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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Decision Time

Back on February 9th, I was escorted by the principal out of my building. At the doors, without really looking at me, he said, "Someone from the district will contact you when a decision has been reached." On February 22nd, the superintendent read a press release at the school board meeting that not only stated untruths (the bit about my so-called attacks on special needs students; see "Below the Belt Tactics" post) and indicated that a formal decision would be reached while I was out on maternity leave, but also that, by my own actions, I had made it impossible to teach in the district. (Read the entire press release)

Apparently, they've had a change of heart.

However, I was not contacted by district regarding my status. I had to contact them.

First, I had to call the district number 5 times. The first time, when I opted for 0 to talk to an operator, the phone rang and rang. I tried again with the same results. On the third call, I tried to dial by name. Apparently the Director of Human Resources must get a lot of annoying calls, so he's not even in the directory. On the fourth call, I tried accessing him through the department listings. Only, when I chose Human Resources, I had to listen to a long message instructing job candidates on how to access information on the Internet; there was ultimately no option to talk to this man or another human. Finally, I tried the operator route again and got a human. She connected me to Herr Director's secretary, but I only got that woman's voicemail.

Second, though I'd gone to all of that trouble and left a message before noon, I didn't get a return call until this morning around 11:15. (I suspect, perhaps, that the fact that there was a board meeting last night may have had something to do with the delay, though there's no way to be sure.)

Third, the call was ridiculous.

It went something like this:

HR: I'm returning your call.
ME: I called yesterday to find out about my job status because I was told that someone from the district would contact me when a decision had been reached, but I still haven't heard anything.
HR: You haven't heard from the district?
ME: Not about my job status.
HR: I was under the impression that you'd received several pieces of mail from your school but hadn't responded to them.
ME: I received a tentative schedule--which could mean nothing other than you being sure you've kept your ducks in a row in case you brought me back--and I received an evaluation that also means nothing regarding my job status. Was I to be a mind-reader and assume that these items meant that I have a job to come back to, after I was told I'd be contacted about the results of the suspension decision?
HR: Those are indicative that you have a position to return to. As far as I'm concerned, you've been out on maternity leave.
ME: Let's not pretend that my leaving was a normal occurrence. I've been on maternity leave before, and there was no question that I'd be back after that.
HR: Well, you're on maternity leave now.
ME: The fact that you're acting now as though my confusion over my job status is silly--when my inquiry is after my union attorney attempted to find out my status and was informed that only I could find out--, and when we both know that this was not a simple case from the onset, is just preposterous. If you take the maternity leave out of the equation, any person who had been suspended would need to be informed of whether they were no longer suspended, and you know it.
HR: Well, you do have a job. Hopefully this clears things up. If you have further questions you can contact your principal. Do you have any further questions for me?
ME: Yeah. Can I get a transfer to another building?
HR: At this late stage? I don't think so. You'll be in the same place.

And there you have it.

All innocence. How silly of me not to have realized that these documents meant something definitive and were not just a means of making sure that the district would be covered if they had to have me back. How foolish of me not to have connected the dots. Only, had they determined that they were firing me, and I'd just shown up to set up my classroom thinking that these 2 innocuous documents meant that I was no longer suspended, they would have said, "Wait. What are you doing here? That schedule was tentative. We said you'd get notified when a decision was made! We didn't change your status-- you're still suspended!"

In my mind--and, I'm pretty sure, most any reasonable person's--if one is suspended, at the end of that suspension--whether it ends with a termination or a reinstatement--one should receive a formal letter saying something like:

Dear Suspended Person:

This letter is to inform you that your suspension is over. You are expected to report back to work on X date. Please contact X person to complete X paperwork.

District Official

But I received no such letter, and was instead made to call to find out my job status, and then made to feel as though I was some sort of dolt for not being a mind reader. For whatever reason, it feels like the games are continuing; I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at this juncture.

In any case, according to the tentative schedule, I'll be back at the same building, teaching almost entirely the same classes I taught before (except for one new elective addition).

On the bright side, I've really missed Macbeth.


  1. Congratulations to you, and your fight for freedom. My daughter's high school before her graduation in 2009, was very different. The teachers and other staff did not play around with spoiled brat disrespectful kids. They held the children and most of all, the parents responsible for their behavior in the classroom. Kids didn't get away with cell phones, baggy pants, and disruption of the class. Us parents were called, and we were boldly told to "parent up".

    The day I went to that high school her freshman year, to find out why my daughter was missing assignments was the greatest day in my life. I walked in ready to complain, and they turned around and all blamed me. I am the parent, not each teacher. When I walked out, I CHEERED! It was the greatest wake up call that teachers are not babysitters. I changed MY parenting style, and one teacher in that room when out of his way to set my daughter up with the track teacher to get her to try out.

    The fact that any parent would be outraged, tells me that they are teaching their children to deny responsibility for their actions.

    You were 100% right on.

    Good luck to you!

  2. It seems strange that the administration reinstated your job so quietly. By not calling you, they attempted to throw you off balance and take away your sense of stability.

    And then, the maternity leave thing. They're trying to play it cool, which only comes off as manipulative in this case.

    The way I see this whole Freedom of Speech issue is this:

    Say I'm a teacher who works hard to give my students a good education, but I'm frustrated with a few difficult students. So I go out to dinner with a few close friends to blow off some steam. We all vent to each other about our jobs, whether we're accountants or nurses. At the end of dinner, we all feel better...and better able to go back to work with a clear head the next day.

    It's healthy to express our frustrations; it keeps them from affecting our work and home lives. Period.

