While exchanging banter on Twitter is all fun and games, it could also get you into trouble. Just ask this unfortunate employee of Frederick County Public Schools in Maryland who was recently fired for tweeting a witty joke.
As part of her role as the district’s web experience coordinator, Katie Nash was also responsible for handling the FCPS’s Twitter account. Following feedback from students suggesting the schools’ tweeting tone came across a tad too dry, Nash “took it to heart” to spice things up and engage with the pupils in a fun way.
“We had received feedback from some students in a focus group that our tweeting was a bit flat, they were looking for some more engagement,” she said.
But things quickly went awry when Nash decided to bust a joke in response to a tweet from one of the students.
As FCPS was preparing for snow, a pupil addressed the schools’ Twitter account with the message “close school tamarrow PLEASE.” Determined to seize the opportunity and land a sharp joke, Nash responded with the playful comment: “But then how would you learn how to spell ‘tomorrow?’ :)”
While the tweet quickly garnered the attention of fellow students, accumulating over 1,000 retweets and 1,400 likes, administration found it inappropriate and asked Nash to delete it shortly after. According to the former FCPS web coordinator, the student was not offended by the tweet and didn’t mind it at all.
But it seems the schools’ displeasure with the tweet didn’t end there as Nash was sacked the following Friday.
FCPS director of communications Michael Doerrer has since confirmed Nash is indeed no longer an employee of the school, but has refused to comment on the particularities of her termination, deeming such discussion inappropriate and unethical.
Despite the district’s disapproval, Nash’s termination has sparked the hashtag #katiefromFCPS with plenty of people coming in defense of the employee’s amusing tweet. The incident has also inspired an online petition demanding Nash gets back her job.
While the reasons behind FCPS’s decision remain unclear, it seems unfair to fire an employee over a such witty and poignant remark – especially when the students come to appreciate it so passionately. Education and fun should go hand-in-hand and Nash’s termination goes on to show FCPS simply fails to understand this.
Showing authority can be a powerful tool when it comes to educating students, but so can showing charisma – and this is precisely why Nash should be lauded for her tweet instead of being reprimanded.