Facebook postings come back to haunt board member
Updated 5:16 pm, Thursday, September 8, 2011
Mrs. Caco, a resident of Washington, was reprimanded Aug. 22 during a discussion by the board about a series of July 30 posts on her personal Facebook page allegedly directed at departing Washington Primary School principal Gail Prelli.
Mrs. Prelli left the district Aug. 26 to take a professorship at the University of Bridgeport.
The posts went up the same day Superintendent of Schools Bruce Storm sent an email to board members informing them of Mrs. Prelli's letter of resignation, board Chairman James Hirschfield said.
"Can this day get any better! I just received a wonderful surprise in email. It is great to be in the know. Yes!" Mrs. Caco's first post of that day reads.
Then her post followed, "This is the song playing in my head: "Ding Dong! The witch is dead. Which old witch? The Wicked Witch! Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead."
Followed by a final post: "Then this is a day of independence for all the Munchkins."
Pointing out the posts in an Aug. 18 email, Mr. Hirschfield reminded Mrs. Caco of her role in the community as a Board of Education member, adding "I believe these are inappropriate comments from you (as a board member)."
"You are no longer simply a parent with children in the school system... your conduct vis-a-vis the school system is held to a higher standard," Mr. Hirschfield said, reading his email out loud at the Aug. 26 meeting.
Mrs. Caco does not deny the posts are hers. She took umbrage with the reprimand.
"I was called out on my First Amendment rights in regard to Facebook," Mrs. Caco said. "As a board member, I am held to a higher standard? There is no place on Facebook where I post as a Board of Ed member."
"I have a personal page and a professional page," she said. "And a lot of this is assumption by members of the board about what I meant."
The formal reprimand also mentioned a spring of 2011 response by Mrs. Caco to a parent's post when she gave the post a "thumbs up" like. The parent had vented about a "secretary at the primary school," referring to the woman in derogatory language and calling for her "to retire."
"I believe your conduct has demeaned not only the "secretary," Gail Prelli and the entire Region 12 community," Mr. Hirschfield said. "I hope this will be the end of the matter... and I will consider the matter closed."
Facebook is a social media site in which people exchange information and comments with the others who they "Friend."
Mrs. Caco has 695 friends on her personal Facebook page. Facebook page Friends can also read posted responses by other people made to their Friends.