Natalie Munroe: Should teachers blog, even anonymously, about their students?

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:

According to the New York Daily News:

“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.

From an explanation on Munroe’s new blog:

“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:

  • You hear all the time about teachers getting in trouble for photos they show on Facebook or things they write on Facebook. Facebook is much more private (just your “friends”) than an open blog. I’m unclear why she thought this would be a good idea or even OK even without naming the students and even if it was only a few times.
  • Maybe the teacher didn’t realize with Wordpress and Blogspot,  you can set it so search engines can’t find it. It won’t show up unless someone has the exact URL. Two summers ago when we were trying to keep everyone updated on my brother’s medical condition, I created a Blogspot blog and made it private. I sent the link to family and friends and they bookmarked it. They were the only ones that could see it. But would that make it OK? Would that make it better if a teacher was writing about her students on a private, non-search engine, blog?
  • I am wondering how the students came across it? It’s unlikely that search engines would have picked it up even if not marked private. You have to have a ton of hits for your blog to pull up on Google and Yahoo so if she only had nine followers, I’m not sure how anyone else found it. Hmmmm.
  • As someone who blogs for a living about her children and our family life, I have definitely had to learn what is OK to post publicly and what is not. And I have gotten into trouble with friends for including things that even though were anonymous they felt were still private and out of bounds. They felt identified even if they weren’t by name. Even though the teacher didn’t identify the students, are mean comments about them still out of bounds?
  • In journalism, there is a standard to be sued for libel that you have prove that someone is identifiable. Now if that teacher has five classes of 30 students a day then probably no one is identifiable if she didn’t use their names. However, I think writing nasty things about her students hurts her credibility and the parents’ confidence in her as a teacher.
  • It just occurred to me: Is this the reverse of college students rating and commenting on their professors online? (And as we know people are much more vicious when it is anonymous.) Michael doesn’t think this is not comparable at all: that the students pay a college to be taught where this lady is being paid to teach the kids. Hmm.. have to think on that some more.

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

310 comments Add your comment

freedom writers...jefferson or monroe?

February 17th, 2011
12:22 am

This is so amazing! I don’t care who she is, she absolutely has the right to say whatever she wants and that she did not name names is good. Honestly, this shows the elephant in the room. Kids today are terrible! Not all but many are. What she says has everything to do with why kids are not succeeding and I believe is something parents and communities need to acknowledge. Kids don’t dowant to work for anything, they do want things given to them. They are rude and mouthy, they do cuss and call everyone includinng their teachers terrible names. Teachers send kids to administrators and their right back in the room, smug smile and empowered. This is a real problem because not only do teachers have to deal with this, so do the good, motivated and hard working kids. When parents come in, a good percentage of them come in cursing and being rude. Really? Do you realize how many teachers pay money they don’t have to put their own kids in private schools where kids and parents are accountable. Free education has really taken a turn for the worst. Free does not mean free and entitled to do (or not do) whatever the heck you want.

Btw, consider now how many kids are now with discipline records, court/criminal records, expelled, suspended, blah blah blah. And how many adult criminals there are. You think those criminals were sweet,innocent teens? Uh…..no! People display criminal and down right rude and mean behavior well before they become adults. We need to get harsh with kids who benefit from free education. There needs to be accountability to them and their parents. Why not? Districts, administrators, teachers, counselors…all of them are accountable. Why are not the other half of this learning partnership not? If they don’t want to be there, get them out. I guarantee every teacher goes to teach with the intent of loving kids, teaching and their subject areas. What is it really that is causing good teachers to go bad…in whatever the sense.

The woman said what she said. If it was true, then it is what it is. The federal government thinks they can fix everything. I’ll tell you, let’s reinstitue paddles in school. Let’s put the really disobentient and what used to be called encourageable..somewhere else.. teach them to read, write and compute and then put them to work if they don’t want school. Suspending kids is a joke. Now they’re free at home, unsupervised and sometimes, out robbing the neighborhoods or doing other things they shouldn’t be doing. They actually like and try to get suspended! Come on america…this teacher has brought what’s really there to the surface. Pay attention because there will be many many teachers listening.

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arizonaroper

February 17th, 2011
1:50 am

Yes, she has a ‘right’ to say whatever she wants, just as we all do, as long as we are willing to pay the consequences of our actions and behaviors.

