How far should free speech extend?

Cpt_pineapple
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How far should free speech extend?

I came across Hamby's latest examiner article

 

http://www.examiner.com/atheism-in-atlanta/florida-teacher-suspended-for-anti-gay-facebook-comments

 

 

about a teacher who posted anti-gay comments on facebook and was suspended for it.

 

So basically, the same questions Hamby posed in the article.

 

 

Hamby wrote:

 

Was this suspension unfair?  Do you believe that Jerry Buell deserves any punishment at all?  Should schools and other public services be allowed to include "codes of conduct" that prohibit private expression of questionable content?  What about "private" discussions that involve current students?  Do teachers have the obligation to censor any self-expression that might be seen by students, even outside the classroom?

What do you think? 


Continue reading on Examiner.com Florida teacher suspended for anti-gay Facebook comments. - Atlanta atheism | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/atheism-in-atlanta/florida-teacher-suspended-for-anti-gay-facebook-comments#ixzz1ViDFCtCl

 

  

 


Atheistextremist
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This is a good question

 

How much can be subtracted from free speech? And what is a hate crime? I tend to think the golden rule should apply on all sides and talk that causes hurt to others should be avoided.

Anti-gays might argue they are outraged or offended by gay lifestyles but they aren't the ones with the runaway teen suicide stats. 

I think it's possible to say you disagree with particular things while keeping the vitriol absent. It is possible to disagree while respecting the rights of others.

On this last, I think you'd need to give cogent reasons for your position. In the case of gayness, you couldn't just say - I disagree because god hates it.

Maybe it's the reasons for a position that define it's worth. Should a teacher be making arbitrary value judgments like this? Nope. I think the teacher was wrong. 

 

 

 

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Children and teens can be so

Children and teens can be so sensitive.  Isn't it your place as an instructor to teach and not to comment on their personal attributes?  How can learning take place if someone in your class knows you hate that student for something they have no control over?

Is saying you hate blondes okay?

I would think any profession involves a certain personal censorship.  You do not tell your boss they are stupid and fat.  Not unless you want to get fired.  You do not say that about your co-workers or your clients and customers - even if it is true.  Be overheard by your boss and you would most likely be fired. 

I don't see why you shouldn't be censored - and reprimanded and fired - for conduct that is not supportive of attaining the stated goals of your work place.

I think the attitude by this instructor probably is included in that admittedly vast expanse of nonproductive attitudes.  And if he can't self censor, then his boss(es) will certainly do it for him.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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 First of all, this guy has

 First of all, this guy has a very powerful SCOTUS case. The base law here comes from Pickering v. Board of Education where a teacher was fired for writing a letter to the op-ed page of the newspaper. SCOTUS created a test to determine if speech from government employees was protected. If it is a matter of public concern, a government employee has the same free speech rights you or I have. The only exception is if the comments are directed to a particular person that employee comes in contact with on a daily bases. For example, if the teacher wrote about how a coworker was gay and proceeded to bash them in a personal attack, it would not be protected. Unless I am missing some facts, this guy has a slam dunk legal case to be reinstated with full pay.

 

He might be an ignorant prick, but he has the Constitutional right to be one. Teachers can be politically active (and many are), they can actively campaign in their free time for whomever they want and spout their political views to the world. Future SCOTUS cases protected the rights of teachers to speak on talk radio and even extended the protection to government contractors. I don't see how facebook is any different than speaking through the newspaper or on the radio. 

It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.-H.L. Mencken


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cj wrote:Children and teens

cj wrote:

Children and teens can be so sensitive.  Isn't it your place as an instructor to teach and not to comment on their personal attributes?  How can learning take place if someone in your class knows you hate that student for something they have no control over?

Is saying you hate blondes okay?

I would think any profession involves a certain personal censorship.  You do not tell your boss they are stupid and fat.  Not unless you want to get fired.  You do not say that about your co-workers or your clients and customers - even if it is true.  Be overheard by your boss and you would most likely be fired. 

I don't see why you shouldn't be censored - and reprimanded and fired - for conduct that is not supportive of attaining the stated goals of your work place.

I think the attitude by this instructor probably is included in that admittedly vast expanse of nonproductive attitudes.  And if he can't self censor, then his boss(es) will certainly do it for him.

 

It wasn't said at work. It was posted on the internet, I believe from his personal computer at home, much like you just posted here. What would you say if someone here was suspended because their employer found out they were atheist posting on this site? Or if I fired someone because I found out they attended an Obama rally? Or what about all those teachers who routinely show up at very political protests? Is political speech only ok when they happen to agree with you?

