Skip to comments.New Hampshire teacher resigns rather than 'unfriend' students on Facebook
Posted on 04/10/2014 6:17:42 AM PDT by JoeProBono
CLAREMONT, N.H.,A 79-year-old substitute teacher chose to resign from teaching after a very unfriendly dispute with school administrators in Claremont, N.H.
Carol Thebarge opted to give up her job after 35 year instead of unfriending her students on Facebook.
"Do we have the right as teachers, when we respect our students and our students respect us, to have that relationship?" Thebarge told WMUR. "I feel like mine is very safe. I have never been inappropriate."
School administrators at Stevens High School told Thebarge that her account was a potential safety concern, especially after another teacher was let go after being charged in a sexual assault case involving a 14-year-old student.
They gave me an ultimatum -- either take them all off or you are terminated, Thebarge told CBS Boston. And I decided that I would not comply and so I was terminated. And its caused a firestorm across the entire area.
The elderly woman apparently felt that her professional life wasnt as important as her personal relationships with her students.
"I'm like a grandmother to these students," Thebarge said. "That's my role. I'm like a grandmother."
Some students are circulating a petition to get Thebarge reinstated, but Stevens High officials say she wont be back unless she complies with the schools policy.
Her choice, but I support the rule.
Teachers should maintain a separate social life from their students.
Wow she looks damn good for 79. But sad to say she ran into more liberal fascism. Teaching kids about sodomy is OK. Teacher being a friend, not OK.
YES....WHAT YOU SAID!!!
Schools are training grounds for young citizens-to-be, with teachers representing the fear-inspiring authority figures. Student-teacher chumminess undermines this training.
‘Live Free or Die’...ROTFLMAO!
ditto... but she is 79... i can see her not choosing her career at this point...
i have my own rule regarding Facebook... i do not except friend requests from anyone under 18--except for my sons... i think my youngest FB friend is my nephew's wife who is 28...
NOBODY looks that young at 79. She’s either had a face life or the picture has been revised to make her look younger. In another picture she’s not just resting her head in her hands, she’s obviously holding back the age lines around her mouth. If youth is so important to her, I’m glad she retired.
I support this lady and freedom of association.
No mention whether this was a social ir work Facebook account. When I worked for KIPP Schools, many teachers had two accounts and kept their teaching Facebook page clear or their personal lives. Facebook can be very useful tracking students during. What is going on in a students social life can absolutely affect their learning. Public schools don’t really care, they don’t go the extra mile, and most simply want the kids to show up so they get paid. Once they graduate, they could care less. KIPP was the opposite. They went as far as to track their students in college and offer assistance. Its no wonder their are crushing the public school model.
if they are underage, then employees should not cultivate social relationships with them, even confined to social media.
if you are in a colleigate environment dealing with adult persons, then my position is that you should not have such relationships while that person is in your class, or under your professional interest. former students and non students have no conflict, and such restrictions might interfere with freedom of association. for ADULTS, not children.
the kids and parents at my kids’ school have email addresses and phone numbers and email and call each other a lot.
What about the open door policy?
The school is effing wrong
It was much better when that used to be the case. The "friend" relationship, even when the adult has no bad intentions, can so easily be misread by students. Better that personal issues get referred to trained counselors.
Besides which, this is a substitute teacher. It's just not smart to be anything but aloof and just do the job...keeping the kids safe, maintaining order, teaching the lesson, leaving the room in one piece. If she can "friend" the students, so can anyone who walks in that room for a day.
She has problems with her judgement. She should resign.
Nice lady, but why is she still working at age 79?
Never have been, never will be. Despite the complaints and cajoling from my sisters that I’m “antisocial”. You wanna talk to me? Email or call, I’m available.
It's called 'The Obama Economy'.
Welcome to the new economy.
I remember when students used to go and hang out at the teacher’s houses during breaks and summer vacations. In some small communities, this is still the case.
More likely she's got pull in the Teacher's union.
If the parents of the kids were aware of the FB “friendship” why is this an issue? Many kids today often feel as if they cannot talk to their parents - so this lady could have been someone they could talk to & who cared about them as people.
Do you go to the movies with your boss?
“Open Door Policies” are still intended to be professional, not social.
You sound like one of those people who wear a chicken costume to work on casual Friday and don't understand why the boss sends you home to change.
I don't want my children's’ teachers sharing their personal lives with them. Its TMI. TMI is detrimental to the professional relationship (and I'm paying for a professional relationship). In the military we called it fraternization.
I wouldn’t do it.
What a short sighted ignorant statement. Both my wife and I teach. She full time and I part time. We live in a tiny town so we end up teaching our friends children and sometimes even distant relatives.
We are involved in 4H, the Police athletic league, and several other youth programs. We are around our students all the time, professionally, socially, and in their parents private homes as we visit our own friends.
Just how do you think we are supposed to act? Are we supposed to be rude and uncaring about our neighbors and friends children? Are we supposed to avoid them and not talk to them when they are at the local grocery store?
Here is the biggest question. Are we supposed to tell our own son that he can never have friends that we have taught or do teach and that never ever can these kids visit him in our home?
Back up and start over again. There is not any rational way you can support your statement and make it work in rural America.
Our Catholic schools have a dedicated website for student-teacher interaction and it is forbidden for them to contact each other using private email, Facebook, etc.
I think it keeps it professional, as it should be.
Fine with me, but you can't be a teacher to them too.
Two of my teachers were neighbors and family friends with kids my age.
I and they handled that much the same way I would handle my kids being friends with the CEO of my company. Distinct lines, and I was not their little-buddy.
