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Not Smart: Teachers Mock Elementary School Students on Facebook

Not Smart: Teachers Mock Elementary School Students on Facebook

A first-grade teacher in Paterson, New Jersey, has been placed on administrative leave after she posted comments on Facebook that her students are “future criminals.” Parents have removed their children from the teacher’s classroom, and the president of the Paterson branch of the NAACP has contacted Superintendent Donnie Evans:

…a resident told [the NAACP president] a teacher had written on Facebook, “I’m not a teacher. I’m a warden for future criminals.”

“First, I thought it was a joke,” said Kenneth Clayton of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Paterson branch. “I couldn’t believe any adult would act that stupid, would have a perception of our children that’s so demeaning and negative.”

The teacher has been assigned a lawyer through the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), New Jersey’s teachers’ union, says NJ.com.

In Chicago, another teacher has reportedly made inappropriate comments about a student. According to ABC News, 7-year-old Ukailya Lofton, a student at Overton Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois, had asked her mother to put Jolly Rancher candies at the end of her braids. Ukailya, who is described as liking math and dressing up, had seen the style in a magazine. A computer teacher apparently asked Ukailya if she could take a photo of her on her cell phone and then posted it on Facebook:

“She took a picture of me and then she said my boyfriend can’t believe this,” Ukailya told ABC7.

“She told me her teacher told her to put her hair in her face and she took out her cell phone and she took a picture, not knowing she was putting my baby on Facebook and criticize her,” said Lucinda Williams, mother.

Williams says she copied some of the comments from the teacher’s Facebook page. The teacher allegedly wrote, “right, this is for picture day.” Then someone commented,”if you are going to make your child look ridiculous, the least you can do is have them matching.” Another wrote,”yeah, this is foolishness.” And one added, “I laughed so hard that my contact popped out.”

“My mama told me she put it on Facebook and then I felt sad,” said Ukailya.

While the Chicago teacher has deleted the Facebook page, she has not apologized to Ukailya and has not been suspended. Williams has hired an attorney and is considering suing the Chicago Public Schools system.

In a post about Ukailya, Digital Life Today notes that

We’ve previously heard of more than one incident in which a teacher lost his or her job after somehow inappropriately using Facebook, but we wonder if this is less a case of a teacher overstepping boundaries and more a matter of a woman failing to remember what it’s like to be a child.

I do think that this might be the case. However, teachers are in a position of responsibility and Facebook, while used by so many to exchange personal information and to communicate, is a very public space. The Paterson School District did the right thing to place the teacher who described her first-graders as “future criminals” on administrative leave. Of course teachers will talk about their students, but their are other places to do such.

At the very least, the Chicago School District computer school teacher owes Ukailya an apology.

 

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Photo by west.m.

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130 comments

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8:11AM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

My neighbor was my junior high teacher in '74. Still teaching, he says the kids have become ABSOLUTE animals today with threats and intimidation sent his way all too often. What's going on? He says he struggles to make a difference in each students life somehow, but feels the rewards of his profession are being eclipsed by the stress of being both parent and teacher.


8:04AM PDT on Aug 2, 2011

And we wonder why a lot of these kids sometimes do grow up to be criminals, when you have teachers already labeling them, and probably subconsciously, treating them as such. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I'm not saying all teachers are like this because I know there are many good teachers in low income high crime areas who work themselves to death to reach these kids but I'm sure there are probably many teachers like this out there. And do us all a favor and print her name, if you print the 7 year old victim's name have the decency to print the scumbag's name.

9:57PM PDT on May 31, 2011

Debra K: Hear hear!

3:54PM PDT on May 2, 2011

This dork of a woman should be fired. Anyone who is insensitive enough to do that to a child shouldn't have the right to be teaching - anyone, not even adults. Her morals are questionable. I remember my 4th grade teacher making fun of some of the students in my class including me. I was hurt and as you see I've never forgotten it. Incidents like this one while they may seem inconsequential to some adults are hurtful and have a lasting impact on kids. It's just wrong to allow a person like this woman to teach.

11:28PM PDT on Apr 9, 2011

Unfortunate comment, but is it probable?

8:56AM PDT on Apr 8, 2011

What a pathetic example of the teachers teaching our children these days - does not surprise me in the least - Watch "Waiting for Superman" a documentary on the public schools - eyeopening account on the dysfunction that our kids are treading through on a daily basis!

12:19AM PDT on Apr 6, 2011

i support the teachers. bad judgement call here perhaps, but nothing compared to what they have to put up with from the public school system and the children they are supposed to babysit.

11:59AM PDT on Apr 5, 2011

Teachers are supposed to be adult and show their students how to act. This is not the case here, and if any of these teachers do not like the kind of kids in the schools where they work, go elsewhere, but keep your opinions and immature comments to yourself. One of the biggest problems with social media is just this kind of diarrhea of the mouth!

1:53AM PDT on Apr 5, 2011

Probably speaks the truth. More and more kids don't get any discipline at home and they don't get it at school. Where are the boundaries? I had the occasion of meeting a teacher who, while administering her class a test, answered her classroom door to a student who beat her around her head and shoulders with a hammer! While the teacher, who had just discovered she was pregnant, did not lose her life nor that of her child, she did receive the gift of a permanently placed titanium rod in her body.

6:34PM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

They know that goes out to the world - that was a bad move on the teacher's behalf. Atleast the parents/schools know about their feelings towards the students now. If they really hate their job so much and think so little of the students, they should find another job. I certainly wouldn't want my child posted up on facebook.

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