 

 

 

It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.-H.L. Mencken


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Having read a link or two

Having read a link or two deeper (but no further, dammit! not worth it), I believe the only thing unethical (in a professional sense) he did was to have students as Facebook 'friends' when he made the comments. I agree with the idea that there should be a fairly firm line between certain professions (like teachers, counsellors, etc.) and their clients/students. Too much possibility for conflict of interest.

If he had not let his statements bleed into his professional sphere via 'friending', then it would be a clear case of freedom of speech. I tend to agree with Hamby that he should apologize to the students he friended on FB, and immediately defriend them. As to whether his actions should result in serious professional consequences, I'll leave that to others more informed than me to figure out.

Though I strongly disagree with him, I would definitely defend his right to free speech if that were the only question involved. I side with Voltaire on this issue, though I'm not sure if I'd be brave enough to "defend to the death".

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Beyond Saving wrote:It

Beyond Saving wrote:

It wasn't said at work. It was posted on the internet, I believe from his personal computer at home, much like you just posted here. What would you say if someone here was suspended because their employer found out they were atheist posting on this site? Or if I fired someone because I found out they attended an Obama rally? Or what about all those teachers who routinely show up at very political protests? Is political speech only ok when they happen to agree with you?

 

How would you react if an employee posted on social media about your customers and clients in a really not flattering fashion?  And one of your clients complained?  Does your employee have freedom of speech and do you have the freedom to fire his ass?

Political speech is fine with me.  Under all conditions.  As long as you aren't personal, as you stated.  It is one thing to say, "I don't agree with Democrats/Republicans/Tea-Partiers/Socialists/Communists/Capitalists, etc" and another entirely to say "All <whoever> should be shot!"  One is an opinion, one is a threat.  Threats are not allowed.  That has been held up forever.

But that is not what we are talking about.  Saying you hate gays is not political - except where the political parties have made it so.  It is personal.  And this guy was saying it when some of his students might be gay and had access to his page.  If you are going to post stuff like that, turn on the privacy so anyone has to be a "friend" to see it.  And police the friend list for that page.  Then have a separate open page for student access where you toe the line for easily offended students and administrators.  I don't see this as protected since his opinion could be seen as a clear threat to some of his students.   Regardless of my opinion on whether or not he is a dumb ass.

 

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cj wrote:How would you react

cj wrote:

How would you react if an employee posted on social media about your customers and clients in a really not flattering fashion?  And one of your clients complained?  Does your employee have freedom of speech and do you have the freedom to fire his ass?

If they mentioned the client directly? Sure, fired in a heartbeat. If they are ranting and raving about how they don't like gays, christians, muslims, atheists, blondes etc. I would tell the client that I am not in the business of policing what my employees think or say off the clock. I am an employer in a financial relationship, not their mother and I am extremely disturbed by the trend of companies trying to police their employees actions away from work. I have heard of companies that have tried to force their employees to quit smoking, lose weight, or fired people for pictures posted on facebook etc. IMO an employers authority starts and ends at the place of employment during the hours the employee agreed to work. Anything outside that scope is none of my business.

 

It is a good point that he probably shouldn't have students friended on facebook unless he sets up a facebook page specially for the purposes of school, using it for supplemental tutoring for example. That would probably be a good policy for all schools to implement. But as far as I know, that was not the policy at the school and not the reason he was suspended. He was suspended on the basis of what he said, and that is wrong. Since he happens to be a government employee, he also enjoys legal protection.

It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.-H.L. Mencken


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Atheistextremist wrote:
How much can be subtracted from free speech?

 

The point is valid but let me restate it.

 

How much can be removed from freedom in general and one is still free?

 

At the theoretical level, not even the tiniest sliver. However, that does not take into account the freedom of others. However, I will set that one aside for a moment.

 

The question at hand seems to be whether you can say things on FB that, well, in the end, FB doesn't care about and get away with it?

 

Does the administration take a dim view of what he said? I am happy that they have opinions. I am not so happy that they think they have some special magical ability to make their opinions have the force of law.

 

What I do not see from the blog post is why this is even an issue. Did the teacher require the students to follow his FB page? Did the kids find it and think it would be cool to keep track of the guy? Who complained and what is the background to the complaint?

 

If the complaint came from a student who (could be straight but this does not matter) sets off gaydar and thinks he has not been graded fairly, then there is something worth looking into.