    Keep on keepin' on.

    -Cat Pantsius in Minneapolis

  3. Congratulations! You are going to be back and teaching again. Good teachers should be teaching.

    As a person who has been in a circumstance where an administration did not support me, I admonish you to refocus on the students. They are why you are there. How lucky those students will be to have you teaching them this year.

    Administrators come and go. When you close the door to that classroom, you control the climate.

    I laminated and taped to my podium and my desk the following from Dr. Hiram Ginott. It has helped me stay positive. Perhaps it will help you too.

    “I've come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It's my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized.”

    It's been several years since my fiasco, and the administration has come and gone. You can weather this too. Have a great year.

  4. I first heard about you reading a brief story which mentioned your original blog posts. They made me chuckle. I didn't see anything wrong with them. I have some friends who teach HS English in some very harsh districts in California. Their stories about their students are crazy. The students are crazy disrespectful, don't learn, and still think they are going to college.

    We moved to Texas and the situation is the same. Students misbehave and their parents defend them and blame the teachers. My wife drives buses and when kids misbehave, she's not allowed to contact the parent. The kids nearly never get disciplined and they do some crazy stuff. Nothing that would have gotten by any of my bus drivers when I was a kid but then they had authority.

    I think teachers in general have had their authority removed. There is a trend for parents to do a really poor job too. But then, our news media can't seem to decide if they are news or entertainment and our government doesn't understand the meaning of compromise or of civil discussion so... yeah.

    I taught math at college level for two years. I just told students to leave if they were annoying. I was beyond the parents' reach though.

  5. Victorine is absolutely right. Administrators come and go. They need us, The Good Teachers, to keep their jobs. (my right index finger kept pressing f key, I think it can read my mind). The kids need us so we go back and do our best. You can do it... enjoy!

  6. Thank you for supporting the students that are there to learn. If the parents of the interested students could afford it they would have paid for a private school to support their children. Certainly you have created a vehicle that made the parents and students examine their academic intentions.

    In 1993 I prevailed in the first pregnancy discrimination lawsuit in this circuit of the nation. Eliminating you while on maternity leave would have been a tremendous error on the administration's part. With your maternity leave out of the way you must now ensure that you retain your position through successful 'reviews.' I recommend that you specifically ask what steps to take to rectify any 'short comings' they feel you have and ask for them in writing. Follow through by documenting that you took the recommendations and put them into action.

  7. You freedom to bloc has nothing to do with your ability to teach it is a free country,
    the only mistake you made perhaps was in not sending notes home to the parents of the students telling them how bad there kids are and that it is on the parents not the teachers to fix it. I find today's parents have kids and expect society to take care of them and teach them wright from wrong but then i am a Greek immigrant who takes nothing for granted and believes in personal responsibility and respects the freedom i have been given in this country.

  8. I just found out about you and your blog thanks to AOL/Patch news, and I am honestly appalled that you were treated so shabbily by the powers-that-be in your school district! Thank goodness that you have been rehired, but it's certainly never a good thing to be thrust into the center of controversy simply because you were expressing your point of view in your blog!

  9. I support you ,Kids today think they know everything but know nothing at all,they can say what they want without facts to hurt you without
    any recourse,But adults are held to higher standards.You should be able say how you feel about an individual as long as a teacher you grade them fairly

  10. Just a note of support! It is sad that we are no longer permitted to be ourselves, have thoughts and opinions, and share them freely. I can't imagine being a teacher in today's society and know that I would not be able to handle it with any sort of grace. Don't listen to anyone making you out to be some sort of villain. You're far from it.

  11. Congrats to you on them lifting the suspension! I swear, I'm just grateful blogging was only a twinkle in the internet's eye back in the dark ages when I taught. Because believe you me, the whole "there but for the grace of God go I" thing sure applies here.

    Best wishes for a productive school year :)

  12. As a fellow teacher who was "told to resign" after I had a particularly evil group of students, and spent untold hours before that attempting to deal with an evasive school administration that did not support classroom discipline, and untold additional hours after that attempting to deal with an evasive and double-talking district administration, I completely sympathize with your situation! I also think that the reason the comments you posted on your blog offended anyone is because they were the truth! Too much "politically correct" conversation in our society has glossed over the fact that too many parents and too many kids have been allowed for too long to simply not give a care! I just watched Bad Teacher last night and while I agree that the main character was, indeed, a bad teacher, it's too bad that teachers in America no longer are allowed to write the kind of comments she wrote on the students' composition papers once she started to actually teach. This is why America's once great education system is falling behind. American students and parents get honest feedback and they have a cow about it instead of stepping up to the plate.

  13. If your situation weren't so serious and such a hassle for you, the above post could make great material for a very funny comedy skit.

    Sadly, the hoop-jumping in which you've had to engage is indicative of the current problems in our government at all levels. The levels of bureaucratic incompetence is absolutely amazing and incredibly frustrating. Where does it all end? I'm afraid we may only be seeing the beginning of a bigger mess to come.

    Best of luck with your teaching career. I hope more of us start listening and joining you in your efforts.

    Tossing It Out

  14. The experience you cite here is indicative of what is wrong with too many of our schools. One word: ADMINISTRATION. The way the Administration operates as the "face" of education and how it interacts with employees, students and parents says a lot about the schools they administer. The bureaucrats and politicians who run our schools often are utterly clueless. Unacceptable in the way they communicated to you. Anyway, I hope you go one to show your school that you are a valuable asset, not a liability. Enjoy your new baby, too!

