austin’s employment. It raises the pertinent question of why social media screening is not a mandatory step in the hiring process for individuals entrusted with the safety and education of children.
Remarkably, there are no legal barriers preventing schools from conducting basic Google searches. Despite reaching out to multiple school districts for clarification, clear responses regarding this matter have been elusive.
The intention of this article is not to vilify Austin but rather to encourage parents to exercise due diligence. Parents are strongly encouraged to conduct social media searches on their child’s teachers and advocate for the inclusion of this crucial step in the hiring process within educational institutions.