CNN and all the cable stations were abuzz about the teacher in Pennsylvania that has been suspended, and may be fired, for blogging about her students.
Natalie Munroe, a 30-year-old teacher at Central Bucks East High School in Doyleston, Pa., didn’t identify her students in the blog, but she did say some mean comments about them. For example:
“In her blog, which has since been removed, Munroe referred to her students as ‘out of control,’ ‘rude, lazy, disengaged whiners,’ and called one ‘a complete and utter jerk in all ways.’”
“ ‘There’s no other way to say this, I hate your kid,’ she wrote in one post. ‘Although academically okay your child has no other redeeming qualities,’ she said in another.”…
“I don’t think I did anything wrong,” she told ABC News. “I’m sorry that it was taken out of context but I stand by what I said.” …
“In one tongue-in-cheek post she offered fellow teachers alternative ways to describe students on report cards, such as ‘rat-like,’ ‘dresses like a streetwalker,’ and ‘frightfully dim.’ Of one student, she cruelly joked that ‘the trash company is hiring. ’ ”
“Munroe’s attorney Steve Rovner argues she did nothing wrong, even if she offended people. ‘There’s no Internet policy at her school district. She was free to write and she free to express herself; it was like a personal diary,’ he told ABC.”
Munroe said only seven friends, her husband and herself were “followers” of the blog and that 60 of the total 84 blogs she wrote had absolutely nothing to do with work or her students. Her blog is back up and had 420 followers as of last night.
“See, what I’d done was written a casual blog. I talked about everything–such exciting topics as our trip to Sesame Place, my favorite (and least favorite) restaurants, my work experiences, the diaper genie. I had 9 followers–2 of whom were my husband and myself, the other 7 were friends. When I started it, my goal was to write 1-3 times a week, though I didn’t usually have time to do it that much. I ended up writing 84 blogs between 8/9/09 and 11/25/10. (I remember that, at one point, my track of blogging was about equal with my gym-going, but my gym-going eventually surpassed my blog track. I went there religiously at least 3 times a week until my morning sickness started…) I slowed down at the end, writing only about 10 blogs between June and November. I was too busy with being pregnant, teaching a new curriculum, and being harassed at school to write anything between November and February.
“When I wrote, I kept things as anonymous as possible; I know there are crazies out there and I didn’t want anyone trying to track me down. I blogged as “Natalie M” and had no location information or email address or anything listed or accessible. Nor did I ever mention where I worked or the names of students. Yet, there’s this perception that I was trying to lambaste everyone in the school without heed. That’s bollocks.”
“What bothers me so much about this situation is that what I wrote is being taken out of context. Of my 84 blogs, 60 of them had absolutely nothing to do with school or work. Of the 24 that mentioned it, only some of them were actually focused on it–others may have mentioned it in passing, like if I was listing things that annoyed me that day and wrote without any elaboration that students were annoying that day.”
There is a whole lot more on her site and it gives much more insight into her mindset and her purpose. Reading her side of the story did soften my opinion some. However I still have thoughts and questions:
So what do you think: Do teachers have a right to vent? Do they have a right to write a journal or diary? Is it OK to do that online on a public blog? How did you feel about her explanation versus what was being pulled by different media outlets? What should happen to this teacher?
– By Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, ajcMomania