  15. Same here, just read about your blog through AOL News. I'm sure I don't know the totality of the circumstances that led to your "controversial" blog posts, but I do have to say -- surely you know it will be impossible for you to effectively teach at that school again, right?

    I mean if the kids were tough to deal with before this whole issue blew up, now they are going to make your life an absolute living hell until you quit. And your presence would be an enormous distraction to those students who are there to learn.

    And in all seriousness, you absolutely have a right to freedom of speech, but if I were the parent of one a child in your school, I wouldn't want you anywhere near my kid (or any child for that matter) because you have such venomous contempt both for your students and their parents.

    Again, your right to say it, but there are consequences to saying it (like having your students hate you even more, your presence in the school being an enormous distraction, your effectiveness as a teacher at that school being undercut, and parents thinking you have personal issues that make you a risk to be around kids, etc.)

    I don't see how the school can responsibly let you back in there to teach (to which, I'm sure, you'll respond by suing).

    BTW, based on your controversial comments about your students and your blog entry of July 27, it really does seem like you have anger and attitude issues. I hope you get some counseling.

  16. You are supported by a lot of us out here...keep on keeping on....I have changed the label on ALL my blog posts about school to FREEDOM OF SPEECH because of you! I hope you have a great school year!

  17. need to go back to GOOD MORNING AMERICA and see if they will now show the follow up to your story....where is she now!!!????

  18. The worst thing a teacher can do is "make waves". The best thing a teacher can do is give passing grades and even high grades to people who don't deserve them. I've been an adjunct professor at a small college for about 30 years.
    I had another profession before retiring, so I wasn't seeking full time employment. I've had many first year college students who can't write (only yesterday I read a paper from a 30 year old returning to school which said that a baby comes out of the "wound"). The students that don't succeed, those who are way below level, are products of being in classes in which conduct is so bad and attitudes are so negative that the teacher must spend most of his or her time keeping people from harming each other. College students with teaching majors find a rude awakening when they discover that their job on graduating is not to teach English or Science or Math. It is rather to administer crowd control and teach the meaning of antiquated terms like courtesy, dedication, self-improvement and respect for others. Isn't it interesting that the first step in this whole blog discovery story is to take the teacher to task. That is why the best people leave the profession as soon as they can. The concern for positive public opinion takes precedence over helping young people to grow in a way that they will find success. The worst administrators are like our worst politician's whose faulty decision-making ruins lives long after they are out of office or dead. jp

    1. Amen, jp!!! It is a sad situation that we find our society in. I am sorry, but not everyone is college material. This whole business about "prepare all students for college" - are you kidding me? Not everyone has the same intelligence. The truth is: some people have it in them to succeed academically and some do not. I think we are really doing a disservice to the below level students that have "topped" out on their learning. We make them feel bad for not "getting it" and they feel like a failure instead of teaching them a trade that they can be successful at. So what happens?? They either drop out, lean toward criminal behavior, or become dependent on government assistance because they couldn't handle school. One word: DENIAL!!

  19. I am very disappointed with what our school system has become. We have paid property taxes for 21 years to educate one child and the teachers at his school also dislike children. It is disheartening. Why don't you go into academic research or something else if you dislike children and find them so dumb and valueless. If I were you, I would be ashamed and quit, go somewhere else and learn from my mistakes.

  20. I have to agree with you, the District was practicing a little bit of Butt Covering with those mailings and were probably hoping you didn't want to come back. Or, more likely, they were hoping you'd still think of yourself as suspending, not come to work and then they'd be able to use that to quietly dismiss you. I have worked in Higher Ed (Residence Life, Activites) and as a substititue teacher and have found that often adminstrators (those in charge) are a bit weasley on how they respond to employees they want to get rid of. If you want that position of authority then man/woman up and deal with the situation and the person as an adult, not as one the kids you're supposedly concerned with teaching.

  21. I salute you! The kids "nowadays" know they can sue and do whatever they want because thats what their parents and society has taught them. So respect, honor and common decency have left the land. I am your biggest fan! A teacher altered the course of my life.

  22. Today was the first time I'd come across any of bit of your situation in the news. As a blogger myself, I hold a high respect for you. I commented on it in a blog post I made myself today showing you my support.

  23. I total agree with Natalie. I myself have experience the rudeness and disrespect of kids in a school and I am not a teacher. I was sitting outside of a class in the Special Ed Department waiting for my son to be tested for IEP and the class on the other side of the wall from me was very rude and disrepectful with the teacher in the room. AGAIN, I AGREE WITH NATALIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. I learned of your situation via an AP news story. I send moral support. We need more teachers like you. Keep it up.

  25. You got some sass. The kids today GO ON to be the annoying lazy co-workers of tomorrow. I try to spend as much time with the hard working ambitious coworkers as I can and ignore the others, until, inevitably, they come running to me at the last minute trying to get all the stuff done they were too lazy to do for the last two months.

    I realize in school you can't leave any kid behind. That's too bad. Cuz some deserve it. Schools should teach that you create your own destiny and if you want a good future, you have to put in some effort. No free lunches (except of course government ones for the poor kids, but these aren't really free, they are subsidized... by clinically proven to rot the brain of human test subjects ( do you think they serve that crap in prisons?).

    Go get 'em and keep up the good work.

  26. Not a single negative post? That is statistically impossible considering the divisive nature of the situation, so obviously the Blog owner is deleting every comment she doesn't like. That is NOT freedom of speech, that is deception. I am sure the negatives are running 10:1 as Bucks County taxpayers are fed up with the entitlement attitude of overpaid, underworked teachers.

