Philly Blogging Teacher Back in School, Without Students

PHOTO Natalie Munroe, a 30-year-old teacher, wrote insulting blog posts about her students; using the name "Natalie M", she never identified the name of the school in the posts that also lashed out against other teachers and administrators.
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A Philadelphia-area teacher who was suspended for calling her students "rude, lazy, (and) disgusting" on her personal blog will be back in the classroom this school year, but she might be there alone.

More than 200 parents have notified Central Bucks East High School that they don't want their children to be in English teacher Natalie Munroe's classes, according to the Associated Press.

Principal Abe Lucabaugh held a press conference earlier this month saying that the school would honor every request by parents who didn't want their children in Munroe's classroom. Munroe was slated to teach 90 students, divided into three 11th grade English classes for the coming year.

Carol Counihan, spokeswoman for the school, said there would likely be enough other English teachers to absorb the students, but that a substitute could be hired to help out. She said the school did not yet have a plan of action for what would happen if Munroe ended up with no students to teach for the year.

Munroe, 30, was suspended from the school last year because of the disparaging comments she wrote about her students, including statements like, "lazy a--hole," "sneaky jerk-off," "rat-like" and "frightfully dim" to describe her students. Munroe fought the suspension, claiming her right to free speech allowed her to write on the blog, in which she did not use her full name, the school's name or the student's names in any of the posts.

"I don't think I did anything wrong," Munroe told ABC News in February.

Lucabaugh, in the press conference in August, said Munroe had the legal right to return to work this year, and that her employment right was the "sole reason for her return" to the district. In his statement, Lucabaugh publicly disparaged the teacher for her comments.

"The real issue is that while something may be legally right, it may not be ethically or morally right," he said. "Natalie Munroe's actions placed the otustanding work that occurs in our school in question, placed my leadership in question, placed our students' merit in the crosshairs of national scrutiny, breached trust with the community and compromised her professional integrity." While Lucabaugh said Munroe would return to teach in 2011, he stopped just short of publicly calling for her to resign.

"The decision to do the right thing does not rest with the Central Bucks School District," he said. "The decision to do the right thing lies in the hands of the person whose very hands created this controversy: Mrs. Munroe."

Neither Munroe nor her attorney, Steve Rovner, were immediately available for comment.

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