Court orders re-hiring a teacher who wished her students a watery death

By now, the whole teacher blasting her job on Facebook is like death and taxes to me. I can’t a go a week or so without reading about a teacher posting photos of duct-taped students or a teacher wishing that her “devils spawn” students would drown in the ocean.

Well, here’s a new one.

Last week, a court ordered the NY school to re-hire the teacher it had fired for wanting to send her hellish kids to their watery graves.

Yeah, I know. Shocking!

The Court reasoned (here) that an otherwise good teacher had a momentary lapse of judgment when she expressed her frustration to a limited Facebook audience, and immediately expressed remorse:

Although the comments were clearly inappropriate, it is apparent that petitioner’s purpose was to vent her frustration only to her online friends after a difficult day with her own students. None of her students or their parents were part of her network of friends and, thus, the comments were not published to them, nor to the public at large, and petitioner deleted the comments three days later….Under the circumstances, which includes the lack of a prior disciplinary history during petitioner’s 15-year career, and her expression that she would never do something like this again, Supreme Court properly found the penalty of termination to be shocking to one’s sense of fairness.

You know what is shocking to me? A teacher wishing that her students would drown in the ocean.

And the whole rationale that the teacher’s Facebook friends didn’t include parents and students? Really? Do I have insider information? Is this blog post a “The Employer Handbook exclusive”? No, that’s the thing about social media. Whether you post for a small audience or make your comments publicly available, once you hit send, you should not expect that what you say online will remain private. So, although this teacher intended only that certain Facebook friends would read her comments, they ended up going very public. So, her intent shouldn’t matter.

The court got this wrong.

“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”
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