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Did Special Education Teacher Use Facebook Inappropriately?

A special education teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave after a parent discovered he had posted derogatory pictures and comments about his students on Facebook. Jeremy Hollinger, who is employed by the Mobile (Alabama) County Public School system to teach special education at Eichold-Mertz Elementary School, posted the comments and pictures on his public Facebook page.

Special%20Needs%20Students.jpgCeleste Dennis, who saw Hollinger’s site, was upset enough to insist her son, a second-grader at Eichold-Mertz, be transferred out of the school. Although she says there were plenty of derogatory comments on the page, including posts about students soiling themselves and eating crayons, she says that one insult hit especially close to home. “It hurt. It genuinely hurt me, said Dennis.”My son wears a helmet for seizures during P.E. He had a picture of himself with my son’s helmet on making fun of him like that was some type of a joke.”

Dennis responded to the cruel postings by reporting Hollinger to the school system and insisting that her son be transferred. The school was slow to take action against Hollinger, however, and he remained in his position at the school until after the incident caught the attention of the press. Initially, the school system refused to explain why Hollinger was still at his post. Nancy Pierce, the school’s representative, initially declined to discuss the matter, saying, “Because it’s a personnel matter, I can’t discuss that with you. The appropriate measures were taken by our Human Resources Department.”

However, on Tuesday, October 18, it was revealed that Hollinger had been suspended with pay as a result of the incident. In the meantime, Dennis hopes the suspension becomes permanent. “It takes a special type of person to deal with special children, and he is not that person,” said Dennis. “I just want him out of there.”