— A Pennsylvania teacher was fired after slamming her students in a blog, but now she’s fighting back, claiming school administrators held her to an unfair standard.
Natalie Munroe, who teaches honors English at Central Bucks East High School in Doylestown, Pa., was in her job for six years. Then last year, she gained national attention for calling her students “utterly loathsome,” “lazy,” and “frightfully dim,” on her blog “Where are we going & why are we in this handbasket.” She also mentioned that her students appeared “rat-like.” The posts quickly went viral.
On Tuesday Munroe was fired, and she alleges the dismissal was backlash for her posts. However, the school says it was Munroe who didn’t make the grade. The school’s board dismissed her following a unanimous 7-0 vote. According to the New York Daily News, Munroe and her lawyer filed suit against the school district last Friday, claiming her right to free speech was violated.
‘Disrespectful and disturbing’
Munroe said she isn’t sorry for what she said, because the posts were true and they were meant to be anonymous. She posted under the name “Natalie M.” and didn’t mention the name of the school, students, parents or her colleagues. She did, however, include a real photo of herself.
“The intent of my blog was never to be an exposé on the world,” Munroe said. “It was to get out my feelings like a diary.”
When students got word of the posts they were stunned. One said, “It really offended a lot of people so I don’t think it’s right for her to really stand by that.”
Abe Lucabaugh, the principal at Central Bucks East, said “her comments were unprofessional, disrespectful and disturbing, particularly coming from the heart of an educator.”
After Munroe’s blog was noticed, she was suspended in February of last year. Some called on her to apologize for her posts, which included the words “tactless” and “dunderheads” to describe her students. She also criticized parents in her blog, asking, “Don’t you know how to raise kids?”
Munroe continues to refuse to offer an apology, saying, “Sometimes the truth hurts.”
When Munroe returned to work last summer, she said she faced a series of unannounced observations in her classroom. In her lawsuit she alleges she was fired in retaliation for her protected free speech.
She said of the dismissal, “It was clear it was what they were leaning towards the entire year because they were holding me to different standards as other teachers.”
While Munroe’s posts have lessened in frequency, she did respond to her dismissal, saying, “I’ve been set up.” She continues to stand by what she said in her blog posts. “I know that people are mad about them, but they were true.”
The school board has said her dismissal had nothing to do with her free speech and everything to do with her performance, and that her review process was the same of that of other teachers.
“This is my career,” Munroe told NBC’s Aditi Roy. “This is what I want to do.”