Teacher Who Compared Student To Orangutan On Facebook Could Lose License, Should She?

July 6, 2012  |  

In another case of teachers not knowing how to lock down their Facebook profiles, a Florida instructor may soon be without a teaching license after news of insults hurled at one of her students on the social networking site came to light.

According to Bay News 9, the Manatee County, Fl, Elementary School teacher posted this comment on her Facebook wall:

“I’m fairly convinced that one of my students may be the evolutionary link between orangutans and humans.”

Interestingly, the comment received seven “likes” along with this response from another teacher at the school:

“Please tell me who you are talking about.  This made me laugh out loud.”

The teacher, again having no regard for her position or the way in which social media can burn your career faster than a California wildfire, proceeded to write the students initials, W.W., adding “Does that help?”

Thankfully the school registrar had sense enough to jump in on the convo, writing “What in the hell is that supposed to mean?” and the discussion stopped.

The name nor nationality of the teacher has been released, neither has that of the child but since the NAACP is involved I’m going to go out on a limb and say the 8-year-old student she was referring to, who was identified by those initials she posted, is black. And she’s not. Lisa Wade, the mother of the student, told Bay News:

“I send my child to school trusting them to teach him. Not to talk about him. I’m disgusted with how they talked about my child. It hurts.”

Manatee County school district spokeswoman Margi Nanney told Wade and the news station that all teachers involved in the Facebook thread were verbally disciplined and ensured that the district doesn’t condone behavior like that, saying instructors are urged to use “common sense” on Social Media sites. If she had common sense, she likely would have never posted what she did. The principal at the G.D. Rogers Elementary School in Bradenton has referred the matter to the state Department of Education’s Office of Professional Practices though, which will investigate the case, and they do have the power to revoke the instructor’s teaching license.

A representative from the NAACP says the teachers need more than a strict talking to and that the school needs to develop a Social Media policy that will prevent this from happening again. The district representative believes the code of ethics for Florida teachers which basically says “you never want to say anything that’s going to harm, or have a negative impact, on the people that you’re working with — and the students are our most important customers, believes that’s enough. And of course, she doesn’t believe the comment was at all racially motivated, saying:

“I think she just made a poor judgment call in her choice of words.”

Right. I wonder when was the last time she heard a white person referred to as a monkey? Not relying on the school to keep its word, the boy’s mother has retained an attorney and says she wants to make sure at least one person is held accountable in this situation.

How do you think he teacher who made the comment and those involved should be handled?

Brande Victorian is the news and operations editor for madamenoire.com. Follow her on twitter @Be_Vic.

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  • Farkas

    I hear white people referred to as the “missing link” all the time. I assume she meant the child’s behavior was uncivilized, which is what the comment usually means.

    That doesn’t excuse her, of course – she should have realized it had racist connotations.

  • SomeGuy1

    I think it’s fine, everyone these days makes a big deal out of everything, and when someone deals with it “like a slap on the wrist”, that’s good enough, it’s like saying that someone that stole a Corvette deserves the death sentence.

  • Tonia Addison-Hall

    So, union-loving libs, how does that “tenure” feel now? She will NOT be fired. Unions should be out of schools.

  • Karma

    I work in the school system. I actually work withTMH handicapped children. I love what I do and I would never insult any child under any circumstance regardless of race. This woman deserves to be fired. She took an oath to educate all children regardless of race, religion, color or creed. Those that played apart in the conversation with this witch should also be fired. Makes me wonder where in God’s name did these people come from and why would they seek to go into a field to educate children. I love my students and I can’t imagine what a child could have done to a so-called teacher to deserve such an evil comment like this placed on Facebook for the world to see! FIRE THESE WITCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rose

    Maybe the student is. Don’t see the big deal. Get over it. We have far more pressing problems than that. I worry more about unemployment and the economy than this.

    • bkabbagej

      Get over what? Are you saying we should just get over being called a orangutan and the use of social media by insulting a child and comparing him to an animal. You have no problem being insulted or your children being insulted and being unable to defend the comments written about you and/or yours.
      You’re off topic.
      I’m sure everyone on this page are concerned about unemployment and the economy but we’re speaking of insulting a child and name calling on a social network and the parent being unable to defend their child.

