Did A Facebook Threat Ruin A Teacher's Career?

Kathy Bowen made national headlines last spring when a teenage student made a threat against her life on Facebook. She announced her retirement today, and blamed it on the continuing bullying of her school administrators for going public about the incident.

Last spring a teenage student told his friends on Facebook that he wanted to kill his teacher, and asked if anyone wanted to help. Many students responded maliciously, and a slew of controversy followed, but no arrests were made.

The English teacher who the threat was made against was Kathy Bowen. She took the situation extremely seriously and feared for her life as a result of the Facebook post, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Bowen believes telling the newspaper about how the threat was mishandled subjected her to poor treatment thereafter by school administrators.

Initially, after the threat was made on Facebook the school district investigated the situation, but no criminal charges were brought against those involved. The boy who originally made the post was eventually suspended before being moved to another school.

Bowen transferred to another school that August after being devastated by both the situation and how it was handled by her employer. Unfortunately she found that in the new location, administrators treated her unfairly.

After taking a leave of absence for surgery, she returned to find her original position was no longer available. She was physically unable to complete the tasks required in her new classroom, and Bowen felt it was a continued string of unfair treatment stemming from the original incident of going public about the Facebook threat.

Just this week, English teacher Kathy Bowen officially announced her retirement. According to an article in the Orlando Sentinel:

Former English teacher Kathy Bowen said she chose to retire Tuesday rather than continue to be bullied by school administrators who, she said, are still upset that she went public about the Facebook threat, which made headlines nationwide in March.

The issue of threats and inappropriate material found on Facebook is not new, nor is the way the administrators behaved toward Bowen after she talked to the media. Still, she is an example of just how frightened one person can become as a result of what is written on a teenager’s profile.

Do you believe the school district was out of line by not pursuing criminal actions against the boy who wrote the status update, and friends who commented, based on Bowen fearing her life as a result?