And You Thought Natalie Munroe Was An Unethical Teacher…Well, Meet Jeremy Hollinger

Jeremy Hollinger, showing his compassion for his students' struggles

Remember Natalie Munroe, the teacher who blogged about how much she detested her high school students, calling them names like “rat-boy” and “jerkoff”? What, you may ask, could be more destructive to the necessary trust between teacher and student, or parents and the teacher to whom they entrust their student’s education, short of actual abuse?

How about a teacher ridiculing his grade school special ed students?

Believe it or not, that’s what Jeremy Hollinger, a Mobile (Ala.)County Public School teacher who handles a second grade special education class at the Eichold-Mertz Elementary School did on his Facebook page. (In news reports, that’s what he “allegedly” did, or “is accused of” doing. In fact, all the evidence is public, it is clear and unambiguous, and the bottom line is, he did it.) Most spectacularly, Hollinger posted a mocking picture of himself wearing a seizure helmet and making a goofy face. Among his charming jibes at the young and challenged children in his class were such satirical comments on their behavior as “I guess crayons are on the menu” and “Why is there shit on the floor?”

We don’t have to debate this, do we? Surely we can agree that a special ed teacher must be able to empathize, sympathize, care for and be compassionate to his students, and have an abundance of patience and skill to properly deal with their behavioral and learning problems. For such a teacher to ridicule special needs 7 year-olds in a public forum—Hollinger’s Facebook page was open to all, and he lists nearly 2000 “friends”—shows suppressed anger, mean-spiritedness, disrespect, irresponsibility and a jaw-dropping absence of common sense. This isn’t a matter of disciplining a teacher for unpopular opinions on his own blog. As with Holloway, the teacher has disqualified himself for his profession by destroying any reasonable trust in his judgment and attitudes.

The mother of one of Hollinger’s students who saw Hollinger’s Facebook page (and whose son wears a seizure helmet) pulled the boy out of the class and transferred him to another school, but the one who should be moving out is the teacher. Like Munroe, however, Hollinger will apparently keep his job, because school systems are terrified of unions and lawsuits, because school administrators lost their spines over eons of evolution, and because education in this country is no longer about teaching, but about protecting jobs, even those of teachers who are a disgrace to their profession.

A spokesperson for the  Mobile County Public School system told reporters, “The appropriate measures were taken by our Human Resources Department.” Since Hollinger still has his job teaching the second-graders whose problems he finds so simultaneously disgusting and mirth-inducing, we can only take this to mean that the school system thinks it is appropriate to have its most vulnerable charges taught by individuals who have contempt for them.

Good to know.

A Side Note in Pique: I originally read this story on a blog called Insane Asylum. As is my practice, I wanted to give the site credit; as is also my practice, I attempted to copy parts of the story so I could get quotes and names straight without having to re-type each one from the site itself….you know my typing accuracy. The site wouldn’t let me do it, sending me a pop-up box saying “Wait a minute! At least you could like us on Facebook first!” The box doesn’t even supply a link to its Facebook page; you have to type it in (no, you can’t copy and paste that, either.) So I “liked” the $#&^%! page, and it STILL wouldn’t let me copy any text; it kept showing me the box. The practice is obnoxious and coercive, and I you couldn’t get me back on that blog with a forklift…and no, I don’t like your Facebook page, Insane Asylum, or you.

In fact, you can bite me.

20 thoughts on “And You Thought Natalie Munroe Was An Unethical Teacher…Well, Meet Jeremy Hollinger

  1. I hope not. I understand where they’re coming from, but it’d be better if they said, “To discourage plagiarism or whatever, we’ve disabled copying and pasting.” Just be honest about it, if they’re going to bother.

  2. People who aspire to become teachers of children,especially special ed children,should have special qualifications themselves such as love for children,a genuine desire to teach,and be adults. Seems so many in our society are just as childish as children.

    • This disgusts me. You want to know what’s worse? His daddy, former SUPERINTEDANT of schools got him admin leave WITH PAY!!!!!! He now works in the mall if that makes anyone want to go buy a hat from the sports shop….. LOSER. Also wouldn’t hurt to have HIM kicked around a bit……..

  3. It’s sad enough when children bully each other. As adult, Jeremy Hollinger, should be setting an example. Shame on him, and shame on Eichold-Mertz school for keeping him employed and exposing his behavior to our children. If my child/children were in his class I’d start asking questions as if he had been abusive to them. i hope the mother of student who owns the helmet which he took a picture of himself gets a good attorney and sues Jeremy Hollinger personally and also the school.

    • I agree with the characterization of Hollinger and the school. His communication on Facebook, obnoxious as it is, almost certainly can’t support a lawsuit…it’s just an insult, and obviously not intended to be seen by his targets, the kids. (He is also a coward.)

      • I agree. I myself have a special needs child and this made me cry. Where do they find these teachers? He and his childish wife both worked at the same school….the superintendent father also got her removed swiftly….. How convenient for them both. NO consequences….. And what a shame…..