    In this case the teacher was derelict in her duties by teaching venom spewing blog entries as an acceptable response to frustration. So all her graduating classes are going to go forth and spew venom on internet blogs everytime they have frustration in their personal and professional lives?

    Brilliant to CB East, West, and South. What has just been taught to our children is not good for the future of our decling country.

    1. Things I can tell about you:
      1. You have no experience of being a teacher.
      . . . . . and

      Enough said.

      She has just as much a right to publish anything on her blog as you do spewing your ignorance on her blog. It is unfortunate that you are very ignorant about teachers and their jobs.

      As far as "overpaid and underworked" - in your opinion - what is a fair salary for a teacher???

  27. @skywalker. 1. The students that Natalie awkwardly spewed her overaggressive attitude do not reciprocate to the point of suing someone of such little importance. Not only have I not seen a blog referring to the "news-worthy" Munroe prior to this embarrassing incident, I have yet to see a reference regarding anything but the ridiculousness of her assertions. 2. There are so many more people that are actually of significance that you could "idol," or "be a fan."

    Carry on, Skywalker.

  28. Mrs. Munroe,

    I know I don’t know you, and I know I don’t have any right to judge you but I need to put some input on everything that has been happening regarding the drama from earlier this year.

    I’m going to be in tenth grade next year at CB East. I’m an okay student, writing is my passion, and I’m highly opinionated. Because of that, I feel the need to share a different point of view over everything that has happened. While every single adult, and teacher is sitting their nodding they fail to see the misconduct in your actions.

    You are way out of line. Making fun of students? I know some kids can be jerks and lazy but you were not only criticizing them. You attacked kids that are shy, lack personality(according to you), are dim (according to you), are too smart, are curious, are argumentative, and students who don’t speak up enough. How is that not being mean? You attacked almost every type of student and kid out there. I thought we were allowed to be our-selves. I thought it was okay to ask questions, or challenge things we don’t agree with. But… what? Not anymore? I can’t imagine what makes you think it’s okay to degrade people but it’s not. People who say things like you did disgust me. When I was younger I remember all of these assemblies about how it is wrong to make-fun-of/bully/judge people. Then there you go doing the opposite of what I’ve been taught.

    You made a tasteless joke towards mentally challenged students- I don’t care whether it was meant to be offensive, or how you could never mean it that way because of your life story- it was crude, and unbecoming.

    You criticized shy kids who I can bet, were never disruptive, and kids who weren’t. What do you want from us? We are insecure, and teenagers who are all different. Some kids have anxiety, and can’t help but being quiet and reserved. And teenagers can be rowdy- but hey, maybe it’s because no one will listen to us- even our teachers. Being loud is sometimes our only option left.

    According to you some kids have no redeeming qualities. How dare you say so close-minded. Everyone has qualities, skills, talents, traits and other things that are amazing and beautiful. We aren’t black and white- but shades of gray. We might screw up, but we are perfect and wonderful in our own ways. Every single person has redeeming qualities. Do us all a favor, and get over yourself. Children can see as much. For example, I, along with other teenagers, know you aren’t all bad. You have redeeming qualities as well.

    Even so- that isn’t an excuse for your actions. You are a full-grown woman. It is completely inappropriate for someone your age to be saying mindless things about kids. I have struggled with insensitive words being thrown at me my entire life from peers, and now I know it’s not only them- it’s also my teachers (along with other adults) who I should be able to trust, but can’t anymore.

    I am mature enough not be petty and childish, so why can’t you?

    “But the fact remains that every year, more and more, students are coming in less willing to work, to think, to cooperate.”

    Students are will to work, think, and cooperate with teachers if they know the secret. Do you want to know the secret? Make it interesting. We don’t want you to give us a fill in blanks outline for class- we aren’t five, so stop treating us as though that is our mental capacity. Give us work that will provoke thought, and opinion on something we care about. We like to think and express ourselves! We like to be challenged, and to fight to show the worlds our thoughts so give us a curriculum that allows us to do that!

  29. And also, the amount of gall you have is astounding. It doesn’t take a caveman to realize that when you put something online, it is up for the entire world to see for the rest of your existence and then-some. I have learned this lesson already and I am merely fifteen years old- you are married with kids.

    Grow the heck up.

    And on the topic of freedom of speech- this isn’t a question of that. This is a question of is someone who says such cruel things about you own students have the skill to be a teacher at East? I mean, as a student, I already know not a single student wants you there. I have already heard people talking about how you aren’t really going to be welcomed back at East. I have no respect for what you did. If I have the displeasure of having you, I will not hesitate to make my feelings clear. I dislike you, and strongly disapprove the idiotic actions and cruel words you said. But I will do so without lowering myself to the level of a five year old like you did Mrs. Munroe.

    I hope next year isn’t too harsh on you-
    A student.

  30. I have been the target of HUGE harassment by Central Bucks East kids following the initial incident.

    Over 700 examples. Including attempts to hijack my email addresses, and impersonating government officials in failed attempts to get my contact info from former employers.

    When I contacted the school district? (After being IGNORED by Abe Lucabaugh.) A Ms. Carol Counihan PROMISED me the board would give me a response. PROMISED. And I have my conversation with her RECORDED.

    I, like Ms. Munroe, have heard NOTHING. She made this promise in April.

    The school board's policy on harassment (Rule 248) indicates that it is FORBIDDEN In all forms. I was harassed and the school board did NOTHING. And Ms. Munroe--who is a school EMPLOYEE--was harassed online and via Facebook by DOZENS of CBE students.

    I wonder how many have been disciplined?

