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Teacher suspended for dissing students on Facebook

It seems even first grade teachers get mean on Facebook.

A New Jersey teacher was suspended last week after posting that she felt like a "warden" overseeing "future criminals" on her Facebook page.

The suspension came after parents saw the posting directed at their little ones on Wednesday. A band of them then showed up at the school, which sits in an impoverished neighbourhood, demanding their kids be removed from her class.

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"You can't simply fire someone for what they have on a Facebook page but if that spills over and affects the classroom then you can take action," school board president Theodore Best told The Record of North Jersey.

(It was a high-tech affair all around, as Mr. Best said he got word of the teacher's Facebook faux pas via text messages sent to him from clergy and NAACP members.)

The teacher's lawyer, Nancy Oxfeld, said the comments were made on Facebook to her friends, on her own time.

"My feeling is that if you're concerned about children, you're concerned about what goes on in the classroom, not about policing your employee's private comments to others," Ms. Oxfeld told the New York Times.

While supporters defended the New Jersey teacher's right to vent on her account, a Chicago computer teacher wasn't as lucky, this after she took to Facebook to mock one of her tiny charge's hairdos.

Ukailya Lofton, 7, celebrated picture day last week by putting Jolly Ranchers in her braids. After snapping a cell phone photo of the little girl's inventive hair style for her boyfriend, the teacher then posted it to her Facebook account.

The commenters were not kind: "If you are going to make your child look ridiculous, the least you can do is have them matching," wrote one. "I laughed so hard that my contact popped out," added another.

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The girl's quick-thinking mother copied the comments before the teacher could delete her account. She did not accept the teacher's apology and filed a lawsuit against the board last week.

Said Ukailya, "My mama told me she put it on Facebook and then I felt sad."

Has your kid's teacher ever gaffed up on Facebook? Do you keep tabs on their Facebook or Twitter accounts? Is there any argument left to be made for social media as a private space? Or should caustic teachers learn how to adjust their privacy settings?

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