Thursday, August 19, 2010

Facebooked: Dr. Talvitie-Siple’s tenure at Cohasset High has ended

Since most of what we read about folks getting hoist on their own Facebookian petard is about high school and college kids who trash-talked their way out of a college acceptance or a job, it’s almost refreshing to read about someone a bit older who just pissed away her position by being a tad too candid on her FB page.

As reported in Wicked Local – and just about every other news mongering enterprise in the Boston area – up until a day or so ago, Dr. June Talvitie-Siple was some type of supervisor in the math and science department at Cohasset High School. (For those who don’t know Cohasset, it’s a quite beautiful and quite well-to-do suburb on Boston’s South Shore.)

Then some inquiring-minded parents found her FB page, where she characterized the residents of Cohasset as “so arrogant and snobby,” and mentioned that she was “so not looking forward to another year at Cohasset Schools.”  (She also called kids “germ bags”, which doesn’t seem all that terrible, given that she did so while talking about taking anti-biotics. Who can deny that kids are “germ bags” -  although I prefer the term “germ vectors” myself. And, in general, I think of younger kids as the true germ carriers – the ones who don’t know enough to cover their mouths when they cough or noses when they sneeze. Not high school-aged kids, who are mostly giving things to each other by slurping out of communal water bottles, making out, and taking part in other germ exchanges.)

In any case, Dr. T-S will no longer have to worry about being “so not looking forward to another year at Cohasset Schools,” as she won’t be spending the year there.

Once the parents found the offending FB page, they went on the warpath, and the Superintendent of Schools asked for, and received the perhaps good but not so wise doctor’s resignation.

This episode, of course, speaks to the naiveté and Internet ignorance of June Talvitie-Siple more than it does to her holding opinions that plenty of people might share, or to her bitching about work. Who among us hasn’t bad-mouthed incompetent management, malign colleagues, useless subordinates, and lunatic clients at one point or another. It’s just that we tend to do it in the privacy of our homes, among family and friends.

Of course I do some public chronicling of  all of the above, but the episodes and folks I write about are from my professional way-back machine. Plus I don’t use names – never of people, seldom of companies.  Plausible deniability all round.

But a professional educator sniping at parents, and explicitly naming her town. Bad, stupid, form – definitely something that calls her judgment into question. (Speaking of question: why doesn’t the word “judgment” have an “e” after the “g”?)

And, gee, how can someone be a math and science teacher and not get that anything on the Internet can and probably will be made public and used against you? Talvitie-Siple says that she thought that only her FB friends could see her comments.  But all it would take would be for one of those friends to cut and paste a comment into an e-mail, and shoot it off to someone, who might take umbrage, etc. (Not that T-S’s comments rose to the level of interest that would make them cut-and-paste-able. Still, if it’s out there, you’ve got to think that something could be really out there. And wouldn’t you think that it might enter a teacher’s mind that kids being kids, someone might decide to hack around in her private space? Forget about “germ bags”, kids – if they bother to notice or acknowledge adults at all – can be nosey parkers, and they know how to nose around social media a lot better than most of us do.)

On the other hand, this is no more than the garden variety chatter that most of us engage in at one point or another.

Certainly, there’ve been plenty of Sundays where I’ve been so not looking forward to going into work the next day.

And, while they may not like the fact that someone in their school system thinks they’re snobby and arrogant, well, this can’t be the first time that someone in Cohasset has come across those terms in association with their town folk. Not that it’s true. I’ve met plenty of people from Cohasset who are perfectly nice and pleasant. And, let’s face it, accusations of snobbery and arrogance pretty much come with the territory when you come from a town where the populace, in general, is well-heeled and well-educated. (Think I haven’t come across references to Beacon Hillers as being s & a?  That’s one thing I’ll say about having grown up in Worcester:  no one, but no one, ever threw the snob or arrogant gauntlet in our faces.)

Maybe Talvitie-Siple’s feelings run so strong that she really shouldn’t be teaching in Cohasset. Maybe she was just blowing hot air.

But wouldn’t it have been nice if just one of the Cohasset parents hadn’t thought to do a bit of damage control and contact Talvitie-Siple and let her know?

Hello, Dr. T-S, this is Mrs. Arrogant Snob. I’m the mother of Germbag Snob, and I thought you might like to know that some untoward comments you’ve made on your Facebook page are in the public realm.

Thank you for letting me know, Mrs. Snob. As you can imagine, those comments were just me kidding around with my friends. I never intended them as a blanket criticism of the people of Cohasset. I’ll remove those words right away, before I have to eat them. And how is Germbag doing this summer? I've been so concerned about his sniffling. I certainly hope it’s just allergies.  And thanks again for your call.

The Internet giveth, but it certainly taketh away, as well.  This week, it’s taken away a $92K a year job from June Talvitie-Stiple.

Bet she wished she’d never decided to au fait her way on to Facebook.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


PS... Dr. T-S was also in charge of TECHNOLOGY for the school district.