CHARLESTOWN, N.H. – A 79-year-old substitute teacher quit her job after school officials ordered her to delete thousands of students from her Facebook page and she refused.
The New Hampshire Union Leader reported that Charlestown resident Carol Thebarge has left Stevens High School.
Thebarge has been working as a paraprofessional and substitute teacher for the past 35 years, accepting assignments at 32 different schools.
“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.”
Thebarge said school officials gave her the ultimatum 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.
Thebarge said some students have seen her Facebook page as a place where they can send private messages about being bullied or feeling depressed.
School Superintendent Middleton McGoodwin said that Claremont School Board policy bans teachers from being “friends” with students on social networking sites such as Facebook.
The superintendent said the principal asked Thebarge to delete students from her “friends” list, and she refused.
“In truth, being a caring, lovely woman doesn’t give you immunity to ignore a school board policy that’s designed to protect everyone,” he said.
Thebarge said she has had a wonderful career and did not want things to end this way.