Lauren Orban is a music teacher at a Bradenton elementary school in Manatee County. She's at the center of a debate there that could end up costing her career: She wrote on Facebook that "I'm fairly convinced that one of my students may be the evolutionary link between orangutans and humans," you see, and Bay News 9 found out, and now people are all agitated that a teacher said this of an 8-year-old student who happens to be black.
Big fuckin' deal.
Though the Facebook thread -- which included several other teachers -- was deleted, the school registrar is apparently Facebook friends with the teacher and saw it.
"What in the hell is that supposed to mean?" the registrar wrote, before tattling on the teacher.
Here's what it probably means: "W.W." -- which is how the student was identified in the Facebook comments -- is probably a whirling tornado of disruption. This is probable because all 8-year-olds are whirling tornadoes of disruption. Are we seriously trying to get people fired for saying this to their friends?
The school district, to their credit, elected to issue a verbal warning because they don't have any guidelines about co-workers sending people's Facebook updates to the principal. Now, a protest is planned for 6 p.m. tonight because parents want her fired "or at least suspended without pay," according to the Herald-Tribune. These parents are silly.
"I send my child to school trusting them to teach him... Not to talk about him," said Lisa Wade, the mother of the boy Orban was reportedly talking about. It is unclear why anyone cares why Wade was sending her 8-year-old to school.
"I'm disgusted with how they talked about my child," she added. "It hurts."
A question: Who cares if it hurts? Maybe the lawyer Ward hired to threaten the school district cares, but people complain about their jobs all the time -- nobody else gets their license revoked for saying someone they have to deal with every day stinks. It should be noted that no one is accusing Orban of being a bad teacher, and the only way "W.W." knows about what Orban said is because a school employee told on Orban for being like, so mean. This is different that the (also very questionable) case of Charles Willis, another Manatee teacher who was fired after using Facebook to "inappropriately" communicate with students.
That's not the situation in Orban's case -- she wasn't talking to students; she was talking to her friends (and, it seems, a really touchy school registrar). Is a mother having her feelings hurt seriously a reason to ruin someone's career? They're pushing for the state to revoke Orban's teaching certificate, and there's a growing pile of articles about Orban that's certainly going to make future job applications more complicated.
Teachers are not special creatures that should have special rules because they deal with our precious children. They are employees -- why is it any of our business that they think some children are lousy? Some children are lousy. If she wasn't going to write it on Facebook, she was going to say it at a bar, or in the teachers' lounge, or somewhere else. Who are we to stop her? Should we have protests for teachers who complain about their jobs at bars, too?
Just because parents think their children is a beautiful snowflake does not mean people should lose their jobs for disagreeing.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!