In this case, the consequences are that she got identified, people are angry with her and she may be fired. Okay. She said what she said, she stands by what she said, and she’s got no beef if people are angry with her; if she loses her job, there are remedies to deal with that as well. Truly, no one can expect to say really scurrilious things about others, particulary other people’s children, and not expect some negative response.

I think we are all developing into people who think we have rights that really don’t exist: my rights end when they start impinging on your rights and vice versa. That’s part of the social contract (that seems to be defunct these days) that says we will all remember that everyone has rights and ours do not supercede theirs.

I think she was wrong, she thinks she was right, she gets to deal with the consequences and my opinion is of value only to me. I’d just like her to be adult enough to stand by what she said and not be trying to justify the cruelty because it’s true and it’s her ‘right’ to speak the truth.

[...] Natalie Munroe: Should teachers blog, even anonymously, about their students?Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)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 …Teacher suspended for bashing students on blog, defends herself for vicious …New York Daily NewsNatalie Munroe Blog Controversy Sparks Area School District Policy ReformEvening TranscriptTeacher Natalie Munroe defends blog comments about 'whiny' studentsCNN (blog)Gather.com -Yahoo! News -Montgomery Newspapersall 581 news articles » [...]

martianqueen

February 17th, 2011
3:39 am

If the students felt identified, then they know they are “rude” or “frightfully dim”? It’s likely that the parents are upset because they feel blamed. Being a parent is hard. Being a teacher is hard. Every day in the classroom, teachers must overcome the lack of parenting many students have so that they can do their job (to teach). A close friend of mine teaches, and he says it’s about 90% discipline (”Sit down. I mean it. Sit down. Be quiet. I mean it. Be quiet.”). But, get a parent in the room and tell them this about their kid and what happens. Nothing. (This is certainly not true of all parents but unfortunately of the majority.)

I do think it can hurt the confidence in this teacher. Parents/students might be worried they’ll appear on her blog next time. It might make students afraid to speak out in class. Or, it might make the “rude” students even ruder. But, I think the deeper issue is that many parents think their kids can do no wrong and anyone who says so should be punished. Do you know that many parents complain that a teacher is the reason their kid is failing? They say this even when faced with a gradebook full of 0s for work that was never turned in.

But, does she have the right to post these things? Absolutely. If her employer had a social networking clause in her contract, which they have probably already implemented, then she would be bound to abide by that.

I do appreciate that she’s standing by her words and not offering an apology to get reinstated.

[...] Natalie Munroe: Should teachers blog, even anonymously, about their students?Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)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 …Teacher Natalie Munroe's Blog: Defends Remarks Like "I hate your kid!" (Video)Gather.com [...]

[...] Natalie Munroe: Should teachers blog, even anonymously, about their students?Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)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 …Teacher Natalie Munroe's Blog: Defends Remarks Like "I hate your kid!" (Video)Gather.comTeacher suspended for bashing students on blog, defends herself for vicious …New York Daily NewsNatalie Munroe Blog Controversy Sparks Area School District Policy ReformEvening TranscriptCNN (blog) -Yahoo! News -SFGate.com (blog)all 581 news articles » [...]

natalie munroe blog | Trendy News

February 17th, 2011
4:03 am

[...] CTV.caNatalie Munroe: Should teachers blog, even anonymously, about their students?Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)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 …Teacher suspended for bashing students on blog, defends herself for vicious …New York Daily NewsNatalie Munroe Blog Controversy Sparks Area School District Policy ReformEvening TranscriptTeacher Natalie Munroe defends blog comments about 'whiny' studentsCNN (blog)Gather.com -Yahoo! News -Montgomery Newspapersall 581 news articles » [...]

Jeff

February 17th, 2011
4:06 am

She has the same right to blog as anyone else. End of story.

deidre_NC

February 17th, 2011
4:56 am

i would not be a teacher for all the money in the world. it doesnt sound like she used profanity-i havent read the blog but plan to look at it later maybe. i read this article yesterday and wondered if it would make here as a topic today.

there are a lot of great kids. i know several. i also know some that are simply awful. tis lady has every right to voice her opinions. it doesnt sound like she named names, and if the kids or parents read the blog and thought she was talking about them or their kids-well if the shoe fits wear it. i personally would probably be fired if i was a teacher because i would probably say these things to the kids themselves, not post it on a blog. the things teachers have to put up with are astounding. they have no rights as far as discipline goes. the kids are the winners. most people choose teaching because they want to teach kids. it surely isnt because of the great paychecks. i have been in classrooms and was amazed at the things kids feel they have the right to say and the things teachers and principals have to put up with. if any of the kids posted nasty things about her on their facebooks would they be in trouble? no. and as i said before….if they recognized themselves in her comments-maybe they need to make some changes in the way they behave.