  31. Congratulations to you! I just found your story today (I live under a rock) and as a former educator myself am appalled at the way you've been treated. Good luck in the upcoming school year!

  32. I just finished reading the Yahoo! News article and wanted to send a note of support.

    Shame on those administrators for suspending you. They're not in the trenches dealing with kids who disrespect you. Those kids ought to be grateful to be in a country where an education is provided to them.

    If you ask me, more kids ought to be suspended, expelled, or locked up. Education is a privilege in this country, but its a shame those kids and their parents don't see that. You will surely see those same kids later in life as low-life, full-on losers. You did what you could. Not your fault their parents mistake teaching for babysitting.

    Keep up the good work!

  33. Okay, now I'm curious. I haven't heard a peep from anybody on the news about your suspension being lifted. If your getting suspended was a Big Deal, then your being reinstated is also a Big Deal, isn't it?

    Congratulations on being reinstated. Don't let them get you down. And don't ever apologize. You now have a reputation as a teacher who sees through the bullsh*t and who calls it like you sees it. You can use this to your advantage to create a more effective classroom. It gives you tremendous leverage with administrators, parents, and (most of all) your students. Use it well.

    (And make sure to send a thank-you note to your union attorney.)

  34. @catpantsius
    "Say I'm a teacher who works hard to give my students a good education, but I'm frustrated with a few difficult students. So I go out to dinner with a few close friends to blow off some steam. We all vent to each other about our jobs, whether we're accountants or nurses. At the end of dinner, we all feel better...and better able to go back to work with a clear head the next day."
    It's one thing to talk about issues privately, but when one talks so vulgar about minors over the internet (where *anyone* can read it) it becomes the business of everyone.
    If she wanted "to vent" or have an outlet like "a diary", then buy a notebook.

  35. @1Letterman "And Ms. Munroe--who is a school EMPLOYEE--was harassed online and via Facebook by DOZENS of CBE students."

    And Ms. Munroe's students--who are CHILDREN--were harassed online via her "diary."

  36. (Well, you apparently have at least one commenter here who has some difficulty in the old reading skills negative comments posted? That'snot what I see.)

    To you, Natalie: Head up, back in the class room and soldier on. This is a tough gig, and it takes tough people like you--and me!--to not only handle it, but glory in it.

  37. @"sosensible"

    1. Name me ONE student who was harassed online via her "diary". You see, harassment has to be directed at an INDIVIDUAL. Ms. Munroe, and myself, have been harassed, defamed, and libeled BY NAME SPECIFICALLY. Into the HUNDREDS OF TIME BY OUR SPECIFIC NAMES. Can you name ONE specific student? Or can you name one time she identified herself by school or any other specific identifying piece of information? No. You cannot.

    2. Ms. Munroe was suspended. Has ONE SINGLE STUDENT BEEN DISCIPLINED? I can cite you ENTIRE FACEBOOK PAGES devoted to online harassment of Ms. Munroe, with students identifying themselves BY NAME using some of the most foul, vulgar, and disgusting language on earth. The principal, and the school board, have both been informed AD NAUSEUM.

    Rule 248. FORBIDS harassment of employees by students. Yet not a single student gets even a slap on the wrist.

    If you agree that the students engaged in this behavior--which your post indicates--where is your outrage at the board's lack of enforcement upon them?

    Oh, I forgot. You're part of the "these kids are angels" crowd who could watch one of these kids disembowel a nun and then claim he was just being playful.

  38. @ "sosensible"

    Oh, and check this out, would you? Brand new page. Like the several old ones. TWO Central Bucks students libeling Ms. Munroe. AN EMPLOYEE OF THE CENTRAL BUCKS SCHOOLS.

    I've notified the school. And the school board. They've done nothing up to now. Why should we think they'll do anything at all? But here's the proof:

    Proud of that, are you? Question is, are you going to quit expending the huge amounts of energy necessary to obfuscate and cover up the problem, or are you going to spend that energy SOLVING IT?

    Can I predict your solution? It will be to behead all the teachers and let the kids do whatever they want to whomever they want whenever they want. Just like you've been doing.

  39. @Letterman1
    Yes, I think it's quite apparent that Ms. Munroe is an employee/teacher at Central Bucks SD. No need to repeat it again. You say there is a rule regarding harassment on teachers. The title of the page is "I Don't support Natalie Munroe". Ah, I forgot that it's forbidden to disagree with you and sympathizers. Sorry, you should probably let the creator of the page know that. Regarding the posts, yes that's harassment, but it's her just desserts. She essentially did the same thing, just maybe not as vulgar. Tell me, does your school district have a policy involving harassment of students by teachers?

    Solve the problem? Reprimand the students who have harassed and investigate the students who have allegedly harassed her, IF and ONLY if she gets a more severe punishment (After all, she is a professional and an adult, and these are teenagers. You'll probably fight me on this, too. But remember, if an adult commits a crime, they are tried as an adult with a more severe punishment. If a minor commits a crime, they are tried as a minor with a less severe punishment. Do you agree?)

    Please don't put words in my mouth. That's slander. I never said that anyone should "behead all the teachers and let the kids do whatever they want to whomever they want" or anything to an equal or lesser effect.

    Anything else I can clear up for you?

  40. It sucks that you had to go through all that. I suspect that they didn't directly inform you in the hopes that you wouldn't show up, hence they could legitimately fire you. However, good for you for being proactive and making sure that they had no more room to balk. I'm glad that you have the opportunity to get back to doing what you love, and I hope that this past 6 months doesn't impact the way the students treat you too much. Keep us updated, as always

  41. @sosensible

    Firstly, there is a rule which does not REGARD but FORBIDS harassment in any form. Let's not step down the actual verbiage, shall we? ONE of those forms is harassment against employees by students. You, yourself, admit in a boldfaced fashion that the youngsters a) violated this rule and b) are VULGAR.

