Childrearing

Teacher Fired For Refusing To Defriend Students On Facebook Thinks She’s Too Old For Rules To Apply To Her

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Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 12.15.29 PMA substitute teacher in New Hampshire was fired last week after refusing to defriend her students on Facebook. The rule was put in place after a teacher was arrested for sexually assaulting a student. Clearly, the school thinks it’s a necessary step they need to take to protect students from predatory adults. 80-year-old Carol Tebarge doesn’t agree.

She told WMUR:

Where do we draw the line? Do we have the right as teachers when we respect our students and our students respect us, to have that relationship? I feel mine is very safe, I have never been inappropriate.

 

She’s been a substitute teacher for 35 years, the last 11 at the Stevens High School. School superintendent Dr. Middleton McGoodwin put the social media restrictions on faculty after the arrest teacher of 29-year-old teacher Christopher Leblanc, who allegedly sexually assaulted a 14-year-old in his classroom. Tebarge opted to lose her job, rather than unfriend her students. I think that’s ridiculous.

She’s been on Facebook for the last five years, so she’s no stranger to how social media works. I can’t believe she would – after seeing the alleged conduct of some of her peers – not understand where the school was coming from with this. She told the news station she’s like a “grandmother” to her students, and maybe she is. It still doesn’t mean that rules put in place to protect those students shouldn’t apply to her.

“She has generations of friends,” McGoodwin told the local news station. “But that doesn’t give you allowance to ignore policy that’s been created for the purpose of ensuring safety.” Agreed. I’m not sure why kids would want to be Facebook friends with their teachers anyway. I think it’s a little awkward; is she sending these requests or are they? If she is, how do you not accept a friend request from a teacher without fearing some kind of repercussion? I don’t think teachers and students should be cyber-friends.

(photo: WMUR)