Emotions were strong on election day as millions turned to social media to share their thoughts. Among them was a Columbus, Ohio teacher whose post on Facebook has baffled and infuriated parents and students.
Shortly following President Barack Obama's reelection Tuesday night, the Linden McKinley High School teacher posted, according to WBNS:
"Congrats to those dependent on government, homosexuals, potheads, JAY-Z fans, non Christians, non taxpayers, illegals, communists, Muslims, planned murder clinics, enemies of America, Satan You WON!"
Mother Hazel Davis tells WBNS that she reported the post to the principal after receiving numerous concerned phone calls. She added that she doesn't understand why a teacher would post something so offensive toward those receiving government assistance when 95 percent of the school's students are on the federal free and reduced lunch program. Columbus City Schools officials say they are investigating the case.
"That is someone who you can't look up to," Davis told the station. "It gives me an understanding of what class I want my son to be in next year. It is not going to be with that person."
A number of teachers have been criticized over the last few days as political tensions ran high. Oklahoma City high school science teacher Lamont Lowe has come under fire for an explosive rant he posted on Facebook Tuesday. He was angry after Oklahoma voters passed a measure that ends affirmative action programs in state government. In response, Lowe posted on Facebook:
I live in a state that hates me, hates women… Revoking Affirmative Action is spitting in my face… this is the reason I hate OU sooners & the okc Thunder & everything that represents this racist state!!! Die OKLAHOMA… hope a tornado blows away the capital n all the rednecks in it.!!!
The educator has since apologized.
Similar problems with social media have affected communities across the country. In July, a Bradenton, Fla. parent found a Facebook discussion among teachers of G.D. Rogers Garden Elementary School in which one educator calls a student the "evolutionary link between orangutans and humans." Another teacher responded that the comment made her "laugh out loud."
Last year, a first grade teacher at Paterson School 21 in Paterson, N.J., was suspended after writing on Facebook that she felt like a "warden," and referred to students as future criminals. The school board said, however, that officials cannot remove a teacher there for what is said on Facebook and can only act if it spills over into the classroom.
And just weeks earlier in Doylestown, Pa., Central Bucks East High School English teacher Natalie Munroe was suspended for blogging about her students and referring to them as "disengaged, lazy whiners."
Munroe was reinstated at the school because she had a "legal right to her job," but was later fired for poor performance.
At least 40 school districts nationwide have adopted social media policies. From New York City to Missouri, districts are beginning to discipline teachers for inappropriate Facebook activity. But some educators point out that social media can be a beneficial learning and teaching resource if used properly.
But back in Memphis, the debate continues, and Gatewood's Facebook page has been removed.
"I agree we don't have a specific social media policy, but we do have ethics," MCS School Board Commissioner Tomeka Hart told WMC-TV. "We do have professionalism. We expect our teachers to act as adults whether they're in social media or otherwise."