Natalie Munroe: A Tale of a Teacher in a Digital Age

The Central Bucks East teacher who was suspended for blogging about her students is trying to change education—one blog post at a time

In comments on public Facebook pages, using their real names, listed as belonging to the “Central Bucks East High School” network, many of these “almost utopian” students let loose:

… she was retarded.

MS. MUNROE … YOUR A FUCKING TEACHER, NOW FUCKING ACT LIKE IT, YOUR 3 YR OLD DAUGHTER HAS MORE RESPECT THAN YOU!

Fuck capitalism, fuck communism, fuck the American dream, fuck America, fuck your blind faith, fuck society not the kids or the parents.

An East teacher defends them: “They don’t always make the right comment and don’t carry themselves as adults, because they’re not. They’re kids.”

It was a perfect storm. The kids understood all the fancy new media, but didn’t care about the risks of airing all their thoughts on it. And the adults? They understood the consequences, but not the medium where this whole thing had been playing out.

Principal Lucabaugh, for one, hadn’t seen any of the students’ comments online. As he wrote in response to an e-mail from a Munroe supporter: “I don’t belong to [F]acebook.”

ONE ADULT, THOUGH, seems to have figured it out.

Recently, rumors swirled in teachers’ lounges at East that Munroe had a book deal in the works. While she admits to being naive about the privacy of posting online, she isn’t naive about her future, especially now that she has Anna Caroline at home, born on March 26th. Her maternity leave ends in May.

“Hopefully, in the end, it will work out and I can teach again,” she says. “I have no control over it. What can I do?”

What she’s decided to do is something made possible by this brave new media world: She can build an online platform. She can take advantage of the national press and the fact that a Google search for “Natalie Munroe” yields nearly half a million results. She can keep writing online, where a 30-year-old with fewer than nine semesters of teaching under her belt can start the “conversation” about problems in education. More than 3,000 people “like” the “I Support Natalie Munroe” Facebook page. In mid-April, her new blog had 635 followers. There have been more than 100,000 visits to her site since she launched it, averaging about 400 views a day. Two recent posts have been viewed around 3,000 times each.

Maybe she doesn’t need to teach again.

On March 3rd, Natalie Munroe appeared on “Fox & Friends” for the second time. The show was running a segment on coddling kids. And they called in Natalie Munroe.

As an expert.

 

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  • Tad

    Ready for a brave, new, and wildly unique teacher’s journal? One that’s deeply thoughtful, literate, and downright funny? Then enjoy A Dixie Diary, at http://www.adixiediary.com.

    The response from readers all over the world has been astonishing. Actually debuting during the midst of the Natalie Munroe business, this unique online journal shows a different look at what happens in the schoolhouse by a rookie special education teacher who loves his work and his students, but he expresses his thoughts and observations in a hugely different way than Mrs. Munroe. Sure, there are some intense student-teacher moments, even some choice words, too, but mostly it’s world-class hilarious and heartwarming … like reading a good book.

    It’s the look at a teacher’s madcap classroom world we’ve been waiting for. It’s simply mesmerizing.

  • Mary

    Most teachers encounter resistance from students, whether it’s apathy or obstinance, whether it’s done publicly or privately. Most teachers have sounding boards to vent frustrations to: spouses, co

  • Jeff

    Natalie Munroe displayed disastrously poor judgment, gross immaturity and–perhaps most damning–a startlingly low level of web-savviness. (Teachers should know at least as much as their students do.) By the time this is all over, she’s likely to have become an expert in only one thing: the laws governing libel and invasion of privacy.

  • Frank

    Your comment is one of a knee jerk reaction to a limited amount of information. Did you read the original blog? How can someone be held accountable for “libel, invasion of pri” when NO NAMES were mentioned, NO SCHOOL was mentioned, and it was ANONYMOUS! Get your facts straight!

  • Frank

    Your comment is one of a knee jerk reaction to a limited amount of information. Did you read the original blog? How can someone be held accountable for “libel, invasion of pri” when NO NAMES were mentioned, NO SCHOOL was mentioned, and it was ANONYMOUS! Get your facts straight!

  • Jeff

    It does not matter whether specific names were mentioned. What matters is that the targets of her vitriol were easily identifiable. Everyone in the school quickly knew who she was talking about. Not naming names is no protection.

  • Jeff

    Read this all the way through: http://www.eff.org/issues/bloggers/legal/liability/defamation. “To state a defamation claim, the person claiming defamation need not be mentioned by name—the plaintiff only needs to be reasonably identifiable.”

  • Jeff

    Go to the Electronic Frontier Foundation Web site. Search for: Online Defamation Law

  • Jennifer

    It’s a shame, since she posted this, the only thing she should be punished for is admitting she posted one of her blogs online at school. Otherwise, she is no more at fault than the children. This

  • Jennifer

    students referred to her as comparable to the holocaust…watching your parents and siblings being slaughtered in front of you? really? Grow up. This is our future, maybe in a few weeks? What a sc

  • teddy

    cant believe we cant read the blogs?