79-year-old teacher quits job, refuses to delete student Facebook friends

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CHARLESTOWN, N.H. – A 79-year-old substitute teacher quit her job after her bosses ordered her to delete thousands of students from her Facebook page.

The New Hampshire Union Leader reported Carol Thebarge left Stevens High School after working as a paraprofessional and substitute teacher for 35 years.

Today will be my last day at Stevens High,” Thebarge said, in a Facebook announcement. “I was given an ultimatum; to either delete every student from my Facebook page and do not post pictures of them, or be terminated.”

She said the ultimatum came after a math teacher was recently charged with sexual assault on a 14-year-old girl in his classroom.

She said she started deleting students, but stopped after about 50 when she had students start asking her what they did wrong.

Facebook teacher

Thebarge said some students have seen her Facebook page as a place where they can send private messages about being bullied or feeling depressed.

Thebarge said she has had a wonderful career and did not want things to end this way.

“In truth, being a caring, lovely woman doesn’t give you immunity to ignore a school board policy that’s designed to protect everyone,” the school superintendent said.

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  • Tony Radosevich

    I think the school board overstepped their authority with their policy as long as it is her private facebook they cannot tell her what to do with it. Isn’t America the land of the free?
    School board needs to find something better to do with their time..smh..

  • Sam Onomatopoeia Perry

    Here’s the deal.

    Mrs. T, as she is known, is a substitute teacher, therefore she is not under the same contract as many of the other teachers in this district.

    Often, when she comes into a classroom, she not only gets the students to work (something many subs fail to do), but many of those students become great friends with her because she has an incredibly kind soul, a well-shaped intellect, and a command of philosophy that others may only hope to aspire to. Because of this, she is often on the receiving end of a lot of students’ problems, as they come to her for advice and guidance. For those students who wanted to come to her with more serious issues or things that may not be appropriate to speak about in class, she opened her heart and her Facebook page.

    I have NEVER in my four years at Stevens and my year beyond seen her do anything with that website that was inappropriate or beyond the position as a respected leader and a cherished friend to all 3,000 people who are connected to her. Through this page she shares deep and powerful messages of self-empowerment and light-hearted updates about her life with her two adorable cats. That’s about it. Yet it makes 3,000 people ‘tune in’ and learn a little, and countless others message her for advice, including current students, because they know that no matter how dire or potentially controversial the situation, she will respond with love and care.

    I have NEVER seen her give up on a student, even those who have had a terrible home life and as a result are often in trouble or failing classes. These are the kids she helps the most. She acts as a mentor and a guide to these kids and I dare say that it is more because of HER, more than any other teacher, administrator, or mentor in the school, that these kids are able to transcend these difficulties and walk across the stage at graduation each year. And you know how she does it? By popping in and checking on her ‘kids’, by posting on their walls. Even a simple ‘posting to brighten your day’, to a kid who is losing hope, can do so much.

    The school seeks to eliminate this, and in doing so, they have alienated more people than they could ever expect to agree with them. There is a certain professionalism that must be expected of all employees when it comes to social media, but this should be maintained by education and common sense instead of simply taking away their right to do as they please outside of the school’s doors. Just as the other teacher was punished accordingly for acting inappropriately, so should anyone who creates trouble with this platform. Those who have used it to do good in the community and the school should not have their rights taken from them.

    Because of this, the 3,000 people left behind on Facebook are the only ones who will remember how she was in class. The thousands of children who need a ‘helping hand’ with things other than math problems at that school, in the days and years to come, will be left without someone to reach out to them. And that, friends, is more ‘inappropriate’ than any post she has written.

  • John Canning

    It seems to me that most school boards have gotten their start somewhere in Nazi Germany, with all this common core, zero tolerance and dress codes, half of these same teachers would not be teachers if the rules that they are imposing on the kids of today were in place when they themselves were students…..oh and here is a thought, they want drug testing for students then they should live by the same rule

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