[...] Natalie Munroe: Should teachers blog, even anonymously, about their students?Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)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., …Teacher suspended for bashing students on blog, defends herself for vicious …New York Daily NewsTeacher blog controversy has some local school districts reassessing policiesMontgomery NewspapersTeacher Suspended Over Facebook PostsMyFox PhoenixThe Times Herald -CTV.ca -Evening Transcriptall 593 news articles » [...]

James Morris

February 17th, 2011
6:51 am

I guess the question I would ask amidst all the wringing of hands is this … is what she said true?

Munroe said about SOME of her students “They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners. They curse, discuss drugs, talk back, argue for grades, complain about everything, fancy themselves entitled to whatever they desire and are just generally annoying.”

Is that untrue?

It seems that the school board has reacted typically – an over-reaction to try to head off law suits from parents who are so disengaged from their kids, they either can’t see what Munroe sees or they don’t care until someone takes a verbal swing at their little darling. Having a security guard escort Munroe off school property is pure hype. I’m sure the media was alerted to ensure a picture was taken for the front page of the local rag.

Teenagers today aren’t a whole lot different from their predecessors although the sense of entitlement seems to be ramped up considerably. I work with high achiever university students and some of them are so rude and obnoxious that I often wonder why I bother trying to connect with them. Their sense of entitlement is mirrored in the celebrity lifestyle we see so often in tabloid and mainstream media.

For me, the debate is not so much about Munroe’s freedom to speak as she does. It is not a question of whether she can describe her students or employer in honest, frank terms; it is more a question of whether her employer can accept the fact that she was truthful in her assessment of SOME of the students with whom she deals.

We live in fascinating times.

Vall Vonn

February 17th, 2011
7:04 am

I am sympathetic to Ms. Munroe. I worked as a vice principal in a middle school and I am a fair and reasonable person. I had one child who lied to her teacher and me. When I told her mother she lied,
the mother took umbrage at my strong language ,which was using the word “lied” . I had a principal who reassigned three students to another vice principal after they and their mothers ( girls and mothers were close friends) complained that I enforced the rules. The girls had an average of 30 absences per year, were failing major subjects, and openly flaunted the dress code on a daily basis.
Students are out of control because of the spineless adults. I could go on, but you can get the picture.
The schools have empowered students to the point where teachers and administrators are afraid
To say or do anything which may “hurt” self esteem and which might be misconstrued in any way.
Teachers go to great lengths to defend the most innocent of remarks and kill themselves to help kids succeed. Kids have very little accountability at home or in school and it is a travesty.
What that teacher said is said in most teacher lunch rooms all over the country. It’s the dark humor of the profession. Unfortunately, there is truth to what they say. The people who are complaining about this teacher need to look in the mirror and determine how they are contributing to the state of affairs that she is writing about.
I would not do what she did but I defend her right to do so. I also believe that she is telling the truth.

Brian

February 17th, 2011
7:08 am

She absolutely has a right to do this. Why is it for students and parents to write negativethings about teachers on websites like”ratemyteachers.com”, but its not ok for the teacher to do the same.

I understand there are certain standards teachers and other public employees have to abide by, but she never mentioned any of the students names. Its truley amazing what goes on not only in urban & suburban schools, but in rural as well. She hit the nail on the head when she said the majority are rude, disengaged, etc, etc, etc.

Great job Natalie!

catlady

February 17th, 2011
7:08 am

I hope she can defend her right to say/write anything she wishes, as long as specific names are not attached. It galls me that parents can rail about teachers, even calling them by name, but there is a continuous effort to curtail teachers’ rights–speech and association being two of them that have come up recently. Next, teachers will not be able to write books that cite, without names, incidents and anecdotes that illustrate their points.

Look out, journalists! You will be next!

If you can recognize your student from a teacher’s very unflattering description, you need to do something about it. And I don’t mean sue the teacher!

Parents, get control of your children! It is past high time! And if you don’t, don’t be surprised to see their behavior as an illustration in some medium.

I am doubtful anyone would complain if she talked about the students in her class as, “a total delight” or “with charming manners,” although some might decide she was a predator or child molester, since she “likes” kids so much! There is no winning.