 

If we are looking at someone, possibly half the planet away, who is clearly not invested in the situation, then what the hell is going on here?

 

>>>>>>

 

Now, let me return to the line of limits on free speech. This goes to cj's idea of self censorship.

 

Sure, people should have a sensitivity to those around them. They should know when things are better left unsaid. To encode such ideas in the law needs to be very carefully considered.

 

Let me take the sexual harassment laws as the example. I fail to see how free speech work in the context of using a power base to attempt to compel a BJ.

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A 'teacher of the year' is

A 'teacher of the year' is way too rare man at this job to be persecuted for a personal opinion. This is too much close to a thought crime. And I'd rather have a homophobe teacher than some neurotic teachers I had. Surely most of students will concur.

The writer H. P. Lovecraft showed on his example, that it is possible to be a racist, yet remain a gentleman and have ethnically non-white friends. Later in life he was ashamed for his racism. Maybe if he would be punished for it, he might have retained it as a form of resistance. 

People should be judged for their actions, not for thoughts. Thoughts can change, actions can't be erased. 

But we know thoughts and words lead to actions. This requires a personal approach, not another law.  Based on the seriousness of this teacher's words, (I didn't read enough to make an opinion) his superiors should watch him (not oppressively) and if possible, engage in conversation about his ethics, motives and plans. (someone from the staff should invite him for a beer after work) And make sure he knows what happens to him, if he persecutes some students for being gays or anything else. As it seems, he knows that very well and doesn't bring his prejudice into classroom. So what's the problem?

After all, gayness is a form of sexuality and sexuality isn't a frequent topic in our daily routine. And gays aren't more sexual than anyone else, they're not likely to show off their differences. (unless homophobes provoke them into gay parades) I think homophobes should be tacitly informed, that their extreme dislike of gays might be interpreted as a fear of their own hidden gayness. And that gays have normal feelings and human rights and they need some form of marriage-like union and also may want to adopt children. To hate gays is one thing, to hate their rights and dehumanize them is another. 

 

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 I wouldn't call a

 I wouldn't call a worldwide broadcast of your opinions private expression anyway.


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Not sure I follow what you

Not sure I follow what you mean. Free speech covers public speech as well as private.


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 Free speech under the

 Free speech under the first amendment prevents the government from restricting free expression and he works for the government so maybe they can't stop him. The school board though has a right to impose a code of ethics and that's what I was talking about.

 
Quote:
Should schools and other public services be allowed to include "codes of conduct" that prohibit private expression of questionable content?
  The first problem is that a global broadcast isn't private.

 

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I think he has every right

I think he has every right to say what he said, and that the school board similarly has every right to can him for it. Freedom comes with responsibility. The internet has come as a shock to bigots everywhere. He made a public comment unwarrantedly degrading a specific and observably unique section of the population in print, which is effectively libel. People have been fired for less. Much less.

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Gauche wrote: Free speech

Gauche wrote:

 Free speech under the first amendment prevents the government from restricting free expression and he works for the government so maybe they can't stop him. The school board though has a right to impose a code of ethics and that's what I was talking about.

 
Quote:
Should schools and other public services be allowed to include "codes of conduct" that prohibit private expression of questionable content?
  The first problem is that a global broadcast isn't private.

 

 

You are equivocating the word "private". It is private in the sense that he was not performing his official duties or speaking as a government official. That it was broadcast to a large audience is irrelevant in this use of the word. 

It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.-H.L. Mencken


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Luminon wrote: And I'd

Luminon wrote:

 And I'd rather have a homophobe teacher than some neurotic teachers I had. Surely most of students will concur.

Not if you were gay, you wouldn't. Especially if it was a popular teacher. You would be totally screwed.

Of course, they're totally screwed now as well. If that guy got suspended, guess who's bad times at school just got worse ?

 

 


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If that was not done during

If that was not done during work time then he should not have been suspended. Teachers should be allowed to have there own views, as long as they do not express  them during work hours I couldn't careless about them.

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Beyond Saving wrote:You are

Beyond Saving wrote:

You are equivocating the word "private". It is private in the sense that he was not performing his official duties or speaking as a government official. That it was broadcast to a large audience is irrelevant in this use of the word. 

I didn't think the article was using the word "private" only in that sense because it talks about private opinions and private discussions but maybe it is. 

 

 

 

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Antipatris wrote:Luminon

Antipatris wrote:

Luminon wrote:

 And I'd rather have a homophobe teacher than some neurotic teachers I had. Surely most of students will concur.

