New Hampshire teacher resigns rather than 'unfriend' students on Facebook

Carol Thebarge chose to resign after 35 years of teaching following dispute with school administrators at Stevens High School.
By Evan Bleier Follow @itishowitis Contact the Author   |   April 9, 2014 at 1:49 PM

CLAREMONT, N.H., April 9 (UPI) -- A 79-year-old substitute teacher chose to resign from teaching after a very unfriendly dispute with school administrators in Claremont, N.H.

Carol Thebarge opted to give up her job after 35 year instead of “unfriending” her students on Facebook.

"Do we have the right as teachers, when we respect our students and our students respect us, to have that relationship?" Thebarge told WMUR. "I feel like mine is very safe. I have never been inappropriate."

School administrators at Stevens High School told Thebarge that her account was a potential safety concern, especially after another teacher was let go after being charged in a sexual assault case involving a 14-year-old student.

“They gave me an ultimatum -- either take them all off or you are terminated,” Thebarge told CBS Boston. “And I decided that I would not comply and so I was terminated. And it’s caused a firestorm across the entire area.”

The elderly woman apparently felt that her professional life wasn’t as important as her personal relationships with her students.

"I'm like a grandmother to these students," Thebarge said. "That's my role. I'm like a grandmother."

Some students are circulating a petition to get Thebarge reinstated, but Stevens High officials say she won’t be back unless she complies with the school’s policy.

[WMUR] [CBS Boston]

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