Sandra

February 17th, 2011
7:31 am

Well, I personally think that she doesn’t have the right to blog about her students because it could hurt any children in her class/classes that are lacking in self-confidence. The blog may not even be about them but because it doesn’t name names they may personalise it.

On a bigger note, I don’t know why there are people out there in cyberspace that still think that what they post/blog/comment is anonymous and won’t come back and bite them on the rear. Even on here, where you can call your self anything you want, you have to input an e-mail address. My husband and I have the same e-mail address but it’s wouldn’t be rocket science to figure out which one of us posted what. I know that some people may even use a free-mail address or the library computer but everyone is still traceable.

A

February 17th, 2011
7:40 am

I have no problem with this since it’s anonymous, and let’s face it there are kids out there who are spoiled, entitled and all the rest and probably deserve to be called out. Yet another reason I’m not into Facebook, blogs and the like. Once you’ve posted something, it’s there forever and anyone can find it.

motherjanegoose

February 17th, 2011
7:54 am

hhmmm…I am on the fence with this one.

I have worked with people whom I do not care for and some have been difficult. FYI…clients may not care for me and think I am difficult…here is an example of something that was deemed difficult: “Payment ( including all travel expenses I have incurred personally) is expected on date of service or a late fee of 10% is applied” which is in my contract and makes SOME think I am difficult ( Hint: I work with them one or two days and will fly home possibly 1000 miles away). BUT…I do not post things on this blog that would clearly describe these people.

I also agree with catlady here:

If you can recognize your student from a teacher’s very unflattering description, you need to do something about it. And I don’t mean sue the teacher!

Parents, get control of your children! It is past high time! And if you don’t, don’t be surprised to see their behavior as an illustration in some medium.

We ate dinner out last night at a family style restaurant. As we got up to leave, my husband walked one way and I walked another. I wondered where he was going. He stopped at a table near us and was talking to the family. When we got in the car, I asked what he was doing. He replied,
“Those folks were sitting next to us and they had 2 boys. I did not even know they had kids. I stopped over they to tell them how well behaved their children were and to thank them for doing a nice job. They were surprised and thanked me.” He also said one of the boys looked like he was full of pi$$ and vinegar ( his exact words) and so obviously the parents were working hard at it.

I am thrilled that he took time to compliment someone we did not know. I hope it made their day.

PARENTS ….do a self check here….when other people compliment you on your kids…you may be doing something right. When others blog rudely about them…perhaps there IS a problem.

FYI…our neighbors had a big super bowl party and there were about 20 kids running rampant through our yard and theirs. We still have trash in our yard from their kids…that is not ours. Is that rude of me to post? We also find beer cans and cigarettes in our yard from others who walk by and toss them. We have poo poo bags and pick up our dog’s poo why can’t others put their trash in a trash can?

Rationaled

February 17th, 2011
8:29 am

1) She knew what she was getting into when she started teaching. She is only 30 and, unless she zipped through college in under 4 years, has less than 10 years experience under her belt.
2) As a professional, she should know that opening her trap, no matter how many people agree/disagree with her, will most likely result in her foot getting caught.
3) She’s a space cadet, as is any individual who posts anything on the internet that disparages their job, their boss, their students, etc. and thinks that they can get away with it.
4) Teachers have a right to vent. Call a psychologist or get a friend and have a few beers at your house (don’t even think about going out in public to talk about your students/boss/job AND drink…and try to get away with it).
5) Get a new job. This country, and this state (even though the story is about PA), is getting considerably anti-teacher. If all of the decent teachers quit and/or change professions, I’m wondering just how far these kids would ever really get.

chuck

February 17th, 2011
8:31 am

Would you rather the teacher be mean and nast in the classroom? In case you haven’t noticed, teachers are under a tremendous amount of stress these days. When students are a pain in the butt, we can’t just go off on them. I think we all find ways to blow off steam when we have a bad day. This is a relatively harmless way to do that. It may even be helpful. Maybe some of those kids will see a reflection of themselves in the mirror of that blog and change the way they behave in class. Maybe it will start a dialogue between parnts and their kids.

The school district will lose this case. She didn’t violate anyone’s privacy because she didn’t identify anyone. She intended no harm to any student, AND most importantly, we have a CONSTITUTION that guarantees us freedom of speech.

