Florida Teen Expelled Because of Facebook Group
Marie Couto decided she hated her school. So do a lot of 13-year-olds.
Earlier this summer, the soon-to-be-eighth-grader from The Montessori School of Pensacola created a Facebook group titled, "I HATE MONTESSORI."
On July 23, she was expelled from school, and her tuition was refunded.
"It is apparent from Marie's recent Facebook 'I Hate Montessori' club that The Montessori School of Pensacola and Marie are not a good match," wrote school co-owner Maria Mitkevicius to Marie's mother. "This letter is to inform you that Marie may not return to MSP in August."
Marie's mother, Veronica, said she understands the private school has the freedom to kick out her daughter, but she said she was taken aback by the decision.
"It was a complete surprise to me," she said. "It was too drastic of a measure."
Veronica Couto said Mitkevicius called her on July 19 and told her about Marie's Facebook group but said she was too upset to talk to her about how Marie would be punished.
Couto told her daughter to write an apology, post it on the site and leave the Facebook group. The group had seven members at the height of its popularity.
"I was bored and I saw all my friends had little groups, and I wanted to have a group that people would join," Marie said.
Marie said she never specifically mentioned the school's name and did not write anything about her teachers or the school owners.
Her apology reads: "I would like apologize to the Montessori School of Pensacola including the owners, all the teachers, all the students, and also all the staff members for starting this group. It was not my intention to offend anyone, It was a joke, and now I realise that it was not funny to anyone but myself."
Montessori officials declined to comment on the specifics of the incident, saying in a statement: "It is a private matter between the school and the family. We wish the student success at the new school."
Veronica Couto said she has joined Facebook so she can keep a closer eye on her daughter. Next year, Marie will attend Escambia Christian School.
The child seems less distraught about her expulsion than her mother.
"I was really shocked that they expelled me, but then I was mad," Marie said. "And then I realized I don't like that school anyway. So good for me, now."