A Land O’ Lakes, Fla., high school teacher could lose her job after she reportedly took disciplinary action against students she suspected of making comments about her on Facebook.
Angelica Cruikshank, who teaches Spanish, improperly gained access to students’ Facebook pages to find out what they wrote about her, according to a Pasco County school district investigation.
The district alleges she shared the information with students and tried to use it to keep the other students from going on a class trip to the Salvador Dali Museum, the investigation concluded.
Cruikshank has been suspended without pay.
Superintendent Heather Fiorentino had planned to recommend the school board fire the teacher this week, but that’s on hold because Cruikshank is appealing the disciplinary actions.
Her case could come before the school board in April as an employee appeal hearing.
Neither Cruikshank nor Melissa Mihok, a Tampa lawyer who is representing Cruikshank, could be reached for comment March 22.
In a letter notifying Cruikshank of the plan to fire her, Fiorentino called the teacher’s actions “unprofessional and inappropriate.”
“You seem unaware of student privacy concerns and used extremely poor judgment in taking the steps you took to address these concerns,” Fiorentino wrote.
The teacher’s husband, Ian Cruikshank, disputed the school district’s version of events in a letter to school board members.
He said his wife became involved only after students came to her concerned about “demoralizing and pretentious remarks about staff and other students” on a Facebook page started by students in the school’s International Baccalaureate program.
“My wife had no knowledge she was doing anything wrong and was trying to do what she thought was best,” he wrote. “No punishment was brought down on the students that made the demoralizing remarks.”
The school district began investigating Cruikshank in February after parents of students in her Spanish classes complained.