Teacher suspended for calling students future criminals on Facebook

A first grade teacher was suspended for posting on Facebook that she felt like a warden overseeing future criminals.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

A first grade teacher at School 21 in Paterson, New Jersey was put on suspension, with pay, for a post she made on Facebook. A "significant" number of parents arrived at the school and demanded their children be pulled from her class after they saw the message on the social network. Her status update reportedly said that she felt like a "warden" overseeing "future criminals," according to a district official.

"The reason why she was suspended was because the incident created serious problems at the school that impeded the functioning of the building," board president Theodore Best told North Jersey. "You can't simply fire someone for what they have on a Facebook page; but if that spills over and affects the classroom then you can take action."

The teacher, whose name was not released, has refused to make any public statements, but her lawyer did speak on her behalf, saying that any comments that the teacher had made on Facebook were done on her own time and to her friends. "My feeling is that if you're concerned about children, you're concerned about what goes on in the classroom, not about policing your employee's private comments to others," Nancy Oxfeld said in a statement.

"It's a personnel matter and we've taken action," a spokesperson for the Paterson district said in a statement. "There is an investigation underway."

The Paterson school district, which has high crime rates in certain areas, comprises of 28,000 students and 2,425 teachers. It was taken over by the state of New Jersey in 1991 due to fiscal mismanagement and poor academic performance.

Last week, a Chicago computer teacher posted photos of a student on her Facebook page, leading to the child being mocked for her hairdo on picture day. The parent's lawyer is preparing a lawsuit against Chicago Public Schools.

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