Teachers: the job must be tough, and it may sometimes get to you. We understand. But posting derogatory comments about your students on Facebook? Well, that’s just bound to get you into trouble, no matter how many privacy settings you think you have in place.
A teacher in Paterson, New Jersey, stands accused of writing on her Facebook page that tshe felt like a “warden” overseeing “future criminals,” according to the Bergen County Record.
For context, remember that this particular district is a diverse working-class community, with high crime rates in certain areas.
The teacher’s name has not been released, but officials stated the school suspended her Thursday, until further notice. The students’ parents had demanded that School 21 fire the instructor or pull their kids pulled out of the class, after the word got out about the nasty Facebook comments.
The school’s principal, Theodore Best, explained that the teacher had been suspended because all the ruckus was impeding the normal functioning of the school, not because of the Facebook postings themselves. “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,” he told the newspaper.
Until recently, most of the cases involving schools and free speech on Facebook concerned posts by students posting negative things about teachers. But this week we’ve seen two different instances of teachers getting into trouble for badmouthing students.
Both students and teachers would probably be better off saving their complaints about each other for face-to-face conversations. Even when people think they’re using Facebook’s privacy settings very rigorously, it’s all too easy to mistake whether certain individuals will keep things confidential or blab.
Readers, do you think schools should establish formal rules for teachers and students about communications on Facebook?