  4. As the parent of a disabled child, I am more than a little bit outraged having read this story. I encourage you to call the school and voice your opinion – as I have already done. The telephone number is: 251-221-1210. You may also want to visit the school’s website: http://mertz.mce.schoolinsites.com.
    On this website you can read this “teacher’s” bio – in his own words – and see that he clearly has a lack of basic grammar skills in addition to his lack of humanity. He also claims to be working toward a masters degree in Psychometry (“the incredible psychic ability to sense an object’s past, present and future – through touch” – according to one definition I found on Google.) Is this really the best we can do for our most vulnerable students?! Or is this only the best we can do in states like Alabama? I can state with absolute certainty that this “teacher” would NEVER have been HIRED, let alone allowed to keep his job in my school district in MA.

  5. My son is brilliant, impatient with morons, and not easily taught in areas where he has no interest. But your example of this sadistic teacher is one reason, among others, why my son is home-schooled, with a part-time tutor.

    The proof positive that Hollinger is a true idiot and belongs in special ed for adults (or jail, for child abuse?) is that he actually posted this crap on his Facebook page. How funny, how wise, how confidential… Or perhaps we should be grateful he’s mentally, emotionally, and socially impaired: otherwise we wouldn’t have known about him and there may not be a move to try to remove him from his school, or at the least refuse to send one’s children to his school and tell them why.

  6. The good news is that this idiot self-identified on his FB page as someone who should clearly never be allowed to teach children. Hopefully he will not be a teacher much longer. As of Monday, 10/17, he was still employed in the same school but there is an investigation ongoing. I spoke with the assistant principal of the school (and voiced my outrage) then spoke with the assistant superintendent of schools. She was quite polite and interested in hearing my point of view. I had the distinct impression at the end of the call that the issue would be appropriately handled. Bottom line – those of us in the special ed community cannot sit back and do nothing when these stories surface – we must come together as a group and make phone calls, write letters and let those responsible know that we will not tolerate the abuse of our children.

    • Your conduct is exemplary for taking the initiative. This is exactly what we all need to do, and the examples of outrageous teacher behavior are terrific opportunities to affect the culture positively. We can reverse the passivity that allows there to be so little accountability in society, but it takes time and passion. Bravo.

  7. First of all I would like to say thank you for all of your comments. I’m the aunt of the child who had to be transferred. As of today we found that the Mobile County public school systems actions are administrative paid leave. We plan on pushing further because if he feels that way about children he should not be working there.

  8. Cly – When I spoke with the asst. superintendent of schools, it was my understanding that an investigation was underway and that the outrage being expressed was certainly not falling on deaf ears. Frankly, I had the impression that this “teacher” will not be allowed to continue in his position, but the decision to remove him will take time and, of course, the asst. superintendent could not publicly comment at this time. One thing you may want to look into if you’re speaking with an attorney … if you look at the picture in question you’ll notice that Hollinger is posing in front of a collage of his students. Unless all of the parents of these students have waived their privacy rights, it’s quite likely that it was illegal for him to have posted a picture of these special needs children publicly. I know where I live it would be illegal for anyone to use any classroom pictures taken of my special needs daughter anywhere – including in the classroom – without my prior written consent. I have to sign a consent form each year. Some of the comments on the Huffington Post article were downright nasty, and showed clear ignorance of the special needs community and the children (and their parents) who live in this world. I hope your family knows that there are just as many people out there who are not ignorant and are caring and accepting. My best to you and your family.

  9. Thank you!!! We do not plan on taking any legal action, our whole purpose is to let the other parents know the kind of person there trusting there kids to. It is now a waiting game, but trust me we will not stop until something is done and a paid vacation does not work for me. I will keep you guys updated and thanks so much for doing the story.

    • A paid vacation wouldn’t work for me either.

      As a teacher who has a history of seizures and has experienced forced unpaid leave as a result of switching medications, I cannot fathom a man who gets a paid vacation for making fun of children. I don’t care whether they can see his insults or not. I wonder what he says in his classroom. I’m sure his “humor” spills into his interactions with the kids and, whether or not they fully get it, they’re probably picking up some of it.

      This is terrible.

  10. I am in the process of becoming a Special Ed teacher and this story breaks my heart! I believe that the job is one that too many of the wrong people find themselves I because it is available and the quickest to get. To stop situations like this; teachers should be closely monitored or checked on periodically. These kids can teach you more about life then someone with different capabilities, such as you or I perhaps, will ever dream about knowing! They have a special and specific kind of heart that everyone needs a piece of. This man does not deserve the privilege to work with any student.

  11. This is a quick question and I will be done. What if you post two pictures of two students you work with and they have special needs, so what would happen to them, but they didn’t know about it until another PARA Educator told them and they deleted it, so nobody else knew about it. Have a good day. Talk to you later.

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