  • Bella

    Honestly, I don’t think her intentions were racist. Granted the comment was stupid, who says it was racist? Especially if there was a chance she had black Facebook friends. Plus, some kids are just plain stupid. I think this case has been blown out of proportion.

    • KayJ

      You could have friends all colors of the rainbow and still make racist comments. You need to stop equating racism with white sheets and burning crosses. It’s possible to do or say something that is racist without hating a particular race.

  • gracie

    Could we worry about the upcoming elections or something better and leave the poor teacher alone?Don’t we all make mistakes? Maybe if we had more black teachers then non of this could be happening anyway.

  • I dont know why these kids have the be the center of her social life. why does she need to discuss someone elses child on her facebook page is beyond me.

  • Merriegirl

    If she’s stupid enough to write a racial slur about a student on Facebook, then she shouldn’t be teaching anyone anything.

  • Miss D

    With social media being so public, it’s a foolish idea to talk about almost anything work-related online. Get yourself a notebook or call up a teacher friend to vent.

  • queenietoo

    If they are not sexting the student, they are having babies by the students they are so out of order now their using facebook as psycho therapy. how sad is that.

  • Chanda

    I wonder what this trick looks like. We don’t know the teacher’s ethnicity but white people have a fascination with monkeys/apes for some strange reason and yes I’ve heard white people refer to their own children as little monkeys quite often. That Facebook’ll get you in trouble if you have loose lips, girlfriend should’ve kept that one to herself.

    • Ladybug94

      Exactly, start messing with her money/paycheck and people will be more careful about what they say and how they say it. She’ll lose that Kanye West syndrome.

    • I am friends with a white girl and they refer to her son as Monkey. her baby is cute as a button and there is nothing monkey like about him. I dont know why they would want to do that. My daughter who is 9 hates anything to with monkeys she hates monkey toys, monkey prints on pjs, etc.

  • FromUR2UB

    First, where are school districts finding all these ignorant teachers? Second, yeah, she should be fired. That’s how people learn discretion in regard to damned freedom of speech.

  • commonsense

    @Rayjulian85:disqus My sister is a teacher and she comes home EVERYDAY venting but does not put the comments on FACEBOOK nor does she call co-workers gossiping. She loves her job and is one of the BEST. The teachers in our county had to sign a new policy agreement and social media was listed as a absolute NO NO. NEVER discuss your employers, co-workers, or students on social networks if so your a** will be FIRED because jobs are monitoring employees social media accounts. I have witnessed three co-workers sent packing because of facebook. When are people going to learn once you post its gone for ever in cyberspace.

  • NM

    I swear Twitter and Facebook marked the beginning of the end of common sense. I don’t think she should lose her teaching licence, however I think her punishment should cause her to think twice next time before posting such nonsense.

    • Florence.ringo

      Twitter and Facebook were not the end or the beginning. Rather, they left little place for pseudo-sense to hide, as everyone can see and respond and remember.

  • commonsense

    All parties involved should be FIRED. Then they all can apply for jobs at the zoo so everyone will know exactly how a damn orangutan look and act. Idiots.

  • Ki

    Lose her l’s no. Be disciplined yes. When these folks gonna learn social sites are just paper trails.

  • quest

    So foul.

  • bluekissess

    Wow. I’m not surprised by this, nor, do I feel angry. It’s some sort of desensitization. I’m not sure what it would take for individuals to get it. Black’s don’t enjoy being called those names.

    If she’s suspended she can get another job. That wouldn’t prove anything. I honestly think she should spend the night with the orangutans. She’ll then realize that orangutans are smarter than she thinks.

  • Ladybug94

    Why is the student on her mind so much that she has to post on FB about him/her? She chose that profession knowing how kids are, knowing how 20plus different personalities are in a classroom. She should find something else to do.

    • bluekissess

      It could be the same reason why white men feel threatened by the male anatomy of black men. They, Caucasians, have always looked to us, beautiful black people, as a threat. So, they would demean us as much as they can. She was afraid that the student might take her job one day. It’s sad.

      • MLS2698

        They demean us, but go to the plastic surgeon to buy everything we have.

  • Kitsy

    She should be fired just for being dub enough to make those comments on social media. There is nothing private about Facebook, and anyone who doesn’t recognize that is an ignoramus who should not have the audacity to want to teach anyone anything.