CC03

February 17th, 2011
8:32 am

I am on the fence about this one as well. I am also an educator, althought I am not a classroom teacher. I do believe that she had the right to have her own blog. It sounds as though she tried to stay as anonymous as possible and she did not identify her students by name. As an educator, I think you just have to be careful what you put out there. We all know that nothing on the web is really done anonymously and that once it is out there, it is presumably out there for anyone to see. I have a Facebook page (different from a blog, I know) and I only friend people that I know. I have the strictest privacy settings so that only my friends (not friends of friends) see what I post. I am still careful about what I post. You just never know who may one day be looking at your pictures, posts, etc.

Catch 22 @ Bang 44

February 17th, 2011
8:37 am

Title says it all. BTW sorry for any errors but is difficult on phone.

So often now when a teacher serves a consquence the student can instantly txt Mom and such and plead that is was not deserved, so then “mom” sends various messages complaining to the teacher that is struggling by a tread to keep any order at all. Not only do they get the nasty spats from the rude unP&Q’d kid they also get it from the parent who seems to forget that if the kid could be repectful and god forbid obey the rules (laws) that this issue would not be forthcoming. (goes back to when parents didn’t bail them out but wanted a lesson learned, any1 else remember this??)

It has to be harder then ever to have to be a teacher that also has to parent half the class because morals and values went out with 8 tracks and record players. I know “”some”" parents that are more concered with raising a well balanced and rounded (mentally not physically…issue for later again, starts with Parenting) healthy child rather then the nature of their checkbook and the “Joneses”status. Sadly most of the the kids (I stay away from because I shouldn’t put them straight not that I wouldn’t love to) can tell me to F off and die just as long as it doesn’t alter the parents state of delusion that they are great kids and that status and cash will keep them safe and good.

It all starts with the parents from the day you get that “+plus+” sign!!! Read again if needed ….
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE

The signs of the times are surrounding us and all those people who hated their parents rules and swore they would never put their child through that (rules and the consquences you face when you break them) Well now we are all reaping what was sown and its going to get worse before it gets better. Now and for the last foredecades greed and power ruled the govt…. what do get when you throw a lack of morals and conscience into that mix?? It won’t be pretty and @ 30YO I am sure that I will see more then desired. Just in case your curious my parents were in there 40ies so I feel blessed yet very alone to know the ole ways. Of course I do not relate to others in my age group but I get wiser with the decades of knowledge and life that my friends share with me.

Hopefully man can get over his cranial reactal inversion of blaming anyone but themselves.

Teachers Are Awesome

February 17th, 2011
8:38 am

A real teacher’s blog/journal? Then look at this one.

This just-published teacher’s journal shows a different look at what happens in the schoolhouse … this time in the classroom of kids with learning disabilities by a teacher who loves his work and his students, but he expresses his thoughts and observations in a hugely different way. It’s hilarious, heartwarming … it’s simply mesmerizing.

It’s at http://www.adixiediary.com

Me

February 17th, 2011
8:41 am

It’s a shame and it’s sad but she was probably telling the truth about every kid she described. I’m not “on the fence” at all — She has the right to free speach. Provided no one was identified and nothing written would allow for such identification, then I see nothing out of line. Maybe venting on her blog was her manner of “coping” with these kids instead of taking out the frustration on them personally.

DB

February 17th, 2011
8:41 am

With this kind of nonsense hounding you for every move you make as a teacher and a human being — who in the hell would want to be a teacher these days? Teachers and ministers are the only professions left that are apparently supposed to populated by perfect people, which is ludicrous, because the children are FAR from perfect.

I think her school board is going to find themselves spending a great deal of money defending themselves in a lawsuit that they are going to lose. It’s not libel if it’s true. :-)

JJ

February 17th, 2011
8:43 am

Freedom of speech?????

claytondawg

February 17th, 2011
8:49 am

CCO3 wrote “I’m on the fence about this one…” As a former teacher, I am not. Although the MAJORITY of students are not “rude, apathetic, and disengaged whiners,” there are such vast numbers who create the unteachable environment. Teachers have every right to blog and VENT frustrations. Just where/who can the teachers go to talk with someone…the administrator? I don’t think so. School boards should stay out of the administrators’ job; the administrators should let the teachers TEACH. And, most of all, get the government out of the teaching business altogether. One last argument: parents, demonstrate some parental control and responsibility for your child.

jtom

February 17th, 2011
8:51 am

We need much more blogs like this. Too many people are not aware of what’s going on in public schools, what students are allowed to get away with, the lack of support from administration, and the threats, abuse, and insults teachers must contend with.