    Thus, you have just made THE EXACT SAME CLAIM ABOUT THESE STUDENTS AS MS. MUNROE. You called these students VULGAR. On a blog. Ironically, the very same blog you hold in contempt.

    Pot? Kettle? (They're the same color here, aren't they?) This brands you as what some people like to call a HYPOCRITE. Or at the very least, hypocritical.

    So you admit that the students are vulgar (oh, and by the way the students YOU refer to are SPECIFIC--you made this claim about two specifc, unique and VERIFIABLE students, which Ms. Munroe DID NOT do), and they have violated this rule, yet you do not want it enforced on that basis alone. Nah, you're not biased with no grasp of logic, ethics, or material fairness.

    On the subject of just desserts? Let me see if I can accurately summarize your position. "It's OK for the students to do it, but not teachers." Is that your position? Because the CBSD Rule 248 FORBIDS this. Ms. Munroe was suspended. Nothing happened to the students.

    Tell me about just desserts again.

    IF AN ONLY IF???? No, no. That's not the way things work. These cases are not judged on the basis of someone else's penalty. What color is the sky in your world? The penalties for either party are not linked to one another. That is simply moronic.

    Ms. Munroe was suspended. The only more severe punishment is firing. THE SCHOOL BOARD, not you, MADE A DECISION. They are the governing body of that decision. You don't like the decision? VOTE THEM OUT.

    The students? Who you, yourself, claim are VULGAR? Their penalties remain unseen, although you may rest assured that a certain number of them will experience repercussions, as will their parents, even if the school board decides to do nothing.

  42. @sosensible,

    Oh, and one more thing. Does anyone in Bucks County know what slander or libel are? I mean, it's absolutely amazing to me that a group of people in one place can claim that their kids are all geniuses and that they're the most elite community in the world, yet all those kids and all those people are really, really, really slow on the uptake.

    First of all, SLANDER is SPOKEN. OK? And we're not talking here, we're TYPING. But if you're hearing voices, by all means, listen to them. LIBEL might be what you are looking for, since it is WRITTEN.

    However, you're dead on all counts. For two reasons. One, I don't know who you actually are, or anything about you. So, I can't slander or libel you personally. You are hiding behind a screen name.

    Secondly, I made a PREDICTION of your SOLUTION. One which, as it turns out, WAS ACCURATE.

  43. @1Letterman

    Sorry, I lied. Ms. Munroe was just as explicit when insulting children as the facebook page is.
    According to this press release, it says that she called students "lazy a**holes", "complaining j**koffs", "dishonest sh*twads", and "rude...f***s". Now, isn't it kind of funny that the posts prior to her maternity leave/suspension are nowhere to be found?

    Could you also address the "unauthorized use of district equipment"?

    @Ms. Munroe

    Your "so-called attacks on special needs students"? I recall reading that you posted a picture and that was the "attack". It doesn't matter if you didn't create the picture, or can find it anywhere on the internet. If you post it, it's safe to assume that you agree with what it says (apparently “I don’t care if you lick windows, take the special bus or occasionally pee on yourself… you hang in there sunshine, you’re friggin special" is what it said) unless you specify otherwise.

  44. I'll address this cartoon issue one last time, so kindly get your facts straight and then move on:

    When I posted the cartoon with the "you're friggin special" comment, I didn't read it as an insult toward people with special needs. I don't have a black heart. I wasn't making fun of people with special needs. I understand the struggles of people with--and those caring for people with--special needs.

    When I read the cartoon and affixed it to my post, I had a certain mindset and a certain point, which I felt the cartoon mirrored: that people would be praised regardless of their actions. It was the topic of my post and the topic of the cartoon. That's it. I'm sorry that my intention was taken out of context and twisted in an ugly way by the school district in an effort to get the heat off of itself and vilify me further. However, it's also absurd that, despite several explanations, people keep harping on it.

  45. @1Letterman

    Are you trying to make sense? Your comment is very incoherent to me.

    First of all, I addressed the harassment policy in a prior comment, which to this moment has not been published yet. That is true, I said the students were more vulgar than Ms. Munroe. However, after reading the press release, (please reread it to find all sorts of colorful language) I found Ms. Munroe to be JUST as explicit in multiple cases. So I apologize for my previous ignorance.

    I'm sorry, but I see no irony in that. This is a completely different blog, seeing as somehow, all posts prior to Ms. Munroe's suspension have been deleted...? A little fishy? She says she shows doesn't show remorse, but all the posts have been deleted. That's what I like to call someone without a backbone.

    Wait, really? I have no grasp of ethics? /I/ have no grasp of ethics? I didn't call my students "dishonest sh*twads", "sneaky, complaining j**kwads", "lazy a**holes", "utterly lonesome", or "argumentative f***s". Isn't that the "representative of the" (which I find completely funny that Munroe can't defend herself) pot calling the kettle black?

    My apologies, I should have said ONE post was vulgar. It said something about Ms. Munroe being a "dumb c**t" I believe. That, however, was deleted. The other post is rude, but doesn't contain foul language.

    No, that is not my position. If you're too lazy to actually read my post, please just tell me and I'll post it again.

    Ha, I find it funny that you essentially called yourself moronic. "The penalties for either party are not linked to one another. That is simply moronic." You repeatedly say [not your exact words, but bear with me] "Why has Ms. Munroe been punished, but the kids haven't?" You're the one who linked the penalties together, so don't go complaining that I expanded upon your idea!

