Teacher Learns Facebook Lesson On Privacy

Surely every teacher has a day when the little ones get so ruthless you want to rant after work. But perhaps Christine Rubino should have saved hers for an in-person chat rather than blasting it onto Facebook.

The veteran Brooklyn teacher is currently fighting for her job after a tasteless status update about her students, according to the New York Post.

Rubino told the paper her class had been “out of control… spitting on each other, kicking each other, putting gum in each other’s hair.

After that, she left her classroom and typed the following status update into her mobile device,: ”After today, I’m thinking the beach is a good trip for my class. I hate their guts.’

A friend responded, “Wouldn’t you throw a life jacket to little Kwami?”

‘No I wouldn’t for a million dollars,” said the 38-year-old teacher from PS 203 in Flatlands.

This exchange alluded to the previous day’s tragic field trip to the beach, when a 12-year-old girl drowned in front of her classmates. Rubino was clearly referring to the drowning in her first post on Facebook, but the response to the friend amounted to a gaffe beyond tasteless – and worthy of investigation, according to the school.

Rubino said that she only meant for her friends to see the posts (haven’t we all said this?). Unfortunately for Rubino, one of her friends was fellow teacher David Senatore, who immediately forwarded the postings to the assistant principal.

Although six months have passed since the incident, Rubino is still fighting for her job. It was only in December that she learned an investigation had been taking place. Rubino’s defense is that no pupils or parents saw the outburst, and that she made her marks out of frustration, not malice.

Marshall Bellovin, a lawyer who specializes in teacher rights, told the Post that Rubino’s case has to do with privacy. “There’s an expectation that this posting is to be shared with friends, not the general public. Therefore, any severe measure taken against a teacher, in my opinion, would be unfair,” he said.

Rubino holds a Master’s degree in math education and has taught at PS 203 for fifteen years. Her $78,000-a-year job hangs in the balance of the investigation, but as far as she’s concerned, “It’s a witch hunt. I like my job. I’m good at it. That’s all they should worry about.”

Readers, what do you think about the school’s investigation into Rubino’s postings? Do you consider status updates — and comments on them — a form of private speech?

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