Jennifer O'Brien, the first grade teacher in New Jersey who posted on her Facebook wall "i’m not a teacher - i’m a warden for future criminals," says that her comments were simply made in the heat of the moment.
O'Brien is on paid leave from her Paterson school right now, and on Wednesday, at an administrative hearing, she told a judge the post was written "out of frustration to their [the students'] behavior." She added that six or seven of the little tikes had disrupted her lesson, one had hit her and someone in her class of 23 even stole a box of stickers. Not the stickers!!!
When O'Brien posted the update, it immediately made the rounds on Facebook and brought a swirl of attacks against O'Brien, with many of her critics claiming that her comment was racist. Nancy Oxfeld, O'Brien's lawyer, naturally thinks that is absurd. "If you make a comment that is not a racist comment but you’re a white person and it’s made about students who happen to be black and Hispanic, there’s a presumption that it’s racist," she said.
A decision on O'Brien's future as a teacher is going to be made in November. Until then, we suggest O'Brien keeps her impulsive Facebook comments to herself.