    • Kitsy


  • gracie

    It needs patience to be a teacher and maybe laughing abt thick students helps. Just saying….

    • Ladybug94

      Thick? What are you talking about? The comparison is not referencing being thick, it’s about black people coming from apes. Anyway, not all people are meant to be teachers so patience or not wouldn’t help if this person is just using teaching as a means of getting a paycheck.

      • gracie

        We all evolved from apes, so why does it have to be black people? Maybe she was reffering to a white student. I just don’t think the comment had anything to do with color.

        • MLS2698

          I’m sure the teacher looks like an albino monkey.

        • FromUR2UB

          You’re right. White people look more like apes than we do, with their huge ears, thin lips, hairy bodies, flat butts, and fingerlike toes. I don’t know why they’re always trying to associate blacks with apes. I apologize. I should be more specific. Whites look more like chimps.

          • fightforthepeople

            YES!!, YES!!!, YES!!!

        • Ladybug94

          Uh…no, we don’t evolve from apes. You may accept Darwinism but I don’t, my bible doesn’t say anything about Adam being made from an Ape, he was formed from dust and God breathed life into him. If you believe differently, more power to you.

        • Ladybug94

          Oh, and it does have to do with color because some folk have been saying black men specifically are very similar to the Cro magnon man by way of the ape, I hope I spelled that right. I’ve slept a bit since HS.

    • Rayjulian85

      I have A LOT of friends who are teachers so I know this is true lol. People can act like teachers need to be Jesus but alas they are just people. They need a way to vent and get through it just like we do. I’m sure most of us go home and talk to our significant other about how your boss got on your nerves or how irritating your coworker is. The same applies for teachers. Also she was discussing the child being a little “thick” as you said. There was nothing racial about it. People evolved from primates. That goes whether you are black or white or anything in between. It was an insult to the child’s intelligence which can upset you till you are blue in the face, but as a teacher in a class with another 20 or so kids your dumb kid might be irritating sometimes. Doesn’t mean the teacher doesn’t do their best. Doesn’t mean the teacher degrades your child. It does mean in private, they can vent about it being frustrating. I say shame on whoever took something from her personal life and put her in the national spotlight.

      • lalatarea

        this wasn’t her diary this is FREAKIN FACEBOOK! and no we don’t expect them to be jesus but we do expect them to NOT name call CHILDREN for a laugh or just to “vent”

        • Rayjulian85

          Sorry, I’m one of those people who uses FB for connecting with friends. I have a separate page for networking and co workers. However, I would not ever expect anyone (whether they agree with what I say or not) to try to get me fired from my job. Also, children are not little mystical angels. I have met some pretty sh*tty kids in my life. I don’t care if they are 8, they are a**holes. If that offends you too bad, but its my prerogative to be able to say as much. Also, again, so long as she doesn’t say or behave in a way damaging to the child what’s the problem with her venting?

      • thatsright

        This is why I take my kids teachers to task every chance I get. People think that teachers love kids, I know the truth, must of them don’t, particularly if the kid looks different. I learned that as a student myself. But u could care less if they don’t like my kids, they can, and probably do hate me, but do your job and you better be doing your BEST job with my kids because if you are not I am going to rain down a terror on you like you wouldn’t believe. Parents, wake up, don’t trust the teachers to educate your child YOU follow up and MAKE it happen!

        • Rayjulian85

          You are probably part of the reason so many teachers are starting to hate their jobs. Most people teach because they love it. They love kids. They like helping to shape these little humans into educated, informed beings. They get stuck with bratty kids whose parents like to “take them to task” instead of supporting them and backing them up as an authority figure and a mentor. Teachers work really hard and spend a lot of their own money trying to teach ya’ll kids. Then they get met with kids who come from parents with attitudes like yours and are somehow expected to be saints smh. Your attitude towards educators is both sad and disgusting. I hope you realize that THAT is probably having more of an effect on the way your child’s teacher interacts with them then anything your kid could ever do.

        • karma

          Very well stated!!!!

      • Ladybug94

        They don’t need to be Jesus but they do need to be professional.

        • Ladybug94

          The proof is in her facebook post. Please don’t try to jusitify her foolishness.

  • There is just too much to be angry about these days.

  • How about you call and text your friends posting insults about students brings you down on their level be an adult