Infamous Teacher Who Called Students 'Lazy Whiners' On Blog Gets Fired
Her comments -- and subsequent job suspension -- drew national attention, and Munroe made an appearance on "Good Morning America" to defend herself. On Tuesday, however, she was fired by the Bucks Country School Board in a 7-0 vote, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The board's decision came after a lengthy process in which Munroe was initially suspended, and then reinstated to teach starting last summer. In anticipation of the school's announcement of her firing, Munroe filed a lawsuit last Friday in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia charging the school with violating her free speech.
The president of the Bucks Country School Board promptly released a statement to the Inquirer in which he said the dismissal wasn't simply a First Amendment issue.
"Ms. Munroe was, at best, a satisfactory teacher and was experiencing performance difficulties well before her blog became an issue," Faulkner said. The firing, he added, was motivated by the board's "obligation to have satisfactory teachers in its classrooms."
Munroe's launched her blog in 2009, three years after she starting teaching at Central Bucks. She didn't include any personal information on her blog, but she did post a photo of herself. She said the blog was intended for her friends and family. But on the blog, she reportedly displayed a sharp tongue when talking about her teenage students.
As compiled by New York's Daily News, she reportedly referred to one student as "a complete and utter jerk in all ways," and openly addressed a parent in a post, saying "There's no other way to say this, I hate your kid." She also once reportedly wrote in reference to one student: "The trash company is hiring."
When one of the students' parents caught wind of the blog in February 2011, Munroe was placed on suspension but was allowed to return to teach last summer. During her year back, she received unannounced check-ins by school monitors, and after three unsatisfactory reviews, she was ordered to submit lesson plans before teaching, according to news reports.
But according to her lawyer, the whole process was nothing more than a formality.
"They brought her back to set her up to fail," Steven Rovner told the Inquirer.
Beyond speculation about true motivation, the school board was certainly on much safer ground for firing a teacher for bad performance than for loose lips on the Internet. (None of the reports mentioned if Munroe had ever been given tenure by the school board.) In fact, there is precedence for workers being reinstated by the courts after losing their jobs for comments made online.
As was reported by AOL Jobs in May, Hollie Thomas, an employee at the Bettie Page vintage clothing store in San Francisco, had posted on her Facebook wall that Page would "roll over in her grave" if she knew what was going on in the store. Thomas was particularly concerned about her safety as the store had no security system.
But after the store fired her, it was ordered by the National Labor Relations Board to reinstate Thomas as well as colleagues who were also fired for their involvement in the matter. The NLRB said the speech was protected because the comments pertained to actual workplace grievances.
In their postings, Thomas and her coworkers had neither slammed each other nor any of their clients.
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Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.
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