For those who say teachers should know what they are getting into before starting this career, you are clueless. Everything is much worse now than ten, five, or even three years ago. Teaching is rapidly becoming a career of last resort. If students don’t want to do the work, their is no recourse for the teacher. Teachers cannot mete out punishment, they can only ‘reward’. If a student doesn’t care about the rewards (which obviously must be very small – you can’t be offering IPODS), then that’s that – they have a disruptive student that the administration will NOT remove from the classroom. That means YOUR child, as well as others, will be deprived of a quality education regardless of THEIR desires and behavior.

Parents, WAKE UP! Threaten to sue NOT the teacher, NOT the school system, but the PARENTS OF THE DISRUPTIVE STUDENTS for denying YOUR child their constitutional rights to an education and violating YOUR child’s civil rights. If the Administration sees you as a bigger ‘problem’ than the parents of the miscreants, they will change their approach. If they don’t, YOU have to sue to force those students out the door. HELP your teachers and school systems provide your children an education.

Techmom

February 17th, 2011
8:54 am

Freedom of speech didn’t end with teachers. Sounds to me like she was covering her tracks pretty well by not naming names and not making it a ‘public’ blog (meaning she wasn’t doing it on FB with 600 friends all who knew where she worked and what kids she taught). Sure anything can be found online if you look hard enough but seriously, she was blogging for 2 years and only had 7 followers (other than her and her husband) which means she wasn’t doing it for publicity, she was doing it to vent. I’d like to know how it became public knowledge that she had the blog.

dew

February 17th, 2011
8:56 am

She certainly has the right to create a blog and say anything she wants. However, I, as a parent, also have the right to decide that I would not allow her to be my child’s teacher.

I do not object to the teacher’s complaints or musings on the student’s shortfalls, but her tone is both mean and demeaning. It is never okay to call a student, any student, a “Sneaky, complaining, jerkoff” or “Utterly loathsome in all imaginable ways.” Both quotes were taken from a google cache of the original post. This goes beyond frustration at students’ lack of progress. It seems clear that the teacher has absolutely no respect or tolerance for children.

I would not allow her to teach my child and would suggest that perhaps she should consider another profession.

As to students rating their teachers, the difference is Mrs. Munroe is supposed to be the adult in this situation. Perhaps it is time she acted like it.

redhousecat

February 17th, 2011
8:56 am

yep, of course, she has every right to blog about anything she wants. Granted, when a person blogs into a public domain, searchable or not, one must be prepared for any repercussions that could occur.

I think the principal and school overreacted a bit, but in this day of political correctness, they were simply covering their ass.

And to those parents/students who were offended by her blog: Suck it up and start taking responsibility. Parents, your rugrats are HEATHENS (and trust me, there are very FEW exceptions, no matter now much you think)! Kids, quit trying to be BFF with your parents.

motherjanegoose

February 17th, 2011
8:58 am

Educators here have mentioned that being in the classroom with children is a different world than it used to be. Morals and respect are simply gone. Even children from “nice” families do not understand cause and effect. The parents have been cleaning things up for them since Kinder.

Last week, we were out and my daughter saw an adult she knew. ( I told DB this story on T). I was embarrassed that I did not know the person or perhaps forgot who they were. I offered my hand and said, ” I am sorry I either do not know you or forgot who you are.” The adult replied, ” I was your daughter’s AP ________ teacher at ________high school.” I had only met the teacher one time, fall 2009.

We ate lunch and my daughter was telling me that some kids did not like this particular teacher. I asked why. “Oh, she is pretty straight forward and since it was a college credit class the expectations were set and then we were told to meet them if we wanted a good grade.” I laughed when my daughter told me…” she is kinda like you…” My daughter told me that she liked her and enjoyed the class too.

On the way out, the teacher came over and told me, ” Your daughter was a pleasure to teach…” I laughed and told her what my daughter said, The comment was then made that not all kids in an AP class understand the class rigor and what is expected and that some kids are not ready to adhere to expectations at that level. I told her that in my line of work, some kids ( and parents) are not ready for expectations in Kindergarten. We laughed.

