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Recently, Carol Thebarge lost her job as a long-time substitute teacher.  She refused to unfriend her students from her Facebook account.  The school policy of Stevens High School in Claremont, NH has a very strict policy against communicating with students via social media.  Read the story by clicking here.

I have to say I disagree with the school’s policy.  I am the proud parent of 6 children.  When social media first came about I was really concerned for my children and whether I would be able to keep them safe.  The truth is, like everything else in life, you have to use safety measures. Be strict about your child’s usage of the internet and educate them as to its proper use and what is allowed and what isn’t allowed.  Then be sure that you check what your children are doing.  Let them know that you are not spying on them, and be clear about the fact that you are just trying to keep them safe.  Let them know up front exactly what you are doing and why.  I find that being up front about what is going on builds trust between parent and child.  Making them feel a part of the situation is key. But just as important is letting them know you trust them and that you are watching out for them is important. Kids are less likely to make mistakes or allow others to mistreat them if they know that they have support from an adult that they trust.

Technology is a blessing, but it can also be a curse.  But not allowing our children to use it when it benefits them would be a waste of valuable resources.   I think it’s great that a student could potentially be on Facebook and chat with their teacher if they get on their homework.  If a student missed the homework assignment for the day, they can see the tweet on twitter.  There are so many ways social media can help our children. It is our job as parents to keep our children safe.  It’s not easy and we are not perfect, mistakes will be made.  Whether it be social media, the phone, or an event outside of the house things will occur that we as parents aren’t always able to handle.  Mistakes will be made but realistically, no one is perfect all the time. We can continue to be vigilant, at least then we know we are trying, and we are working on whatever needs to be worked on.

One last note: Just as all parents should be offered every possible resource to help them raise their children, every teacher should have access to every resource that will make their job easier in teaching our children.


Carol Thebarge worked more than 30 years in school system

Stevens High School

CLAREMONT, N,H, — A popular teacher said she was dismissed Thursday from Stevens High School in Claremont after she refused to unfriend her students on Facebook.

Carol Thebarge, who taught for more than 30 years in the Claremont school system, said a school administrator gave her an ultimatum to remove all students she was friends with on Facebook or be dismissed.

Those of you who know me and my philosophy in life, that of marching to the beat of my own drummer, would assume I would choose the latter of the two choices.
And I did,” Thebarge said in a Facebook post Thursday.

Thebarge said administrators first approached her four years ago about deleting her students as friends on Facebook before issuing what Thebarge called an ultimatum recently after a fellow teacher, 29-year-old Christopher LeBlanc, was accused of sexually assaulting a student in a classroom.

Thebarge vowed to keep in touch with her students despite her dismissal.

I will continue to stay in touch with all of them here. No man or institution will dictate my relationships here, or otherwise that are within the range of my own consciousness. This is not rebellion. It is standing up for my beliefs… for silence and compliance is agreement,” Thebarge wrote in the Facebook post.

WMUR-TV has attempted to contact Claremont school administrators but they have not responded.


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By Jim Morrison, The Patriot Ledger

Ben Johnston of Quincy, and his son, Oliver,at home.

QUINCY, Mass. — When a new father from Quincy read that his college buddy’s next-door neighbor in Brookline was ill and in desperate need of a kidney, he did what few people would even consider.

He volunteered to be tested to see if he was a match, our news partners at the Patriot Ledger reported.

He was.

Ben Johnston, a 32-year-old songwriting student at Berklee College of Music, decided he would donate a major organ to a total stranger.

The man who needed the kidney was Dr. Ferenc “Frank” Jolesz, 67, who was suffering from kidney failure for the second time. His daughter Marta Jolesz donated a kidney to him about seven years earlier.

“There’s a huge shortage of available organs and people are dying every day” Marta Jolesz, 37, said. “The average person is on the waiting list for five to 10 years. Most people don’t have that kind of time. My dad didn’t have that kind of time.”

The Brookline TAB profiled Jolesz and his efforts to find a donor via a website and Facebook last August.

“If the TAB wouldn’t have run the article, I wouldn’t have found out about it,” Johnston said.

“Basically, when I first read about it, I thought, ‘Oh, he’ll have no problem finding a donor,'” Johnston said. “Then, I thought if this person was my father or my father-in-law or someone I cared about, and he didn’t find a donor, I’d probably be angry.”

The idea got lodged in his mind and didn’t go away, and Johnston said he’s not sure why.

“I even waited a few days to tell (my wife),” said Johnston. “I thought it would go away, and it didn’t.”

Johnston’s wife, Heidi, is the pastor of the Faith Lutheran Church in Quincy. She had just started a new job and given birth to the couple’s son, Oliver, two months before. She was not enthusiastic about her husband undergoing a major elective surgery, so she spent about a week contemplating the decision, spiritually.

“Every week I stand up in the pulpit and ask people to step outside their comfort zone and care for people in need,” Heidi Johnston said. “I thought, ‘This is the opportunity that we’ve been given to do that,’ and I thought I should support Ben.”

Ben Johnston did some research and learned that most donors are back on their feet in a couple of months. Also, the hospital staff emphasized that he was free to change his mind at any stage of the testing, which took about two months.

Ben Johnston is composing a song about his organ-donation experience. This is the first verse of what is tentatively titled “Goodbye, Dear Kidney.”

After a third of a century, you up

and left me

Jumped right in to some other man

All my scars are still healing, and

I’ve got the feeling

I won’t be seeing you again

You left a hole deep within in me,

and I’m just beginning

To fill up the space the best that I can

And though sometimes I miss you,

the truth is I wish you

A long happy life with him

So goodbye, goodbye dear kidney

If I start to cry, if my tears don’t dry, forgive me

It’s hard to let you go, but in my heart I know

You’re better off without me

So goodbye, goodbye dear kidney

Heidi said she was with the Jolesz family while Ben and Frank were in the operating room, which was a great comfort. Ben’s surgery went very quickly.

“The kidney started perfusing (taking in blood) instantly,” said Heidi. “We were hugging and crying at Brigham and Women’s. That was incredible. That certainly bonds you. The daughters were in Ben’s hospital (room) rubbing his head and feet.

Jolesz wasn’t able to do a face-to-face interview because of the drugs he is taking to suppress his immune system, but he wrote in an email that he’s feeling much better.

“Ben gave me the gift of life, something that I almost lost,” Jolesz wrote. “Words are not enough to express my gratitude for Ben and Heidi’s selfless act of helping me. My hope is that what they did for me will motivate others to help those in need.”

Ben served two tours of duty in Iraq when he was an officer in the Army. His job was building bridges and other kinds of road construction. He said that he felt ambivalent about his work and the war in general, but donating a kidney was something he’d do again if he could.

It’s now just over two months after the operation and Ben said that except for the occasional pain at the incision, “I’m pretty much back to normal, and to me, that’s such a small amount of time to give someone a new lease on life. I would do it again.

“It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. Heidi made me a scrapbook for Christmas, and I get emotional looking at the pictures and reading what his daughters wrote.”

Everybody interviewed for this story said that they hope it encourages more people to donate kidneys.

“Everything aligned for Ben and he was able to give the gift of life to my father and help our family,” said Marta Jolesz. “This journey has been truly unbelievable, and we feel so fortunate to find not only a donor, but a donor like Ben and his family.”

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