There's a blog for those who live in the Concord/Clayton area called Claycord. It's usually a pretty useful site. If you want to know what the deal is with all those helicopters flying around your house, you can find out which murderer is loose in your neighborhood, among other local news items. It's run by "The Mayor", and as far as I know, his real name is not given on the site. Perhaps his first name is "The". Who knows for sure?
Just recently, a friend of mine, Andrew Nolan, received an email from The Mayor regarding a post he made on Facebook. The post was the first sentence of a student's very poorly-worded essay, and he was basically pointing out that this is the kind of thing we teachers have to deal with when we read essays. It was all meant in fun, and he never named the student (or even specified if it was a boy or a girl). Also, it turns out that when he talked to the student about it, he/she thought it was funny that he put it up as well. Oh, and apparently he called a former student an "asshole" in the thread. The former student is now a 25 year old man, and "liked" the comment - so obviously there were no hard feelings involved.
The email was basically a series of leading questions along the lines of: "Do you think it's appropriate to mock a student's essay on Facebook? Is it appropriate to call a former student an asshole?" He, quite smartly, ignored it. Another email was sent to the principal, who after talking with Nolan about it, didn't think it was worth the trouble bothering with beyond that point. Why? Because Nolan didn't violate his contract or break any rules; that's why.
Not surprisingly, The Mayor posted an entry on all of this. You can find it here, but be forewarned that it's been deleted, re-posted, deleted, etc. It might not be there when you click on it. I'd write a breakdown of all the distortions, but my friend and colleague, Josh Coito, already did it for me. He tried to post the following to the Claycord blog, only to have it deleted twice:
I am ashamed that claycord concocted this story. I know Mr. Nolan and there are tons of holes in this story that everyone should be aware of before they weigh in:When I got home to discuss this with my wife, I found out that she had written some comments which were deleted. The same was true for my sister-in-law, and there were a few comments on Claycord's Facebook page which were taking The Mayor to task for his obvious witch-hunt. Those comments were subsequently deleted. (I got to see a screenshot of one of them, where The Mayor defends himself because he's "not a journalist" but a blogger - which apparently excuses a lack of integrity.)
1. Nolan's facebook is set to private; one of his friends copied a screenshot and sent it to claycord. He is not putting anything "out there ... for all to see."
2. He posted a single sentence from a student's work and didn't identify the student at all. He didn't even include the name or gender of the student. No matter where you work, you should be able to post about it on your private facebook wall without naming names.
3. The former student whom Nolan called an "asshole" is 25 years old, friends with Mr. Nolan, and he even "liked" Nolan's comment. Please notice that Nolan never calls a current student an asshole; the comment is directed at an adult who graduated several years ago. Notice how claycord doesn't include this information. The Mayor doesn't want readers to contextualize the story or have all the facts. Should the fact that this guy was Nolan's student seven or eight years ago give him amnesty from insult?
4. The whole thread is missing; claycord only provides a snippet, so readers have to guess about the context of the discussion. Pretty convenient, Mr. Mayor.
5. Mr. Nolan is friends with nearly all of his students and many parents of students on facebook. The insinuation that he is choosing to exclude certain people is unfounded.
6. The photo album title is a joke. All the pictures (again, left out by claycord) are of Nolan posing with students at prom.
7. Mr. Nolan is adored by parents and students at College Park. I don't see claycord reporting on Mr. Nolan dancing for kids at rallies, planning engaging/popular lessons, putting in time after school for his students, or praising his students on facebook, all of which he has done.
The Mayor should feel ashamed for attacking a public servant like this. Claycord has become a joke.
The really insane thing involves many of the comments that did make it through. While several posts defending him (most of which were from former students and parents of former students) somehow made it through, there were plenty of negative ones. Some of them called for him being fired. Really? The man should lose his job? Let's say that we all agree that he made a mistake. Is that really something that should get him fired?
Of course, the comments get even nuttier, with people accusing him of union thuggery and being like Ted Bundy. Yes, that's right. Andrew Nolan is comparable to SERIAL KILLER Ted Bundy. (Personally, I always thought he was more of a Richard Ramirez. Just watch, Claycord's next headline: "College Park Teacher Suspects Fellow Teacher of being The Night Stalker".)
The really crazy thing, and this didn't just come from people who were attacking him, but you also got it from those who were supporting him, is that people were taking this one little out-of-context post and doing entire psychological evaluations on the man. Even when people who knew him and described him tried to chime in, their opinions didn't seem to hold much weight.
I got involved as well, and was taken to task for posting while school was in session. When I tried to explain that I posted during the seven minutes of the beginning of class while my students were writing in their journals, I was accused of having absolutely no work ethic, and all sorts of judgments were made about my curriculum. I suppose I could have written about all those times I disappeared during the weekend to work on lesson plans and grades, but it's only the negative that matters. (If you can call that a negative - my class was working as I took a few minutes to respond - they weren't juggling flamethrowers while I spent the whole period posting.)
I'm not sure what's worse: The Mayor's blatant censorship and "gotcha journalism" or the fact that he's safe behind his little pseudonym. The people who posted all sorts of vile things about my friend also didn't have the guts to put their real names to what they wrote. How cowardly. Hopefully with this, at least a few people who actually care about the truth will get it.