Clint Acworth: Teachers Behaving Badly Online
It has been a long running concern for education bodies, how to monitor the use of social media in schools. Now, the tables have turned, with former Sheldon College employee, teacher Clint Acworth accused of fraudulent Facebooking.
In what reads like a Hollywood script, it is alleged Clint Acworth created an online life so removed from his actual existence that it has infuriated the Police force, Queensland Education department and the charity, Kids Helpline.
In his elaborate scheme, Acworth painted himself as a philanthropist, community figurehead and jetsetter, claiming to hold a senior position at Kids Helpline which boasted a salary of $85,000. Acworth included dates, figures and specific details to bring credibility to his tale.
This online facade played out over the course of a year, Acworth “friends” supporting him in his endeavours which included travelling around the country meeting celebrities, refereeing weekend football matches and giving presentations as a Youth Beyond Blue Ambassador.
In perhaps the most bizarre component of this story was the inclusion of his phantom fiancée, Detective Senior Constable Kellie Walker, who suffered a gunshot wound in November while on duty. Acworth posted in December that “Kellie” had died of a fatal heart attack, aged 29.
The details of their relationship were complete fabrication; Acworth made up quotes from his fiancée, spoke of her career in the police and even posted details of a funeral that never took place. Acworth even posted a picture of his bride-to-be, a stranger he’d sourced on the internet.
At this stage, it is unsure as to where and if the law comes in to this matter. Laws around social media manipulation are still in early days; if Acworth gained no financial rewards as a result of his scam, did he commit an offence against society?
The police and the charity bodies that were brought in to this hoax are understandably furious by the situation. As are his 168 “friends” who gave Acworth support during, what they believed, was a turbulent year for the young teacher.
We will follow this story closely at Social Media News.