Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bucks Co. Teacher Suspended Over Blog ABOUT STUDENTS

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (CBS) - This is a clear case of what happens online, stays online.

The Central Bucks School District has suspended a high school English teacher after parents complained to administrators about her blog in which she railed on her students for more than a year.
Phrases on the blog include; “Frightfully dim,” “Rat-like,” “Am concerned your kid is going to open fire on the school,” “I hate your kid,” and “Seems smarter than she actually is.”
Those are the words of teacher Natalie Munroe, according to the Central Bucks School District.
School district spokeswoman Carol Counihan says Munroe admitted to writing the blog.
“I think she should be fired. Hopefully that is what will happen,” said parent Wendy Yazujian.


  1. Next on the agenda: bugging Ms.Yazujian and her fellow protestors' children's computers and accounts. One word against any faculty, and they'll be blacklisted from the entire school and college system.

    Turnabout is fair play (although some of the children might have to ask their substitute English teacher what it means).

    Seriously, I don't know the ins and outs of this one, and maybe Ms. Munroe is a meanie at large, but this story is missing what to me would have been the vital part: were the parents tipped off about Ms. Munroe's supposed 'meanness' because her personal opinions of her students reflected in how she marked their exams or treated them in class? That could be the only possible grounds on which enraged parents could demand her suspension and/or removal. If she felt this way about her students and still managed to be a fair and effective teacher, the woman deserves a bloody medal.

  2. Important details are missing. Did she name names of the students? Did she list her own real name? If not, how can anyone prove that she wrote this? She apparently did confess that she wrote this: why?

  3. I don't understand why people complain about the occasional news article posted in full or in part on this page? Once a week or so I see someone bitch about it. Why? The material is almost always germane to the academic world.

    It seems to me that if you want to post something to the blog that we all share, that you should be able to. And that means the moderator should be able to as well.

    If the page ain't doing it for you, then don't read it.

    As for this article, it's SUPER germane to what we do. Frod's questions have to be answered.

  4. From another article, here's a quote of Munroe's: “My students are out of control. They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners," she wrote in one post dated Oct. 27, 2009. "They curse, discuss drugs, talk back, argue for grades, complain about everything, fancy themselves entitled to whatever they desire and are just generally annoying.”

    Well, duh.

  5. The article ELS posts has got a lot of text from the blog. All of it sounds reasonable, and all of it is stuff we say about our students all the time.

  6. There is actually a link in ELS's article that brings you to a page of her blog. She clearly identifies herself and there is even a photo of her. That's a bit much. Sometimes it is better to be anonymous when you're bitching about the students (gotta love CM).

  7. The outraged parent calling for Munroe's dismissal runs a "bootcamp." In order to attend, you must sign the release, which includes the following:

    1. Acknowledges that Wendy Yazujian / Kathy DeMarco is not a physician and is not trained in any way to provide medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or any other type of medical advice.

    2. Acknowledges that coaching/training is another tool for teaching athletes/individuals about themselves, but that Doylestown Adventure Boot Camp does not guarantee neither good nor bad will occur nor guarantees the training advice given by Wendy Yazujian/Kathy DeMarco including Doylestown Adventure Boot Camp will produce good nor bad results.

    3. Acknowledges that the undersigned has been told if they feel tired, feel pain or feel out of the ordinary in any way either related to your training, or otherwise, that the undersigned should contact a physician at once.

  8. Looking at what she's written, I think she's done nothing wrong. She seems to have identified no students by name or other identifier - she's only listed some characteristics that some students have. Of course, it was still stupid: she should have known that other people would think it wrong.

    The part I find interesting is that the articles don't address her accuracy at all. ARE some students rat-like, dim, violent posers? There are two possible cases: "She called me names", and "She listed my bad qualities, taking care to anonymize me."

    Listen to the complaints: "I feel hurt she didn't love me."


  9. @ELS

    Most of the mail I get includes a link of some kind to a story readers think we might be interested in. I'm not sure why there are complaints about articles that we link here, but I try to be very selective.

  10. Recently NPR reported on a woman who was fired after making negative comments about her boss on Facebook. She was then reinstated after some NLRB action. I wonder if parallels could be drawn to that situation?

  11. I am not offended that she was fired. But the firing is not for voicing opinions about students, anonymous or not, it was for doing so identifiably in a public forum. A fundamental error in this new "age of the interwebs". There is nothing private here.

    In the same manner, folks here have complained heartily about 'flakes posting stuff on their public facebook pages (generally relating to being too hungover to take a test they had used a dead grandmother excuse to get out of). So, in the same manner I would have no sympathy for a student who publicly posts an inappropriate facebook update, I have no sympathy for this lady.

    And, she may yet find that her speech is protected, and win a job back after a legal battle. But I doubt she will find a welcoming environment from fellow faculty or parents.

  12. I think she should be re-hired, but it would be a good idea for he to teach somewhere else in Pennsylvania.

    As for the sniviling whiners of Central Bucks County, they should either be: (a.) deported to Siberia, (b.) forced to fight in Afghanistan, (c.) watch as their town is leveled by a tactal nuclear strike and then forced to rebuild it in the now-irradiated wasteland. I choose "c."

  13. "He" should be her, and "tactal" should be tactical.


  14. Strelnikov: What has in fact happened in that part of Pennsylvanis, with the closing of Bethlehem Steel and subsequently of Black and Decker, I think is punishment enough. I'd expect a bad economy to toughen people up: that they appear to have done the opposite baffles me.

  15. @Froderick Frankenstien from Fresno
    What annoys me is the noblisse oblige of the students and parents, that they are above criticism in a "private" blog. That written, she really needed to either hide her identity better or put her thoughts down on paper and keep them out of the Internet.

  16. @ELS -- I certainly can't complain about this one. No question that it's germane (and a little bit scary). I did suggest, yesterday, on the off-chance that we really were in for some changes (before the comments started disappearing, I was balancing somewhere in between strongly suspecting a prank and thinking "well, if this is true, it could be interesting" -- a speculation based in part on my belief that only someone who's quite sane could maintain as thoroughly insane apersona as Strelnikov's author does), that the page was getting a bit heavy with long articles, and that relying more on short excerpts and links, and/or requiring some sort of commentary or contextualization, would be a good idea. I've seen a few others make the same complaint. What I hadn't realized, for which I apologize, Moderator, was that they were being sent to the Moderator for posting. I still think that doing whatever is possible to keep those posts shorter, so that they don't bury original content, or even asking people who submit articles to do a bit of work excerpting them, commenting on them, and/or suggesting questions for discussion, might be a good idea. But if that would make more work for the Moderator (even in the form of answering emails with "you haven't followed the directions"), then it's a bad idea. Scrolling down, and/or using the right-hand menu, isn't so hard.

  17. I agree with Contingent Cassy. I think if people want to post material from other sites, it should be a link or a short teaser in the context of commentary or snark from the posting person. Otherwise, we could just have an "articles of interest" section or something.

  18. @Strelnikov, maybe you meant lèse majesté instead of noblesse oblige?


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