Saturday, September 05, 2015

Teacher Blogging

The 1st Amendment doesn't keep you from getting fired:
A high school English teacher who claimed she was fired for making derogatory comments about her students on her blog cannot sue her Pennsylvania school district for violating her free speech rights, a divided federal appeals court ruled on Friday.

By a 2-1 vote, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said the Central Bucks School District's interest in educating its students outweighed the First Amendment rights of Natalie Munroe, the fired teacher.

Munroe had disparaged students as "rude, disengaged, lazy whiners," "frightfully dim," "utterly loathsome," "The Queen of Drama" and "A.I.R.H.E.A.D." in her blog, which was meant for a few friends but shared on Facebook by a student who found it. 

"Munroe's various expressions of hostility and disgust against her students would disrupt her duties as a high school teacher and the functioning of the school district," Circuit Judge Robert Cowen wrote for the majority in a 55-page decision. "The speech at issue here was not protected because the disruption diminished any legitimate interest in its expression." 
Some won't believe it, but I absolutely watch what I say here on RotLC.   I don't have a "right" to a teaching job, so I endeavor not to cross the line into unprofessionalism.  I agree that the teacher above crossed the line.


Ellen K said...

I will discuss situations, but never name students or parents or administrators by name. My blog is under a pseudonym for that very reason. At some point, after I have retired, I plan to document all the chaos that has gone on since 2001 in education. While some measures were for the better, many of the actions taken locally, regionally and nationally are disturbing. There's an overall lack of common sense.And there's a palpable need by some in the education community to impose a social agenda on kids which smacks of the social engineering of the old USSR. Until then, I will write some, but not all, of what I see. But I don't doubt if someone really wanted to go after me, they could find me.

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Yes, there is a far different dynamic here. One thing to say, "I frequently have students who have a problem with XYZ and here is how we deal with it as a school." This facilitates discussion about the best way to deal with the problem without shaming a particular student.

Quite another to put things "out there" that would pretty well ensure a kid is identifiable. I appreciate your blogging style, btw.