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Teacher Suspended for Having Opinion on Facebook

facebookA teacher who complained about one of her students – without using the kid’s name – has been suspended from her job in North Carolina.

So forget what I said about teachers being real people with real lives, OK? TV station WRAL reports Melissa Hussain made the major mistake of teaching her kids about evolution – prompting a kid to drop a Bible on her desk, along with a Christmas card with the word “Christ” underlined.

So what else did Hussain do? She complained about what she called a “hate crime” on Facebook. Then WRAL reports she posted this as her status: “I have a meeting with the (possible) Bible boy on Monday … Heaven help him, I am still so mad at that child!”

How dare a teacher actually be angry about something inappropriate that happened to her at school! And how dare she vent using non-specific terms and perfectly clean language?

The school has suspended Hussain for five days with pay pending an investigation, but it’s another example of teachers not being allowed to simply be human. It’s up to school districts to begin weighing out “real” harm vs. imaginary as they respond to parents’ complaints. Like the teacher who dared use the word “B–ch” on her Facebook page, Hussain has fallen victim to the fact that what you say in a social networking site has ripple effects far beyond that site.

But just because you say it on there doesn’t necessarily make it inappropriate. Should I be offended by the teacher friend on Facebook who posted just before Valentine’s day: ” Sent all the sugared up kids home to their parents. Muhahaha!” After all, she could possibly be insinuating that parents might maybe have kids who go a little loony when they’re full of Valentine’s candy. Imagine her talking so badly about children. It’s downright libelous.

We all need to be careful what we say in social media settings. But simply because we can read it doesn’t mean it’s actionable or even wrong.

And here’s a shocker: teachers don’t always think sweet sugary thoughts about our kids. Come to think of it, neither do we.

Image: Facebook

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