Catch 22 @ Bang 44

February 17th, 2011
8:59 am

jtom – your words are great but parents will always be blind when the light is brightest on their own kin

Katie

February 17th, 2011
9:09 am

I am a 25-year veteran teacher, and I’m not surprised at this story at all. This is not the first or last time that teachers have gotten into major trouble with their systems for blogging, Facebook, etc–whether they were discussing students or their own private lives.

The free speech argument is a valid one, and under the laws of the land, it should be a no-brainer that teachers can say what they want to say. However, since several court cases have ruled that public school teachers DO NOT have the same rights to freedom of speech as more private citizens, teachers who who have personal blogs or Facebooks are doing so at their own risk. Thus, they must be prepared for the consequences. It’s unfair and wrong, but there it is. Until teachers in this country are valued for the work we do, we will continue to see teachers get in trouble/lose their jobs for such activities.

And yes, it’s unfair that my students can libel, namecall or in other ways trash me online, but I am not allowed safely to even vent. Not that I would anywhere but here, but still. Welcome to my world.

Pray for teachers.

Rob

February 17th, 2011
9:10 am

Sure, she has a right to say or write whatever she wants…she won’t go to jail for this. That’s where her rights end and responsibility begins. Just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should. A teacher has a responsibility to keep her opinions of her students in check. This woman showed a lack or responsibility and she may lose her job for poor judgement. Her constitutional rights will NOT have been violated if that happens.

B Scott

February 17th, 2011
9:14 am

The kids should start a blog, called ” The BIG FAT ASS TEACHER WHO SECRETLY HATES KIDS”. That teacher is crazy, and hateful. I hope her kids get a teacher just like her.. No wait, they will already have her crazy ass as a mother/teacher. They are already losers.. like the kids she wrote about and hated.

motherjanegoose

February 17th, 2011
9:14 am

My being on the fence does not have to do with free speech but being a professional and choosing the words you use to vent. To me, there is a difference in how you may talk to a peer or relative IN PERSON but words used in print ( and for all to see) are in a different category. RE: the verbage dew posted.

I agree with letting teachers teach. Many admin, I have met, would not last long in today’s classroom. They may have been wonderful years ago but things have changed.

I am going to admit that I have been a mother to two infants and then toddlers. I would not last long ( at 51) with this age group today….on an every day 24 hour basis.

@jtom:For those who say teachers should know what they are getting into before starting this career, you are clueless. AMEN. When I was in school 30 years ago, some peers were clueless.

Having the knowledge, being able to share the knowledge in an effective manner and engaging/ managing the students who you are supposed to be sharing the knowledge with…. are three distinct talents that few skillfully possess. Just like some parents may know how to parent but do not have the spine to do it.

@ dew: I am confused on this point:
As to students rating their teachers, the difference is Mrs. Munroe is supposed to be the adult in this situation. Perhaps it is time she acted like it. I thought we were talking about college students:
“It just occurred to me: Is this the reverse of college students rating and commenting on their professors online?”

My two are in college and trust me. the colleges both tell us they are adults and that we are not allowed into their business unless they permit us. Are you considered an adult at 18…I think DB knows the answer to this one. Anyone else?

motherjanegoose

February 17th, 2011
9:19 am

jtom, redhousecat or catch22…care to reply to B Scott?

Texas Pete

February 17th, 2011
9:26 am

So basically this teacher acted just like her bad students. Let’s go post negative comments about people for others (doesn’t matter how many or how few) to see. She has a right to feel as she feels and say what she wants to say. That doesn’t protect her from consequences of being “caught”.

She’s playing that “taken out of context” card like a pro. In what way was it taken out of context? She already admitted to standing behind her words. If she didn’t mean to offend then why couldn’t she just say “I had a difficult day at school today and faced some challenges in the classroom.” No, she had to go into greater detail and even itemize individual accounts of her negative experience. She wanted people to know exactly how she’s felt.

How did word of this get out if it was so private? Obviously her blog either wasn’t private or someone in her little circle outted her. Next time, maybe she’ll do it the old fashioned way and simply talk to her husband or place a call to a friend to discuss difficulties at work rather than posting to the Internet.

Time for this 30 year old high school teacher to grow up.

Anything is possible

February 17th, 2011
9:26 am

Maybe they are “disengaged” because she is a crappy teacher and hates that she has to work for a living. Tolerance is a two-way street. People these days don’t seem to have the grace or brains to know when to keep their mouths shut or comments to themselves. Just like some of you are generalizing and lumping all students and parents together. You can’t be part of the solution if you are a major part of the problem!

