Pennsylvania Teacher Suspended For Blog

It is a shame.  I do not know what it is, exactly, that the teacher said.  But from the safe perch of anonymity, it should not matter…right?

FEASTERVILLE, Pa. – A high school English teacher in suburban Philadelphia who was suspended for a profanity-laced blog in which she called her young charges “disengaged, lazy whiners” is driving a sensation by daring to ask: Why are today’s students unmotivated — and what’s wrong with calling them out?

As she fights to keep her job at Central Bucks East High School, 30-year-old Natalie Munroe says she had no interest in becoming any sort of educational icon. The blog has been taken down, but its contents can still be found easily online.

Her comments and her suspension by the middle-class school district have clearly touched a nerve, with scores of online commenters applauding her for taking a tough love approach or excoriating her for verbal abuse. Media attention has rained down, and backers have started a Facebook group.

“My students are out of control,” Munroe, who has taught 10th, 11th and 12th grades, wrote in one post. “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.”

And in another post, Munroe — who is more than eight months pregnant — writes: “Kids! They are disobedient, disrespectful oafs. Noisy, crazy, sloppy, lazy LOAFERS.” She also comes up with a colorful list of comments that she felt should be available on student report cards.

Munroe did not use her full name or identify her students or school in the blog, which she started in August 2009 for friends and family. Last week, she said, students brought it to the attention of the school, which suspended her with pay.

“They get angry when you ask them to think or be creative,” Munroe said of her students in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday. “The students are not being held accountable.”

Munroe pointed out that she also said positive things, but she acknowledges that she did write some things out of frustration — and of a feeling that many kids today are being given a free pass at school and at home.

“Parents are more trying to be their kids’ friends and less trying to be their parent,” Munroe said, also noting students’ lack of patience. “They want everything right now. They want it yesterday.”

One of Munroe’s former students, who now attends McDaniel College in Westminster, Md., said he was torn by his former teacher’s comments. Jeff Shoolbraid said he thought much of what Munroe said was true and that she had a right to voice her opinion, but felt her comments were out of line for a teacher.

“Whatever influenced her to say what she did is evidence as to why she simply should not teach,” Shoolbraid wrote in an e-mail to the AP. “I just thought it was completely inappropriate. As far as motivated high school students, she’s completely correct. High school kids don’t want to do anything. .. It’s a teacher’s job, however, to give students the motivation to learn.”

A spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Education Association declined to comment Tuesday because he said the group may represent Munroe. Messages left for the Central Bucks School District superintendent were not returned Monday or Tuesday.

Sandi Jacobs, vice president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, said school districts are navigating uncharted territory when it comes to teachers’ online behavior. Often, districts want teachers to have more contact with students and their families, yet give little guidance on how teachers should behave online even as students are more plugged in than they’ve ever been.

“This is really murky stuff,” she said. “When you have a teacher using their blog to berate their students, maybe that’s a little less murky. But the larger issue is, I think, districts are totally unprepared to deal with this.”

Munroe has hired an attorney, who said that she had the right to post her thoughts on the blog and that it’s a free speech issue. The attorney, Steven Rovner, said the district has led Munroe to believe that she will eventually lose her job.

“She could have been any person, any teacher in America writing about their lives,” he said, pointing out that Munroe blogged about 85 times and that only about 15 to 20 of the posts involved her being a teacher. “It’s honest and raw and a little edgy depending on your taste. … She has a deep frustration for the educational system in America.”

Rovner said that he would consider legal action if indeed Munroe loses her job.

“She did it as carefully as she could,” he said about her blog. “It’s so general that it applies to the problems in school districts and schools across the country.”


But it does say that students noticed it, and reported it.  So if the teacher was not discreet enough that the students found out, I can certainly see the concern of the school district.

Regardless, what she says seems to be true.  I have noticed it as well.  I hire people from my community, and can tell you that as a consumer of the product that my local school district churns out, I am not a happy customer.  How are kids, in 2011, not able to type at least 20 words per minute?

But this isn’t new.  Stupidity is a very old past time for humanity, as is apathy and laziness.  We all have heard the story about the ant and the grasshopper….laziness is a lesson that we have all been taught.  It just seems that we are, as a society, learning to take it to prodigious extremes.


2 Responses to “Pennsylvania Teacher Suspended For Blog”

  1. I do not think it is the teacher’s fault.

    Kid’s these day’s are malicious as anything . beacuse boundires and rules are not being set/defined – beacuse parents cannot discipline their children without being called child abusers and arrested.

    Obviuosly the teacher is having hell trying to do her job. She’s obviously trying to discipline and get her students to learn.

    how this teacher’s blog came to light – i’d say – is that this teacher Disciplined the classroom clown/smartass. Clown/smartrse googles teachers name – finds and reads blog. Thinks score, i can get rid of this @#$ by showing this stuff around!

    Kid’s behavior is shaped so much by their childhood enviroment. Parents not being able to peroperly associate doing things as bad – IE you see you’re child kick a puppy. First thing that comes to you’re head is you’d grab the wooden spoon and ahve some words. Parents are not able to do that. The child gets told “you’re bad, dont do that again!” to which, they completely ignore.

    Becuase of this, parents are unable to succesffully help children understand right from wrong – under the age old learning notion of if you touch the electric fence you will be zapped. IE – You walk up and randomly kick a dog for no reason – you will get punished for it.

    Because they cannot link their actions with consiquences – children today grow up with no morals. Or morals that are so warped from what we consider moral’s its not funny (It means my boyfriend realy loves me when he hits me!! and Biches are only good for fucking cooking and cleaning. This is standard thinking analogy for today’s teenager.)

    Dont blame the teachers……

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