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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Could I get Fired For Doing This?…

By “this”, I mean writing a blog about the daily experiences and commentary about the characters and events in schools. The question stems from a recent news story about a teacher that did just that:

“…Natalie Munroe, a teacher at Central Bucks East High School in Doylestown, Pa., was fired Tuesday night after a long controversy over the content of her foul-mouthed, tell-all blog

She’s now suing the school district for violations of her right of free speech:
”It's about freedom of speech. It's about having integrity and not compromising the truth

I’m not gonna guess how this all turns out but I suspect she won’t be working for that district in the future, but that’s not the point.

What would happen to me if the school district took issue with something I wrote about? Would I get fired? Would I get sued? 

While I don’t think my blog is anywhere near as controversial as Natalie’s, the district could take exception and do something about it.

Would I get fired?  The answer is: no! If they formally “fired” me, I could theoretically file for unemployment benefits which increase the employer insurance contribution.

It’s more likely they’d just quietly remove me from the call list and not say a word.

How do I know? It’s happened before (for a different reason)


Alex Valencic said...

I started blogging as a substitute teacher two years ago, then last year I was hired to teach full-time and I continued to blog. I have a few self-imposed rules to make sure there is never a reason to fear disciplinary action for blogging:

I am not anonymous in my blogging, but my students are never mentioned by name (or usually even by gender), nor are my colleagues or my administration.

I keep everything on my blog positive and self-reflective.

I share my blog with my students, their families, my colleagues, and my administration.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of educators who blog. The only ones who get in trouble are the ones who use their blogs to vent in a negative, demeaning, and borderline-slanderous way.

Mr. C said...

I often have the same fear. When I created my blog I set down a few rules for myself. The biggest rule is that I make my full name is inconspicuous as possible.
Beyond that, I never mention school districts, teachers, or students by name.

Anonymous said...

TechTeacherPto3 has left a new comment on your post "Could I get Fired For Doing This?…":

Just started work as a relief teacher in Australia and my blog - I try to keep my name from it just in case. We haven't had anything like a 'firing' happen from a blog post yet.. but a couple of teaches did get the sack because of posting a couple of pics on their fb profile of them drinking/partying which I thought was insane!

Anonymous said...

I must say that even though I read and like your blog, I have wondered what the schools might think of it. Not because there's anything wrong or controversial, but because the districts are so sensitive these days. If a teacher can be fired for posting a picture of herself on FB drinking beer from a stein in Germany, what's next? This was not a partying teacher, she was on vacation & that's almost a requirement in Germany!
I think as long as you keep it clean & positive, and don't even hint at the names of students or schools, you'll be fine.