March 16, 2011

Poor, Little Kwami and the Amusing/Evil Professor: Another Tale of Facebook Failure

Christine Rubio, a 15-year veteran teacher from Brooklyn, may hate her fifth-grade class, but by snarkily wishing death upon them via Facebook, she may have just written her own pink slip.

Last June, a 12-year-old girl from Harlem sadly drowned on a class trip to the beach.  A day later, Rubino commented:

"After today, I’m thinking the beach is a good trip for my class. I hate their guts.”

Shortly thereafter, a Facebook friend responded: "Wouldn’t you throw a life jacket to little Kwami?"

Rubino, Teacher of the Year, shot back: "No, I wouldn’t for a million dollars.”

Although Rubino later apologized, claiming that the comments were “out of pure anger” and unseen by any students or parents.  But clearly someone thought that this was super tacky/inappropriate.  And that person was one of the school’s staffers, who sent the posts to the Principal of PS 203, where Rubino teaches.  Some Facebook “friend” she was. Does it make me a bad person that I sort of want to hang out with this woman? I may or may not find her hilarious. And terrible. Hilariously terrible. I do not condone her (public) actions, or the premeditated murder of obnoxious children, but if she was a bit smarter about this whole social media thing, I think we would totally hit it off. 
Rubino was confronted for the first time in December 2010, six months after she posted her quips.  A friend confessed that she logged in as Rubino, but no one buys that nonsense.  The “hacking” into my Twitter/Facebook account is just so played out, people. In her termination proceedings, Rubino is accused of “conduct unbecoming of a teacher” and witness tampering. The witness tampering is probably connected to the friend who “confessed;” investigators most likely got her to admit that Rubino asked her to come forward, or told her what to say, on Rubino’s behalf.  There are no rules about Facebook for the Department of Education, making this a sticky subject.

Still, Rubino’s remorse is staggering. She told the New York Post that “it was something I said out of anger. I would never take my class to the beach.” Instead, even though she was removed from the classroom last month, she is plotting a trip to the Bronx Zoo this spring and conspiring with tigers. 

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