Society

Teacher, 79, Fired After Refusing to 'Unfriend' Students on Facebook (Video)

| by Michael Allen

Carol Thebarge, a 79-year-old substitute teacher, was recently fired because she refused to "unfriend" her students on Facebook.

“They gave me an ultimatum, either take them all off or you are terminated,” Thebarge told CBS Boston. “And I decided that I would not comply and so I was terminated. And it’s caused a firestorm across the entire area.”

Thebarge, who was a teacher for nine years at Stevens High School in Claremont, N. H., had over 250 student friends on her Facebook page (video below).

Stevens High School administrators told Thebarge to "unfriend" the students, but she refused and lost her job.

“Facebook is a wonderful communication tool among friends,” said Superintendent Dr. Middleton McGoodwin. “But teachers are not students’ friends. She’s a wonderful lady and she’s loved by many but that doesn’t give you allowance to ignore a protocol designed to protect all.”

However, Thebarge tells a different version of her meeting with Dr. McGoodwin on her Facebook page:

 You sat in your office with me last Wednesday and were perplexed as to "why the deletion was requested of me." After all, you stated, "You are in the privacy of your own home, with your own computer.. I see nothing wrong with this."

You said you would investigate it and get back to me. You never did. Yet in an interview that you gave to the press, you stated, "I sat with her and asked her to reconsider." This never happened. This is a dishonest statement.

Thebarge recalled to WMUR how school administrators told her four years ago about deleting her student friends on Facebook, but issued its ultimatum after a fellow teacher, Christopher LeBlanc, was accused of sexually assaulting a student.

Apparently students, not the administration, are able to differentiate between the two teachers and have been protesting outside the school for Thebarge.

“She wasn’t harming anybody,” said student Kayla Jennison. “She was a great person and always helps us.”

“She was like a second mom to all of us,” added student Elizieh Sheppard.

Sources: CBS Boston, Facebook, WMUR