Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Natalie Munroe Blog Controversy Sparks Area School District Policy Reform

SAN NARCISO, Calif. -- Pennsylvania school teacher Natalie Munroe was suspended last week for posting derisive and occasionally profane critiques of her students on a personal blog. Munroe has fired back at the school district, citing both a violation of her First Amendment rights and the district’s absence of an Internet policy to deter blogging of this nature. Munroe states that she neither used her full name on the site nor published the names of the school or its students. In the wake of the controversy, the San Narciso County School District has implemented a spartan “no tolerance” policy for similar blogs, and three teachers have already been suspended.

The Munroe Case
Natalie Munroe maintained the blog in question for over a year, but only recently was it discovered by school officials. On the blog, she posted descriptions of students that included statements such as “A complete and utter jerk in all ways,” “Although academically okay your child has no other redeeming qualities,” “I hear the trash company is hiring,” and “There’s no other way to say this, I hate your kid.”

Outraged parents have called for the district to reprimand Munroe. The blog has been taken down.

A spokesperson from the superintendent’s office said, “We agree with parents that this behavior was unprofessional and inappropriate. However, we also believe that a lot of the outrage stems from parents who are upset at not knowing for sure if Natalie was talking about their kids. She never used any names.”

One parent confirmed that the students remained anonymous in the posts, but called Munroe’s defamation inexcusable and unethical.

“It really ticks me off. She has no business talking about my son that way, if she was in fact talking about my son. Sure, he’s a jerk with no redeeming qualities. Academically, he’s a B student. And for the most part, my wife and I hate his guts. So, I’m assuming that he’s one of Ms. Munroe’s targets. But damn it, what entitles her to tell the world about behavior we’ve worked really hard to rationalize and make excuses for? Nothing. She should be fired. She’s a lackluster and ineffective teacher with no control of her students. She’s a bitch, and I wish all bad things on her. Nobody should be given access to a public forum just to slander another person they disagree with, especially someone they don’t really know. It’s unconstitutional. I bet her womb’s barren and that she kicks puppies. She’ll end up in prison for raping her students one day -- she’s that type of criminal. You wait and see.”

Munroe’s peers say that they’ve also been tempted to write blogs about their experiences with students. Another teacher at Central Bucks East High School told reporters, “I know Natalie, and she’s a good person. But you can only take so much. These parents spend zero time at home with their children. They dump them at school and expect us to babysit. Then they come home from work and tune out.”

Parents in the district took offense to the statement. Said Milton Perkuisant, “That’s what I’m paying taxes for. That’s their job, to educate my kids and prepare them for the world. Otherwise, why the hell am I’m paying to keep these ridiculous schools open?”

In her own defense, Munroe said that since No Child Left Behind, the district has changed all the course curricula to reflect only those programs needed to ensure that students pass the tests. She also pointed out that despite the cuts, she was trying to offer career avenues to those students who were not likely to continue on to college.

“When I noted that the trash company was hiring,” Munroe clarified, “I was trying to provide some direction to a failing student who was never going to land a job on Wall Street or design the next Facebook...which I’m no longer allowed to use, by the way.”

A friend close to Munroe explained, “Natalie’s only allowed to teach the kids to pass the tests so the school makes its money. It’s mostly math and science. After they eliminated the language and liberal arts programs, none of us thought the students would actually be able to read the blog posts.”

San Narciso County Reacts
Upon hearing of the Munroe scandal, parents, students and school board officials in San Narciso County began combing the Internet in search of similarly derogatory blogs. As a result, three local teachers have been suspended, pending a formal investigation.

The blogs discovered, authored by teachers from various schools in the area, contained pointed criticisms of student hygiene, behavior, and even of fellow educators.

Sample Post 1:
To the geeks in my science class: You have bad breath but insist on standing centimeters away from our faces when you talk to us. And before you say it, I’m aware that you can represent a centimeter as 1E−2 m in scientific notation, so let’s get past that right now.

