School employee fired for tweet mocking student's spelling

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Frederick County Public Schools has fired Katie Nash, an employee who stirred up attention for how she ran the district’s Twitter feed last week, she said.
Michael Doerrer, a district spokesman, said Nash was no longer employed with the school system, but he couldn’t comment on the circumstances.
Nash started working as the web experience coordinator in November. Among her responsibilities was to run the district’s social media accounts. Her salary was $44,066.
On Jan. 5, a student tweeted to the Twitter account, @FCPSMaryland, asking schools to close “tammarow.”
Nash wrote in response from the school Twitter feed: “But then how would you learn how to spell ‘tomorrow?’ :)”
The response from Nash’s FCPS tweet garnered more than 1,000 retweets and 1,000 likes and she became the subject of a hashtag, #KatiefromFCPS. And later #freekatie also appeared in students’ Twitter feeds after a report from local TV station WHAG-TV that Twitter access had been taken away from her.
While she was happy with the interaction she had with students on social media, Nash said she understands the school system’s decision.
“I don’t want to be a distraction to the school system and the goals they have for overarching achievement,” she said.
After the “tamarrow/tomorrow” thread, Nash and the student exchanged other tweets. The student later wrote that he didn’t mind Nash’s original reply and didn’t take it personally.
Nash had similar interactions with other students who tweeted their pleas for schools to close.
Nash said Friday she was told not to tweet anymore after the initial attention, but she still had access to the FCPS Twitter feed. She continued to tweet calendar updates and things that had already been posted through Find Out First, a county schools news alert system.
“Students have been tweeting at us, but I wasn’t really sure what I should be doing or not doing. I sort of assumed there would be a follow-up conversation” with district officials, she said.
She was asked at around 2:30 p.m. Friday if she had time for a meeting. She said she was given a letter that she had been terminated from her assignment.
“As a new employee, I think I sort of would have expected that there would have been some counseling or some suggestions on how to improve,” she said.
Nash said there was never a conversation about what the tone of the account was to be.
“Any social media manager is looking for increasing engagement, and that’s sort of the expected parameter,” she said. “I think a conversation about how we engage with students would have been completely appropriate and I would have welcomed that.”
She said, if anything, she hopes her termination causes more people to get involved and interact with the school system.
She gained many supporters in the process and she said she will continue to be involved and will tweet from her personal account, @KatieNash, as a parent to her two children, who are in first and second grade.
“It was really positive and great to see so many students engaged with their school system,” she said. “I wouldn’t change a thing.”

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