    To clarify, she was suspended *WITH PAY. A more severe penalty would be suspension WITHOUT PAY. Or she keeps her penalty, and the kids get detentions. Is it really that hard???

    I simply answered what I would do if I was in the board's position, which your comment "...spend that energy SOLVING it?" made me feel obligated to. Even if that comment wasn't to make me state my opinion, I have the freedom of speech, my friend. It was obviously an opinion, and anyone who thinks that my comment accurately represents the board's action/opinion lacks common sense. I (not the board, this is what I think) think that the board has their hands tied. Because of tenure, it is almost impossible to fire her. If she were to be fired, she would be given a hearing, then her lawyer would somehow get her the job back.

  46. You guys all need to read this:

    And to the student who is arguing here... sosensible... How can you justify your threat to act out in her class (if you have her), and then turn around and defend the students who have harassed her in the past and in the present? Does that not sound a bit like trying to cause trouble? She certainly wasn't writing about all of her students, so why not give her the opportunity to earn your trust?

    Before it was permanently removed, I had the opportunity to read Ms. Munroe's entire blog... Not just the "offensive" posts, but the entire thing. Sure, I thought that if she were possibly talking about my child, I might be a little upset, but as a parent, I would have addressed the issue with her AND WITH MY CHILD. Let's get one thing straight, the children--whom she did not specifically single out in her blog--were not randomly chosen to be her targets. They had, in some way or another, not performed up to the standards she set in her class. Some of them were flat out disrespectful and rude, something that would have earned me a trip to the principal's office at school and grounding and/or a spanking at home.

    In lieu of the fact that she was unable to correct the behavior in the classroom, nor was she able to affect a change by contacting the children's parents, she vented in the only way she (thought) she could--by blogging it out and moving on.

    Everyone needs to come to the realization that she is entitled to her own opinion, and she is just as entitled to voice that opinion under the cover of anonymity... as she did.

    I am a parent of school aged children, and I support her. Teaching is largely a thankless job. I have many friends who are teachers, and all of them have told me similar stories to those she posted.

    If more parents were proactive about their children's education and behavior, she wouldn't have felt the need to write those things at all. So, seriously "sosensible" shut the hell up and quit acting like you're the only enlightened person on this blog. You're not. Not by a long shot.

  47. @sosensible

    As to "unauthorized use of district equipment"? LEARN TO READ.

    There was an investigation into the unauthorized use of district equipment. YOU ARE READING A PRESS RELEASE. Not a legal finding.

    No determination has yet been made public at this time. You should really look into how facts work.

    Typical. You can't read, but want to pull a phrase out of a press release like it's a smoking gun.

  48. Well done, Natalie. Glad you got your job back. You just have to play the game. That's life, unfortunately. The students are lucky that you're returning. Enjoy Macbeth. Cheers. Fraudster.

  49. Ms. Munroe,
    I realize that the initial blog that started this whole fiasco was intended to be a tool for you to vent under the thin veil of anonymity. I concede that under the first ammendment, you can pretty much say what you want because of that. However, I do not agree with what you said and how you said it. While you did not name names, you insulted your students. These same students you are supposed to be teaching. I realze that not all students are perfect angels, and there are probably some of your descriptions might be pretty accurate. However, would you want your child to have a teacher who would slam her students like you did yours?
    I have a child with Asperger's Syndrome who is extremely shy. When he is comfortable with a teacher, he is vocal and participates in class. If he does not, he will sit quietly and do his work. He is no angel, but he is a good "shy" kid that has been on the honor roll since 1st grade.
    When you go back to teaching your students, I can't imagine you will be received with open arms and excited students. I imagine you will find yourself up against quite a few roadblocks with your students. I wonder if you will blog about how difficult and unfriendly they are towards you? This is something you brought on yourself, and I can only hope that your child does not have to go through dealing with a teacher who thinks so low of her students.

    OH, and while I know that you say you did not mean it in a bad way, or with a black heart; the special needs saying IS a negative saying. It is meant to be that way, and most normal people who are not deluding themselves know it.

    You have a hard road ahead of you Ms. Munroe, I don't envy you your position. I hope that liking Macbeth is enough to keep your spirits up because I am pretty sure there are going to be many students bringing them down and putting you in your place.

  50. My prayers are with you. It would not be easy to return but it's also an opportunity. Surely SOME of the students realize that you weren't talking about ALL of them.

    This whole situation has been SOOOOO blown out of proportion.

    Teaching today is harder than it's ever been. I escaped with my life and wake up every morning with a smile on my face. I have SO "been there."

    Wish you the best, especially for you and your family. God bless.

  51. Lessee here...I have irrefutable proof that the CBSD has known since FEBRUARY about students engaging in severe online harassment. Toward myself, as well as Ms. Munroe.

    First, me. Abe Lucabaugh INSISTED the school had no jurisdiction. The community relations guy flat out LIED when I tried to get a response from the school--and then ignored my requests for a response.

    NOW that the media is aware of my story, the CBSD has a BRAND NEW LIE. "We're investigating, but can't act because we can't figure out who started it."

    HEL-LO. You've had Kristine DeMarco, courtesy of me, ADMITTING her son started it, ADMITTING she piled on, IN AUDIO AND IN SCREEN SHOT FORM. AND YOU'VE HAD IT SINCE FEBRUARY.

    LIARS. Never did like LIARS.

    Now, to Ms. Munroe. School policy 248 forbids students from harassing teachers. The CBSD has had proof, from me, that students have been calling Ms. Munroe every name in the book since FEBRUARY.

