Snarky Facebook comments no reason to fire teacher, judge rules

Published February 05, 2012

| New York Post

A New York teacher fired for posting snarky online comments suggesting her unruly students should drown can go back to the classroom, a judge ruled.

Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Barbara Jaffe last week overturned an administrative decision to boot Christine Rubino, who taught at PS 203 in Brooklyn, for posting "repulsive" comments on Facebook.

A blow to the city Department of Education, the ruling underscores the grueling process to fire teachers accused of misconduct or incompetence. Even after lengthy administrative trials, judges can reverse decisions either way, and prolong a costly battle.

"After today, I'm thinking the beach sounds like a wonderful idea for my 5th graders. I HATE THEIR GUTS! They are all the devils spawn!" Rubino wrote on Facebook on June 23, 2010.
She made the remarks one day after a 12-year-old Harlem girl, Nicole Suriel, drowned on a school trip to a Long Island beach.

When a Facebook friend asked, "oh you would let little Kwame float away!" Rubino posted in reply, "Yes, I wld not throw a life jacket in for a million!!"

While "offensive" and "repulsive," the comments were posted outside the school building and after hours, Jaffe ruled.

The judge found no evidence that Rubino, frustrated by her students' rowdy behavior, meant them actual harm or that the comments "affected her ability to teach."

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