I am close friends with my daughter's principle. It would be very inappropriate for her and he to be friends on Facebook.
Yes she has definitely had a lifestyle lift!!! You can see in pics her neck
and hands show her true age, however ALOT of women do this it makes
them feel a little better about themselves which IS OK!!!
“You can’t fire me! I quit!”
“I remember when students used to go and hang out at the teachers houses during breaks and summer vacations. In some small communities, this is still the case.”
You have succinctly defined the traditional “teacher as mentor”. Thanks to Liberals, Lawyers, and FemiNazi trash, it is now so risky to mentor a student that most no longer so do.
American students are the ones who lost.
Nobody? Really? How about Barbara Rush at 86?
Now that she has resigned as a teacher more power to her.
The bad behavior of some inflicts stupid rules on all.
And Barbara Eden at 82, same delightful smile as her “I Dream of Jeannie” days.
My comment was about a comment that teachers had to have a separate social life from their students. In the tiny rural towns that will just never be.
On any given Friday night we have a bunch of teens in our home, all friends of our son. We help them with prepping for College admission tests, filling our scholarship applications, going through the fastfa applications, or what ever else the need is.
Our rules are that where the kids are their parents are always welcome and we won't lie to the cops or their parents about anything we know about them. Some parents show up and some other parents never show up or even call. Many times their kids are here because their parents will not help them.
This is a town of less than 2K people. All the locals went to school together when they were younger and the families are intermarried for several generations. Trying to separate social situations from all the kids at school would be rude to the kids and their parents.
By the way, I don't even have a facebook account.
We are not talking about the same thing.
You are talking about social interaction and I am talking about social life.
The best way I can describe the difference is to reference my experience as an officer in the military. Social interaction was fine between officers and enlisted. You could talk baseball, have a beer at a picnic together, and talk about your kids sports. That is social interaction. What you did not do was talk sex lives, get drunk together, or talk about your issues with the commanding officer.
Saying hello at the grocery store, asking about their prize calf, or even being a parental host does not really allow a student into your private life (truly private life).
I presume you would never discuss issues with your students that would compromise their respect for you. The problem with Facebook is that it is an open forum, and a side comment from your brother about how drunk you were 30 years ago is seen by all of your Facebook friends. Indeed, any friend can post anything to your page, so although you can try to rectify inappropriate posts, you cannot really stop them.
I have a few teacher friends and I have seen some very innappropriate comments from students on their pages that made me cringe. If it were me, I wouldn’t friend students on Facebook, even if it were allowed.
My son's assistant lacrosse coach drove a Maserati. I asked my son what his job was. “Oh - he's a teacher at the High School”.
“Um, son - teacher's don't drive Maserati's”.
Turns out the guy retired from Microsoft at 40-something, then went into teaching, volunteer coaching, etc. The guy no doubt has enough money to do whatever he wanted to - and he was teaching!
Last year my daughter had 2 out of 6 teachers that you could tell enjoyed teaching and the kids. This year it is better, with say 4 out of six. If she had a 79-year old “grandpa” teacher on her facebook that would be fine by me.
The 26 year old guy that does gym class - not so much.
Good for you, perhaps not for the boss. Depending on the situation, there are dozens of problems such an arrangement can cause in office dynamics.
Per the military, after WWII there were studies as to unit cohesion of the German forces during the war. The studies concluded the Germans were able to keep cohesion much longer than thought possible due to bonds between officers and their men. We have adopted some of that attitude in our special forces units.
The bonds had to do with trust and frankly a level of respect that too much intimacy doesn't foster. Great if the Private shares his fears and lack of confidence with his officer or NCO, not so much in the opposite direction.
You make a silly analogy of wearing a chicken suit etc.
Yes, a bit silly, but the point was serious. That everything has reasonable limits. And although it may help for a teacher to know about a student's personal problems, it doesn't work the other way.
Many, many students do not have parents and those who do have parents who could not be bothered with them. It is pathetic to see.
Concur, and an adult that takes interest, as an adult, is great. But an adult that wants to be a peer and shares all of their problems isn't generally help.
These students need some sort of adult support in their lives.
Concur, I think they do better with a professional teacher than an over-sharing adult.
This ain't Leave it to Beaver anymore. The country has changed and not for the better. Your views are warped as a FReeper because you do care for your kids etc. WE are a small segment of the larger population.
And probably warped more by the sane people I hang with and having my children in private Catholic school. I try to take that into account.
I teach and it breaks my heart to see what passes for families out there. Packs of wild dogs treat each other better.
I'm glad people like you are teaching. That said, I think we've strayed along way from the point concerning Facebook. Accepting what you have said, I would point out that there are a lot of teachers that don't seem to understand the difference between being a student's mentor, being their advocate, being their buddy, and in some horrendous cases, being their sexual partner.
So why have a rule concerning Facebook and no personal email? Because it limits interaction to an observable, professional level. Additionally, I haven't seen many 20 somethings out there with a lot of common sense concerning what they share on Facebook, including teachers I presume. Point being that not every example is a good example. You can't control people's personal lives, but you can control how much of it they bring to work, and what a teacher shares with a student, good or bad, is work.
my school has teachr sponsored trips
Is that too “fraternizing” to you?
I was an active duty Army officer, I know what is and what is not fraternization, dude
Absolutely, we had teachers over to dinner, priests too
btw, I don’t do casual at work
It’s “principal”, remember? The principal is your pal?
I used to drop in on my teacher at home.
Always very professional.
I’m not sure who loses an argument first, the person that brings up Hitler or the one that corrects spelling errors.
Well you lost this one dude