There are several problems here. First, you must know that your breath is rancid. You know what unsavory victuals you stuff down your gullet. You know whether or not you have maintained good oral hygiene. You can probably even smell yourself. So step the hell away.
Second, whether your breath smells like a fresh alpine mint or a mixture of the festering corpse of a Taun-Taun caked in Wampa dung and Carrie Fisher’s bra after a bender, you’re violating our personal space. Again, step the hell back, Tesla.
Third, people with halitosis have few, if any, friends. That’s just the reality of the situation. People who seem unclean have been shunned by society long before Leviticus laid down the rules. So, given that you are most likely one of these pariahs, chances are good that we don’t want to hear what you have to say anyway...especially while your filthy maw hovers a hair’s breadth away from our noses.

If you’re worried that you might be one of these smelly nuisances, you probably are. Take care of it, or go into self-imposed exile. I understand that Spandau and Elba have vacancies. Toothbrushes and soap too.

Sample Post 2:
Hi Drama Club. The boy’s room has a single purpose: to relieve your body of waste as quickly and cleanly as possible. Then you wash your hands and leave.
The restroom is not a lounge, a social scene, a meeting hall nor a think tank. Do not initiate conversations unless you know the people there. And even then, exercise some restraint.
Whenever possible, try to use the “every other urinal” rule. Never use the urinal immediately next to an occupied urinal if others are available. You’re liable to find yourself wallowing on the ground with a black eye, covered in piss. The piss won’t be yours.
And to the teachers who linger in restrooms, you creepers are begging to have your faces clubbed in. I’ve seen you there, standing at the mirror, picking your teeth, combing your hair and waiting...waiting for who knows what. Godot, maybe? I’ve never understood Beckett, but I’m sure you do (sarcasm). You didn’t even piss. You’re just passing time in the public crapper.
Look, it’s not a homophobic thing. Gay men are pissed off at you too. Don’t even try to brush off our loud denunciations of your embarrassing behavior as homophobia. Personally, I’m flattered when people check me out, even if it ends in laughter and tears. But you, I don’t know what you are. What makes your inexplicable presence in the WC any less unnerving than a man in an overcoat lurking in an alleyway next to a woman’s gym? What makes you think we look upon you any more favorably than we would a dude parked for hours alone in front of a children’s playground? You may not even realize you’re doing this, but if you’re combing your hair when I unzip and still perfecting your coiffure when I towel off, I’m thinking “kiddie rapist.”

Sample Post 3:
Yes, your fellow teachers are disgusting idiots. No, you’re not crazy. Honestly, what it does it say about your city’s educators that the principal feels forced to post signs in the teacher’s lounge urging them to maintain even a minimal sense of hygiene? You’ve seen them.
“The kitchen sink is not a trash can. Please put your garbage in the waste basket.”
“When the coffee pot is empty, please turn off the burners.”
“Please remember to flush the toilets when you’re done.”
“Please stop wiping your boogers on the wall above the urinal. We know it’s you because students aren’t allowed in here.”
“Ladies, please put your used tampons in the special trash can. It’s labeled ‘Tampons’ for a reason. If you can’t read that, you have no business teaching others to read.”
“The lounge is for everyone to use and enjoy; it’s not a church group. Please be respectful of others.”
“Yes, telling women they have nice tits is sexual harassment. Yes, we have told you several times and made you attend mandatory training sessions on this very subject. No, just because you’re a counsellor doesn’t make it legal.”
“It doesn’t matter if you came out of the superintendent’s vagina or into it, we have a zero-tolerance policy on nepotism.”

Sample Post 4:
You’re child isn’t any good at piano because we cut the music program. Your child is fat because we eliminated PE. If you live in the county, chances are good you voted for the moron responsible for No Child Left Behind. That’s why you’re precious little spawn can’t formulate a sentence longer than 140 characters. Fortunately for you, all the money that would’ve gone to education has been reallocated in tax cuts to Yoyodyne for oil exploration. They need ditch diggers, so at least your son will have a job when he drops out of high school. And if you can teach your baby girl to make a pot of coffee and keep fit, there’s a lucrative career in front office management for the taking! Unlike our public schools, they offer a very comprehensive training program.