The tweeting teacher.NBC Bay Area screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET
Twitter and humor have a difficult relationship.
There’s always the hope that people will grasp a tweeted joke. There’s always the despair when they don’t.
It may well be, though, that Krista Hodges misjudged her audience to a painful degree.
A teacher at Newark Memorial High School in the Bay Area, she chose Twitter as her medium of expression. What she had to express was frustration at some of her students.
As the Oakland Tribune reports, Hodges tweeted some gems in June. For example: “I already wanna stab some kids. Is that bad? 19 more days.”
Twitter, is by its nature, slightly public and Hodges might have known that not everyone would grasp her dry wit.
For example: “So happy to be done w/school for 10 days, but especially to be away from the ones who truly try my patience and make my trigger finger itchy.”
In some school districts, Hodges might have been fired. Instead, she was reprimanded by her school’s district and continues to teach.
She told the Oakland Tribune: “Everyone knows I’m one of the most liked teachers on campus. And that’s because I form meaningful and long-lasting relationships with my students.”
Oh, being liked can be so temporary. Still, Hodges has deleted her Twitter account. She said one of her fellow educators saw the tweets and reported her.
She also explained: “I never expected anyone would take me seriously. If I had thought for one moment that someone would read anything I said on Twitter and take me seriously, you’d better believe I would have been much more careful with what I’ve said.”
Not everyone gets the joke. Ever.
Her treatment by the schools district is, however, a marked contrast with how some people — educators and the young — have been treated by authorities.
Two years ago, a Tennessee kindergarten teacher was suspended for allegedly suggesting on Facebook that she might “shoot ‘em up!” Yes, she meant her students.
Another teacher, this time a first-grade educator from New Jersey, was suspended for allegedly describing her students — also on Facebook — as “future criminals.”
Contrast this, though, with the case of Justin Carter. This 18-year-old from Texas was arrested and thrown into jail for posting on Facebook: “Oh yeah, I’m real messed up in the head, I’m going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still beating hearts.”
This was during an argument with other online gamers who accused him of being insane. Like Hodges, Carter said he was joking. The authorities weren’t impressed. He still may face felony charges.
Carter says he even posted “jk” after his comments. Ultimately, though, it is always a matter of judgment. Social media now contains so much commentary and instant utterances that corralling them all is impossible.
NBC Bay Area says that, in Hodges’ case, police are currently investigating.