Opinion

Child expelled from school over mom’s Facebook rant

Did a Florida preschool go too far when it expelled a four-year-old over his mom's Facebook status?

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A four-year-old Florida boy was recently booted from his preschool—because of his mom’s Facebook status.

Ashley Habat’s son was reportedly expelled from the private Sonshine Christian Academy after she tagged the school in a private Facebook status update. She wrote: “Why is it that every single day there is something new I dislike about Will’s school? Are my standards really too high or are people working in the education field really just that ignorant?”

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She says she was upset over not receiving proper notification about picture day, but the school claims their relationship with Habat was rocky from the start. The school wrote a letter of dismissal, accusing Habat of utilizing social media to call into question not only the integrity of their institution, but the intelligence of its staff. The letter concluded: “These actions are also consistent with sowing discord, which is spoken of in the handbook you signed.”

Of all the things that my kids have been involved with, from school to extracurricular activities, I’ve found preschool to be the most cult-like (yes, I’m using the word lightly). Every preschool has an education philosophy and you either buy into the groupthink, or you don’t. And if you don’t, then you can go ahead and vent—preferably in a private conversation as opposed to a public post on social media. Maria Guido of Mommyish wrote this about the incident: “Everyone knows you are supposed to passive-aggressively smile at every annoyance that happens at school, right?… If I were to complain about it on Facebook, or make some off-colour joke (as I’m wont to do), I certainly wouldn’t tag them. That’s just Facebook 101.”

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Habat chose the preschool, and she knew that it had a rigid set of rules and a handbook that she’d have to sign. If she didn’t think it was a good fit for her, or her child, then she should have looked elsewhere. In all of this, I feel bad that her son got kicked out because of her actions and is currently the focal point of all these media stories.

As far as I can tell, there are two morals to the story. First, choose your preschool with care and make sure it suits your family’s needs. And second, keep complaints off social media lest they come back to haunt you—and your child.

Emma Waverman is a writer, blogger and mom to three kids. She has many opinions, some of them are fit to print. Read more of her articles here and follow her on Twitter @emmawaverman.