Teacher Loses Job After Mocking Student's Name on Facebook

teacher suspended for mocking student's name

I have a question for you, and I will offer some answers in the form of multiple choice: if you found out one of your kid’s teachers was making fun of his name on Facebook, how mad would you be? 1) Not mad, 2) Pretty mad, 3) Hoppin’ mad, 4) Seriously so incredibly mad bring me this teacher’s head on a plate IMMEDIATELY.

I think my answer would be in the #3 range, but I’m not sure I’d be so angry that I’d want the teacher’s license suspended. I guess it might depend on what sort of name I’d chosen for my child — which is why I’m so incredibly curious to know the details behind this New Jersey teacher’s suspension for ridiculing a student’s name online.

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Teacher Yvette Nicholas has resigned from her tenured job at Pine Lakes Elementary School in New Jersey, and state officials have suspended her teaching license for a year after she posted some mocking comments about a student’s name on her Facebook account. Nicholas said the boy had only been her student for a few days, and she "obviously did not harbor any ill will towards the young man or his family during such a short time period," but she agreed that her behavior was immature.

Tragically for us all, the boy’s actual name hasn’t been published, but apparently a syllable of the name sounds like a common expletive. Nicolas admitted she posted several comments about his name on Facebook, including,

I want to ask the parents if I can change it.

And,

I still can’t get over the student’s name!

She’s accused of posting additional comments such as, “How do you think I feel when I have to address him???? I literally can’t stop laughing! I have to go all year with this—!!!” and subsequently the school district determined she had violated the district’s harassment, intimidation, and bullying policy.

I won’t go so far as to make a bunch of guesses as to what the boy’s name might be, but I’m sure we can all use our imaginations. This reminds me a little of the kid in my high school who was saddled with the name Richard Sprick. I mean, Dick Sprick? Even worse: he was the principal’s son.

I can’t really blame the teacher for having an amused internal reaction to an eyebrow-raising name, but posting about it on Facebook was just insanely stupid. It’s too bad she lost her job and her license over what may have been a spur-of-the-moment status update, but I don’t have a lot of sympathy. It was beyond foolish and she should have expected negative repercussions for her choice.

Let’s all hope young Mr. Hal E. Shite -- or whatever his name was -- has an otherwise unremarkable school year.

Do you think the teacher’s actions should have resulted in her losing her license?


Image via quinnanya/Flickr

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