Teachers insult students and parents in leaked chats emailed to the entire school community
Everyone complains on occasion to trusted co-workers. It’s normal to blow off steam about that awful boss or difficult customer, right? Teachers are no exception when it comes to that need for a release and few would dispute their right to complain about their jobs, especially in the company of fellow teachers. But one school had a group of educators go way overboard in comments made about students and parents behind their backs — to disastrous result.
According to the Providence Journal, an unknown number of teachers from Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy, a charter school in Cumberland, R.I, were involved in Slack chat conversations where they spoke disparagingly about both students and their parents. Slack is the school’s internal messaging system used by both teachers and administration. The chats were released after a teacher’s email account was allegedly hacked with screenshots being sent to students, faculty and staff through a Google document.
The Washington Post states three teachers have already resigned as a result of the hacking and Jeremy Chiappetta, the school’s executive director, says some staff members have been suspended in the wake of the chats coming to light. And with good reason. The comments contained in the document are positively unreal, complaining about students and parents through cruel and even violent words. Here are some of the leaked excerpts, which Jen LoPiccolo, the school’s director of external affairs, confirms are authentic.
“Man I wish we could hit them,” writes one teacher. Another responds, “Move to Arizona. Though really no school districts allow, by state law you are allowed to. Start your own charter and commence with the flogging.” She responds: “lol”
“Did you ever hear from Hudson’s mom?” asks one teacher. “I did not,” responded another. “What a loser. Truly. There is more to success than where you go to school. Clearly Columbia doesn’t provide access to parenting programs, or if they do, she didn’t take advantage,” he writes back.
“Lying [expletive] scum,” writes one teacher of a failing student’s parent, using a Spanish curse word. She continued, in all caps, “I CANNOT WITH HER I HOPE HER STUPID SON FAILS ALL OF HIS CLASSES.”
“HE IS FAILING FIVE CLASSES,” writes one teacher. Another responds, “[Expletive]IDIOT. Let him know if he [expletive] up again he will be in my HR. And I will not be so pleasant.”
Let’s make one thing clear — if a parent thinks their kids’ teachers don’t sometimes complain about them, they’re pretty naive. Kids can be irritating at times and teachers have to maintain their calm, or at least the impression of calm, for several hours a day everyday. They are heroes, honestly. Teaching is a hard job, and not every teacher will love your child and that’s OK. It’s completely understandable that they’d need to vent occasionally to fellow teachers in order to maintain their chill.
But these comments are absolutely unacceptable in every way. They go so far beyond the pale toward being violent and angry. Wishing they could hit their students? Hoping one of them fails? This is not just garden-variety bitching about an annoying kid. This is, as one parent identified as Dr. Scout calls it, “a level of obliviousness around professional boundaries that scares me by itself.”
Dr. Scout is the father of Hudson Deighan, a 16-year-old student who found comments from a teacher about her spelling among the pages of leaked chats. A teacher she refers to as her mentor allegedly wrote, “Here’s how Hudson spelled Ta-Nehisi Coates: Tonahese quotes,” as another teacher replied,“f—— idiot.”
The teen tells the Providence Journal, “It’s just damaging to think that the people that are encouraging you are just behind your back saying, ‘She can’t do it, she’s such a dumb [expletive]. I was building confidence, slowly and surely, but now they’ve wrecked that with a few messages.”
Damaging to say the least. To have someone be nice to your face and then disparage you behind your back is one thing, but for it to be your teacher, a trusted adult in your life, is a breech many teens would have trouble moving past. Seeing such cruel words about them in print must have been a devastating blow.
All of that awfulness aside, to anyone who uses their company’s internal communications for unsavory exchanges that could cost them their jobs? You’re an idiot. That’s like, Workplace 101. If these teachers were that angry and miserable and had to let it out, they should’ve done it another way.