Elizabeth Cucinotta, a lesbian business teacher at St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows, Queens, was fired from her post after refusing to take down her website BurnAndRotInHell.com, where visitors can anonymous lash out at anyone they see fit, not just classmates and teachers. St. Francis Prep administrators got upset — and went to the local Fox 5 station — when students and teachers at the school began getting bashed on the site. Why the hell is a school teacher running a cyber bullying website?
A teacher at Prep for four years, and a graduate of the school herself, Cucinotta says she “take[s] full responsibility and I will not be taking any action against the school” for her firing, which principal Brother Leonard Conway said Prep did because Cucinotta “refused to meet with us” about the matter. Conway found her “in violation of the mission of the school and the web policy in the faculty handbook.” The school’s biggest problem with the site, which launched just a few days before Prep tried to confront Cucinotta, was the “Bad Teachers” and “Bad Students” category.
Amazingly Cucinotta, a former attorney, insists the site is anything but a forum to attack people: “This is not a cyberbullying site,” she tells the Queens Chronicle. “I’m a gay woman and I’ve been bullied and spit on and I would never tolerate it.” Except here’s just one post on the site, which is representative of many:
Dear obnoxious hippo of a college student, either find a new place to hangout or change your pompous-bitch attitude. You do not have valid ideas. That fat nose on your face is not meant to be shoved into others’ business. Your presence is quite generally disgusted. Why aren’t you shooed away at sight? Unfortunately, being Magic the Gathering lovin’ outcasts, your “friends” happen to have a fear of rejecting chances to socialize just as much as you do. So, walking-bag-of-shit, everyday you decide to pay a little visit to your “buddies”, you’re tolerated like a sniveling bawling baby in the middle of a high-class movie theater. When you’re not around, trust me, your existence is mercilessly insulted into a pile of jokes that involve words like ‘fat-asstard’ and ‘dur-dur for brains’. Thumbs up for everyone who engages in ignoring your pitiful attempts at life! Until you actually earn that wad of crap you call an ego, Burn and rot in hell!
Maybe because the comment doesn’t identify the “obnoxious hippo of a college student,” it’s not actually cyber-bullying? Indeed, Cucinotta insists the site’s strict Terms Of Service are enough to keep real cyber bullies away. Which is just ridiculous. This is is the definition of a cyber bullying forum, plain and simple.
At least Cucinotta has tools in place to police the site, I guess.
She noted that if someone is defamed wrongly and it’s reported, the post will be removed from the website. “Names are used in every social network,” Cucinotta said. “We can examine a post and delete it if it’s warranted.”
She came up with the website’s name “because that’s what you say when you’re angry at someone” and “anything else I thought of was already taken.” She says she’s not mad at the school or anything else. “I have a wonderful life and a 5-year-old son with my partner and I’ve gotten wonderful letters from my students, who have been very supportive.” Cucinotta indicated starting the website was both time-consuming and expensive. “We are getting 80,000 views a day and we will try to make money on it now with ads,” she said, adding it could become another social network like Facebook.
Meanwhile Cucinotta’s own profile on RateMyTeachers.com, a site similar to her own that lets high school and college students (and anyone really) rate their own instructors, includes this telling comment: “She is a disgusting piece of you-know-what and I am glad she’s finally gone from Prep.” Karma, something something?