Dear Social Media,

Some members of your department have stepped out of line.  While I intend to keep some of you actively employed on a probationary level, at least one of you is going to have to go on unpaid leave, pending termination.

Facebook, let’s review your most recent failings.

First, you have stopped functioning properly.  You are designed for a job.  One job.  Organize posts from people I follow, placing them in my feed without delay.  You have all kinds of algorithms that tell what ad should pop up alongside the posts from people I know, and those appear without fail. I’m not sure what has happened lately to inspire this sub-par performance, but perhaps a re-set will do you some good.

Primarily, I have some concerns about your content.  You were last placed on administrative leave in October, per the negativity that surrounded the national election.  I brought you back on a probationary level, first with periodic drop-ins and only recently resuming active, almost full-time employment. Sadly, this has resulted in a new trend in toxicity, and I’m afraid I’m going to have to put you back on leave, pending review.

You see, as an English teacher, I am a big believer in student choice. Television and movie adaptations do not always adhere to texts, as most people are aware, and yet, there has been a sudden spike in the posts that have questioned the professionalism of my tribe, and it stems from books and movie adaptations. If a book is even a teensy bit questionable, I offer it as a choice, not a mandatory read.  But, straight-laced, conservative woman that I am, I still offer it.  Because I should.  Because someone might need it.  Because it is the right thing to do.  Yet, I’ve seen an alarming increase in Fahrenheit 451-ish posts that say my colleagues and I should not.

I am sorry that Thirteen Reasons Why as both a novel and a show have people uncomfortable.  But, as a text, it’s award-level caliber. Check around.  It’s why it has been on my bookshelf for years, and it’s why it gets stolen, and it’s why I replace it.  I have not watched the show, which is not unusual, since I don’t watch ANY television other than an occasional show my husband has playing while I am in the room, and even then, it’s mostly just home renovation stuff. I am neither defending nor promoting it.  What I adefending is my right to stock my classroom library with selections that include state literary award nominees for that age level.  I am defending my right to suggest it and other controversial or edgy titles as a read-alike when students ask for book recommendations.  I am defending having it available in the school library, and I am defending having it as a literature circle / book club option to those who choose it of their own volition.

So, Facebook, I am sorry to tell you, but the only outright censoring I’m willing to do is what *I* read, and I am not currently in the mood to read what you have to offer.

You know what? You’re fired after all.




I can only imagine how A Handmaid’s Tale will be received.