Natalie Munroe blog raising questions of teacher free speech
Everyone gets a little frustrated at work or other people now and again. On Natalie Munroe’s blog, the high school teacher ranted about her students and job. When that blog was brought to administrator’s attention, Natalie Munroe was suspended, and she may be fired.
The contents of the Natalie Munroe blog
Natalie Munroe is a high school English teacher in Feasterville, Pa. The 30-year-old started a blog in 2009 in about her life and thoughts on being a teacher. In the 80 posts on her blog, she talked about her students about 25 percent of the time. Though the blog has since been taken down, it is available as a cached page. She says things such as: “Kids! They are disobedient, disrespectful oafs. Noisy, crazy, sloppy, lazy LOAFERS.” as well as coming up with a list of “alternate” report card barbs such as:
I hear the trash company is hiring. I called out sick a couple of days just to avoid your son. Rude, beligerent [sic], argumentative f**k. Just as bad as his sibling. Don’t you know how to raise kids? Nowhere near as good as her sibling. Are you sure they’re related?” Shy isn’t cute in 11th grade; it’s annoying. Must learn to advocate for himself instead of having Mommy do it.
Does the Natalie Munroe blog count as free speech?
When Natalie Munroe’s students found their teacher’s blog, they brought it to the attention of administrators. The administrators suspended Munroe, and are considering firing her. Munroe has hired a lawyer, who says that they will be fighting these actions on the basis that a personal blog counts as free speech. Munroe was careful to not provide any identifying information about her school or her students. Administrators may be able to fire Munroe based not the fact that she admits to blogging on school computers and on school time.
Other blogging teachers
Natalie Munroe is not the only teacher who blogs about her frustration with the educational system. “Fed Up With Lunch” is a blog kept carefully non-identifying that expresses the anger at the school lunch program. Teachers walk a fine line between expressing their frustration about the system they work in and keeping their jobs.