Leave it to my wonderful hometown of Paterson, NJ to let Facebook get a little out of hand. The school district has suspended a teacher of first-grade students when they learned from parent complaints that the kids' teacher was posting "derogatory" status updates about her students on Facebook. She wrote that she felt "like a warden" and labelled her young students as future criminals. Now, coming from someone who has lived there, I can understand what she was saying, and that she wasn't too far from the truth, but that's aside from the point.
The first-grade teacher was suspended from her classroom when parents from Paterson School 21 came to the school board after reading the posts on Facebook and demanded that their children have a different teacher.
How did the school district respond? Click the break to read more.
The district is currently investigating the matter and will not comment due to it being a personnel situation. The Board of Education President Theodore Best did tell reporters that the teacher has changed her relationship status with the school to suspended "because the incident created serious problems at the school that impeded the functioning of the building."
You can't simply fire someone for what they have on a Facebook page, but if that spills over and affects the classroom, then you can take action.
I should point out that it only affected the classroom because parents chose to read the comments and let it affect the classroom. Just another example of parents choosing when they want to be parents when it works out in their favor. Otherwise, they let those same future criminals run rampant in a classroom where the teacher already has limited or no power and control over them. Those same teachers, however, will come to class day in and day out, because they love what they do, and perhaps Facebook is the only outlet for them after the ten hour shift is completed.
It goes back to the old rule of thumb before cyber-bullying became a buzzword. If you don't like something you see on the Internet, don't read it. It's a much more public and open forum than in-person conversations, but with that comes a small responsibility on the reader's part to not let others' thoughts stir up emotions that bleed into the real world, regardless of how thinly separated the two dimensions are.
Regardless, this isn't the first incident of online actions poking at these parents. Recently, in Philly, a teacher wrote on a blog about the students being "disengaged, lazy whiners", a more than likely accurate and true statement. This caused the teacher to be suspended. Also, in Chicago, a mother allowed her daughter to wear Jolly Ranchers in her hair. Her teacher saw the insanity, posted a pic of it on Facebook, and the mother complained when she saw that other people were making fun of her, as if it didn't occur to her that her awful parenting wouldn't have caused that.