A 79-year-old substitute teacher quit her job after school officials told her she had to de-friend all of the students connected to her Facebook account.
Carol Thebarge has been teaching for 35 years at 32 different schools, but she says she won’t be coming back to Stevens High in Charleston, New Hampshire because she won’t be intimidated into deleting her students from her Facebook account.
The problems seem to stem from an incident between a 29-year-old Math teacher and a 14-year-old Female student. That teacher has been charged with four counts of sexual assault of a minor and has been since been fired. That led to an increased enforcement of the school’s social media policy. which required Thebarge to delete every student at the school that is friends with her on Facebook.
Thebarge said she tried to delete the students that were on her Facebook account, but said she stopped when she started getting heartfelt messages from the teens asking what they did wrong that caused Thebarge to delete them.
In a scathing post on Facebook, Thebarge said the problems go far beyond the Facebook policy, and they stem from the Superintendent she says.
Thebarge accuses the school of lying about their knowledge of her Facebook page, took offense at having her name “lumped in” with the “criminal teacher.” But it is her accusations of fostering a culture of fear and intimidation that are perhaps most troubling.
“Recently, Mrs Irish, the former school board member mentioned she would not vote for another budget. And her reason? ‘You asked us to find the best and the brightest. And we did. And now they are gone.’ She is not the only one that feels this Middleton. The parents do. The students are crushed. They are bewildered, confused and frightened. .
. . .You are straining at gnats and swallowing camels on one hand, and on the other hand, cutting positions of vital importance both academically and emotionally for the students. All I hear from the retired teachers when I encounter them, is ‘Thank God I am out of there’. . .”
The Facebook page “Let Mrs. T continue subbing without deleting her friends!” currently has 596 members.
Some students are reportedly calling for a Walk Out at the school today, it is unclear at press time how that turned out.
[Photo Credit: Carol Thebarge]