JOHNS CREEK, Ga -- A Fulton County teacher is out of a job because of posts she made on her personal Facebook page badmouthing one of her students who -- the teacher says -- has a learning disability.
The teacher resigned after the district questioned her about the posts.
A school district spokeswoman says Jennifer Lynch, who teaches several classes of Latin – from beginning through honors – resigned on Monday after meeting with the human resources department for Fulton County Schools over her disturbing Facebook posts.
She made derogatory and profane comments in posts on the last day of school before the holiday break, December 18. She referred to an unnamed student who was given additional time to finish tests because of what she characterized as a learning disability.
She began the posts with "thanks a lot, kid, for finally coming to finish your effin' final more than THREE HOURS after school let out."
Then, she called him a derogatory name.
Later, she wrote, "He has some (expletive) disorder: one of those 'we don't know what his disorder is and we don't want him to be labeled, so we are not going to find out, but we want academic accommodations anyway' disorders."
She explained to her more than 400 Facebook friends that "he gets an extra hour for each final, and complains he decided to finish all six on Friday afternoon."
Next, she posted a meme with an expletive.
Finally, she wrote, "Holy (expletive), he's finally gone. I get to go home now. Only 5.5 hours after school let out.
She explained that, "On the way out, he says I'll be the last student to walk through the doors of JCHS in 2015", which she said is "not funny, but tragic."
She ended with, "I want to be sad for you, but at the end of the day, we're all better off now that you're not around."
Fulton County Schools, which touts its "Where students come first", sent the following statement:
"We are appalled at the social media posts and the disrespect shown to a student. Ms. Lynch met with our Human Resources Division yesterday (the first day back for teachers) where she was notified that this behavior did not meet the standard of professionalism expected of all Fulton County teachers. She decided to resign her position and is no longer employed by Fulton County Schools. FCS does not monitor the personal social media of our staff but employees are accountable for the use of good judgement."
"There's no reasonable expectation or explanation for using profane language like that, especially when you are not only representing yourself but the school you work for," said Candance Ledetter, a former middle school teacher who is now a social media consultant.
She said Lynch should know personal posts are never really private
"Social media is built on seeing somebody's page and then sharing it to the world," said Ledbetter.
She suggested there are three tips everyone should thing about before their next post.
"Somebody is always lurking," she said. "Somebody's posting is always posing as big brother on your page. The second thing is never, ever say anything negative about your job. The quickest way to earn a pink slip is to say something negative about the hand that feeds you. The third things to remember is what you say never goes away, so if you're somebody who has no filter or if you have a potty mouth, your best bet is not to be on social media at all."
While Fulton County does not have a specific social media policy, the issue falls under the district's standard of professional conduct.
11Alive checked with other metro Atlanta school districts and found some of them have policies and some do not.
A Gwinnett County Schools spokeswoman said, "In Gwinnett, our Human Resources staff would investigate this type of situation, looking at a number of issues--- Was this posted using district technology? Was the employee on the clock? Are there any student privacy concerns? Does the posting impact their effectiveness? Our Responsible Use policy and procedures address social media use, reminding teachers that their posts are a reflection on them. The procedure asks employees to consider the information being distributed and its impact on their credibility as a staff member and their ability to perform their duties."
Cobb County Schools has specific guidelines for educators' use of social networks, which includes telling them, "Post what you want that world to see."