    How many students have been disciplined again? Even though I have hundreds of clear cut examples?

    Here's what's happened. The lying, self-serving CBSD knows they can't fire her. So they're putting her in a work environment they already know is hostile. I'VE GIVEN THEM TONS OF PROOF.

    All they'd have to do is click any news article on the subject, even today.

    And, as further proof that the students are running the show, they get to choose whether they have to take a class from an unpopular teacher. You know, just like the rest of us got to dodge in school, right?

    The CBSD has lied multiple times, and do not have the integrity to enforce their own school policy. They're just a very low class of individual.

  52. Dear Natalie,

    I've taken it upon myself to be presumptuous enough to use your first name--even though I don't know you--as 'Dear Ms. Munroe' just may be a salutation that has the ability to strike fear into one's heart. I know it can for me....

    I am not alone! Yahoo!!

    It seems that no one likes a critic no matter where you live and that includes your neighbours north of the border. You know, the supposedly ultra-polite nation that's home to helpful Mounties and more? You see, while it was/is expected of me that I should employ creativity, collaboration and critical thought in the classroom, this expectation stops there. That is, if I have nothing nice to say I had better not say anything at all when it comes to students, educational policy and its administration. And while it's OK for me to have high expectations of myself, I best keep in mind that the goal of education nowadays seems to be high retention and graduation rates along with high levels of instilled self-esteem. After all, no one likes it when the sky is falling. Sigh. And parents are surprised to find out that so many kids who had a happy childhood and by extension a happy school life find themselves in therapy as adults for--what else but--general unhappiness (please see the July issue of Atlantic magazine). It seems withholding the truth and sugar-coating the facts doesn't do them any favours at all.

    The truth hurts. But it's the right thing to do. Kids are worth it. Our society deserves it.

    Keep up the good fight. I am. And I have the letters, assessments and meeting minutes to prove it.

    Yours in education.


    Roger Curtis

  53. @ Lindsay, SandsBoo, and a few others who complain about their comments not being printed:

    As you will note, there are, in fact, dissenting opinions posted above. It is not one's disagreement that gets a comment tossed out; it's the way in which that disagreement is phrased. Those which directly attack the author without saying anything constructive are not printed.

    There are plenty of other places--newspaper comment spots, facebook anti-support pages, etc--where you can do post hate-messages about me personally. You won't be doing it on my blog, however.

  54. While you no doubt have students who are exactly as you described, you have a professional responsibility to act, you know, professionally. If you cannot do that then my suggestion is you find another career. And I say this as a parent of not one, but two teachers, and one son who is still in high school.

  55. This is absolutely GREAT. Thank you for telling the truth about lazy students who think they're entitled to better grades because they ask for them, for standing up to stupid HR bureaucrats, for having the courage NOT to apologize, and for being an excellent teacher. Please keep up the courageous stand you've been taking. I have two young daughters who I hope will have a teacher like you some day. The posters who suggest you behaved "unprofessionally" sicken me. If behaving professionally means turning a blind eye to this sort of stupid behavior by students, screw "professionalism". Professionalism is nothing but formalized lying and permissiveness.

    By the way, I went through a quarter century of schooling. I asked that a grade be reviewed ONCE, when I thought the grader had made an honest mistake. The teacher apologized and changed my grade. I would be deeply embarrassed to EVER ask a grade be changed for no other reason than I didn't like it. I looked on my teachers as people who were helping me, not adversaries. I tried my best to collaborate with them on my education, not oppose them at every juncture. It's appalling how so many students view their education.

  56. Congrats to you. I hope your return is met with a positive environment and support. As far as your very honest blogging, I feel your pain! I teach English and history at a middle school. You go, girl!

  57. I just wanted to tell you I agree with your assessment of kids in america. They are lazy and lifeless because of their parents stupidity concerning the true nature of humanity. Kids are bombarded with television, internet, texting, excessive amounts of food, etc. It's no wonder that they lack desire to do anything. They are given everything freely by parents that are stupid to our nature as animals to take for granted what is given to us over and over again at zero cost. It's like our federal government right now....since they can print all the money they need they simply take it for granted. They will print us into a severe depression (although between you and I the depression is coming no matter what anybody does). Parents that are smart enough to be directly involved in their children's lives produce the best quality children. Those that are completely uninvolved produce the next generation of post hole diggers.

  58. Natalie,

    It has been a while since I have read your blog and the posts that you made, but if I remember correctly, I thought that you were an intelligent person who seeks to be a good educator. I didn't agree with some of the things you said, but I understand how when we educators (or anyone) are frustrated, sometimes what we say can come across poorly. I also know that none of us can get the complete picture of the situation if we are removed from it.

    I hope that you find a positive experience this year. I also hope that maybe your situation can open a forum with the students who did choose your class so that you can discuss how everyone can be mutually respectful, as well as honest with each other. I think that given the right opportunity, you can turn around this "bad publicity" to make it a positive outcome for both you and your students.

  59. I don't think the problem has ever been what you are saying, I would argue that the majority of staff at your school agree with you. It's how you are saying it (aggressive), and an authority figure does have the power to treat you unfairly due to personally disliking you because of it. You could argue the exact same points while being polite and respectful to him or her, and I bet you you'd be surprised how the same exact people would want to hear you out and help. You can't force/sue people into treating you like they like you, you can only make them like you.


Please feel free to comment. However, please note that not all comments will be posted, and that it does take time to read through them, so your comments may not be read the day you write them.

Thanks to all for your thoughts.