Before I relate a cautionary news story, this is where the phrase ‘to come a cropper’ originated:

For the actual derivation we need to consider the nether quarters of a horse – the croup or crupper. In the 18th century, anyone who took a headlong fall from a horse was said to have fallen ‘neck and crop’; for example, this extract from the English poet Edward Nairne’s Poems, 1791:

A man on horseback, drunk with gin and flip,
Bawling out – Yoix – and cracking of his whip,

The startish beast took fright, and flop
The mad-brain’d rider tumbled, neck and crop!

Now onto today’s news item.

Can you spot the error in the following Facebook message from a user in Florida? Emphases in the original:

The funny part about immigrants staying home is the rest of us who pay for them are here at work like we’ve always been.  Looks like less mouths to feed today.  Have fun while you still can.  So glad to hear about massive deportation.  Let’s make America great again.  Thanks Donald Trump!!

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For grammarians, ‘less mouths’ sticks out like a sore thumb. As one can count mouths, the phraseology should be ‘fewer mouths‘.

A schoolteacher should know better, especially if she teaches in a primary school. It doesn’t matter that she is a computer lab teacher. The example she sets will stay in her pupils’ minds.

However, ZeroHedge reports that the parents at Parkside Elementary School in Naples, on the west coast of Florida, considered Veronica Fleming’s Facebook message as one big mistake and took action.

In response to Mrs Fleming’s reaction to ‘Day without Immigrants’, an American protest which took place on Thursday, February 16:

as a local NBC affiliate reported, it didn’t take long before the principal of Parkside Elementary started receiving calls from outraged parents demanding Fleming’s immediate dismissal over the controversial post that was allegedly written during working school hours.  Though she has not yet been fired, Fleming was moved to “administrative duties” by the district pending an investigation of her conduct.

Also:

The demographics of the school in Naples, Florida, is a majority of non-white pupils, with 70% Latinos and 20% Haitian, which likely contributed to the outrage among parents.

The Daily Mail reported that the school’s principal, Tamie Stewart, gave the following statement regarding the incident:

We greatly appreciate our parents who have communicated to the school to share concerns so that we can address this issue.

I want to ensure our families that this person’s individual post is not at all reflective of our school staff in any way.

However, parents of pupils at Parkside want further action taken. They have started an online petition for Fleming’s immediate dismissal. The petition points out that Fleming was at work when she wrote the message and that an educator, particularly one amidst mostly minority students:

should always be professional and behave as an impartial authority figure that is held to higher standards.

The story continues.

The big message here is about the freedom people on Facebook think they have.

ZeroHedge and the Daily Mail include a picture of Fleming in attire unbecoming for a schoolteacher. Why would someone post a photo like that on Facebook?

And, returning to the parents’ ire, why post such a message, especially during working hours?

Although Fleming removed her post, it was too late.

The moral of the story is: be careful when online, especially on Facebook.

Facebook users trust their platform implicitly. Why?

I know people who use Facebook exclusively to communicate with family and friends. One of my relatives told me, ‘If you’re not on Facebook, I won’t be in touch with you. Get with it! Get a Facebook account!’

No thanks.

It’s interesting that none of the articles about Fleming’s post included detail on how it was spotted — or by whom. Someone must have been watching her account.

Also noteworthy is that local residents seemed to have a lot of empathy for her opinion, rightly or wrongly. See the comments following NBC2’s article.

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