Willie

February 17th, 2011
9:26 am

I would love to reply to B. Scott but it would be unprintable. What a nasty human being!

SuwaneeMommy

February 17th, 2011
9:28 am

This teacher’s decision to complain about her students in a public arena–a PERMANENT (for all intents and purposes) public arena–makes me question her judgment.

Yes, we all need to vent about stresses at work. But, if I started a blog about how asinine, irresponsible or lazy my clients were, I would expect to not last long at my job. I don’t see why this is any different. Actions have consequences.

Carla

February 17th, 2011
9:32 am

I LOVE my son’s teacher. In fact in this house we call teachers heros just like police or firefighters or military personnel. My kids are not perfect. In fact my 6 year old can be a challenge to deal with some times. However, when his teacher contacted me about issues she was having with him BOTH my husband and I scheduled a meeting with her and made sure that my son knew why we were having it. I know my son…I can imagine some of the days that she has had with him and I’m both sorry and embarrased. But she was never mean about anything and we made a conjoined effort to help my son learn how to behave at big boy school. I’m proud to say that he has corrected his behavior and we don’t get notes home anymore. Parents who treat their little angels as if they are perfect and discount the opinion of someone who is with that child for hours a day just makes me sad. Like I said…I KNOW my child…I know what he is capable of..and he’s only a little boy but it isn’t too early nor too late to teach a child how to behave.

Edward

February 17th, 2011
9:38 am

What happened to her is exactly why the kids are monsters. You people defending her being suspended or fired for voicing her opinion are no doubt raising the little monsters she wrote about. YOU are the horrible examples that the rest of us have to put up with day-in-day-out. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

I hope she sues the school board AND the parents and forces every one of them into bankruptcy.

motherjanegoose

February 17th, 2011
9:41 am

@ anything…here’s a tip….if all of your students say you are a wonderful teacher…does that mean you are? Or, could it be that your class is easy and grades do not have to be earned.

If a parent says she is a crappy teacher, is she? Or, is she strict and makes kids tow the line and perhaps that child and parent did not want to suffer the consequences. Regarding the teacher we are discussing today, I do not know. Out of almost 50 teachers my kids had K-12, there were perhaps five I did not like. For some parents, the ratio is much higher.

I am going to admit that I cannot be part of the solution with many children today, whose parents are undermining anything that teachers try to accomplish in the classroom.

When a parent tells you,
” I do not know how you get my kid to do that” or “they act so nicely around you…they are different at home…” we teachers understand what is going on.

shaggy

February 17th, 2011
9:42 am

Absolutely, this is a free speech issue, and this teacher is my new hero.
She simply spoke the truth, and I hope more teachers do the same. These are the good ones that want to teach. They care, unlike the wannabe parents that spawned these slack-jawed, entitlement babies that when asked what country begins with a “u”, anwer “Utah”, and then give a dumba$$ grin. These same twits know everything there is to know about celebrity culture, with major study in hip-hop criminality.

I know there are educators posting regularly here, and I know we don’t always agree, or maybe we just have vastly different points of view, however I appreciate the tough work that you do. Also, I know that the wannabe parents are most of the problem, because they don’t just encourage these bad behaviors; they mandate it to their little punks and punkettes.
If it were up tio me I would pay the good teachers well and insist that they be listened to, and hold the parents accountable for little Jimmy’s insolence. Plus bring back corporal punishment, except this time bring mommy & daddy to the office, and have THEM grab their ankles……….

motherjanegoose

February 17th, 2011
9:43 am

THANK YOU CARLA….WANT TO GO TO LUNCH…MY TREAT :)

Cammi317

February 17th, 2011
9:45 am

I wholeheartedly believe that she has the right as long as she is not “naming names” or discussing specific situations. The only ones up-in-arms are more than likely the ones who know they have raised little demons. I have a sister who teaches in a Chicago Public School and one who teaches in a DeKalb County Public School, nuff said. From time to time they make generalized comments about their “day at the zoo”, etc. And before anyone jumps up in arms thinking the comments are racial, because someone undoubtedly would have said it, we are black. It’s about the behavior of the children, not the color of their skin. My baby brother starts teaching in S. Korea next month, his students will more than likely be much more well behaved because a different level of respect is demanded and given over there.

shaggy

February 17th, 2011
9:46 am

Theresa,

My post evaporated. At least I copied this one and tried to repost. That one went to the e-graveyard too.