MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. — The Michigan Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal from a school district that wanted to discharge a teacher for off-duty behavior, The (New Baltimore) Voice reported. One observer told The Voice that the decision leaves open the question of whether conduct outside of school can ever be the basis for firing an educator.

L'Anse Creuse Public Schools fired a middle school teacher after photos of her allegedly lewd behavior at a party that took place two years earlier were posted on the Internet, according to The Voice. An administrative law judge upheld the action, but the Michigan Tenure Commission overruled the judge, saying the photos were taken without the teacher's consent and that her conduct did not merit discharge, The Voice reported.

"As a practical matter, it (the Supreme Court denial) brings the case to an end," said William Albertson, attorney for the district, told The Voice. "I think it's fair to say the district is disappointed."

The teacher's attorney could not be reached for comment, The Voice reported. The teacher has been reassigned to an elementary school, according to the report.

Albertson told The Voice that the high court's decision to avoid the case leaves unanswered the question of whether off-duty conduct can ever be sufficient reason for discharge.

The (New Baltimore) Voice, "Supreme court passes on case involving L'Anse Creuse teacher," Oct. 28, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "How to Remove an Ineffective Tenured Teacher in 13 Easy Steps," Jan. 14, 2010