DOYLESTOWN, Pa. - A suburban Philadelphia teacher suspended last year for a blog in which she called students "disengaged, lazy whiners" has been fired.
The Central Bucks school board voted unanimously Tuesday night to terminate the employment of Natalie Munroe, retroactive to June 7, The (Doylestown) Intelligencer (http://bit.ly/OpvACU ) said.
Munroe, 31, of Warminster, who had been an English teacher at Central Bucks East High School since 2006, had filed suit Friday in federal court alleging that her freedom of speech rights had been violated. Her attorney, Steve Rovner, said the district had notified his client of its intention to fire her.
School board president Paul Faulkner read a statement saying the decision had nothing to do with freedom of speech but stemmed from the board's "obligation to have satisfactory teachers in its classrooms."
Faulkner said Munroe's lawsuit contends that she was given excellent ratings as a teacher but he called her "at best, a satisfactory teacher" who "was experiencing performance difficulties well before her blog became an issue."
Munroe was suspended in February of last year after school officials became aware of her blog, in which she also described some students as "frightfully dim," ''whiny" and "tactless."
Her suit contends that the superintendent and her principal violated her free-speech rights by "harassing and retaliating against her" over the blog. She said administrators made frequent unannounced observations and subjected her to "ridiculous and overly critical evaluations."
Faulkner, however, said Munroe was "subject to the same supervisory observations from district administrators as other teachers and all found her performance to be unsatisfactory."
After her suspension, the district's superintendent said it would be "impossible" for her to return after her maternity leave but in August she was reinstated. Officials said, however, that dozens of students had asked to be kept out of her classes and a substitute was brought in to teach some of them.
The blog, "Where Are We Going & Why Are We in This Handbasket," was written under the name "Natalie M." and did not identify her school, district, colleagues, or students. But the blog did include her picture.
On the blog, Munroe listed some comments she wished she could post on student evaluations, including: "I hear the trash company is hiring"; "I called out sick a couple of days just to avoid your son"; and "Just as bad as his sibling. Don't you know how to raise kids?"
"My students are out of control," Munroe wrote in another post. "They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners. They curse, discuss drugs, talk back, argue for grades, complain about everything, fancy themselves entitled to whatever they desire, and are just generally annoying."