Not if you were gay, you wouldn't. Especially if it was a popular teacher. You would be totally screwed.

Of course, they're totally screwed now as well. If that guy got suspended, guess who's bad times at school just got worse ?

Dunno how about you, but during my school years I had never seen a gay. Or never identified one. Never seen anybody who would care about that. And at high school I was in all male class, predominantly male school. (technical area) Or actually, I had seen a gay or bi, he was my class master teacher, but we only  found out when he got very drunk (as we all) Smiling

Anyway, a neurotic teacher always harms whole class, or the more sensitive students. (bad memories) But a homophobe teacher may keep his opinions to himself, or else. I find it hard to imagine how someone is a good teacher and then finds out one student is a gay and then he decides to be a bad teacher in his case. 

 

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Beyond Saving wrote:Gauche

Beyond Saving wrote:

Gauche wrote:

 Free speech under the first amendment prevents the government from restricting free expression and he works for the government so maybe they can't stop him. The school board though has a right to impose a code of ethics and that's what I was talking about.

 
Quote:
Should schools and other public services be allowed to include "codes of conduct" that prohibit private expression of questionable content?
  The first problem is that a global broadcast isn't private.

 

You are equivocating the word "private". It is private in the sense that he was not performing his official duties or speaking as a government official. That it was broadcast to a large audience is irrelevant in this use of the word. 

No, I think I take his point. Codes of ethics can cover what one does in one's private life if it was part of an agreement or contract prior to employment. For instance, doctors, lawyers, most counsellors, and other professions restrict what a person may or may not do 'off duty'. A good parallel example would be that of a psychiatrist or psychologist fraternizing with their patients outside of the professional setting. This is considered unethical according to whatever group defines the professional/medical ethics of p. docs. I'm pretty darn sure (but not positive) that teachers are under some similar ethical standard.

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Well Natural, from the psych world, I can tell you that the code of ethics derives from licensing agencies. A specific employment contract could probably do that as well but since the matter is external to the fact of employment, I have not heard of any employers doing that.

 

I have no idea how that would connect to teachers though. If your professional credentials are vettable, then I think you can probably get a job. Then too, this specific case comes from Florida and they have been in the news many times for all manner of issues. If memory serves, they have had a few cases in the past few years of teachers bedding down with students. So this could be a professional violation but it could also be that they just never got around to making those rules (then we have a matter of someone being punished for breaking a rule which has not been written). They could also have taken the lessons to heart and actually passed some rules. I really don't know on that though.

 

I think that pauljohntheskeptic lives down there. Perhaps he knows more on that.

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Luminon wrote:Dunno how

Luminon wrote:
Dunno how about you, but during my school years I had never seen a gay.

Yes, you have. You just never saw one out of the closet.

Luminon wrote:
Or never identified one.

You can identify gay people ? Kewl.

Luminon wrote:
Never seen anybody who would care about that.

In high school ? Are you being serious ?

Luminon wrote:
And at high school I was in all male class, predominantly male school. (technical area) Or actually, I had seen a gay or bi, he was my class master teacher, but we only  found out when he got very drunk (as we all) Smiling

I hope you learned from that that there's no such thing as a "gaydar". Smiling

Luminon wrote:
Anyway, a neurotic teacher always harms whole class, or the more sensitive students. (bad memories) But a homophobe teacher may keep his opinions to himself,

Which he didn't do, which is kind of the whole thing we're discussing here.

And like I said, the openly gay kids in that school were screwed either way.

 


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Atheistextremist wrote: How

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

How much can be subtracted from free speech? And what is a hate crime? I tend to think the golden rule should apply on all sides and talk that causes hurt to others should be avoided.

Anti-gays might argue they are outraged or offended by gay lifestyles but they aren't the ones with the runaway teen suicide stats. 

I think it's possible to say you disagree with particular things while keeping the vitriol absent. It is possible to disagree while respecting the rights of others.

On this last, I think you'd need to give cogent reasons for your position. In the case of gayness, you couldn't just say - I disagree because god hates it.

Maybe it's the reasons for a position that define it's worth. Should a teacher be making arbitrary value judgments like this? Nope. I think the teacher was wrong. 

 

 

 

Avoid any talk that can cause hurt to others? Sounds nice? But since when should anyone be forced only to say nice things about others?

Context matters. Otherwise this website could be considered harm to believers. So what if an atheist teacher posts a link on their private non school facebook page to this website?

It is impossible to force people to say only nice things about others. There are 7 billion people on this planet and we wont all like each other or always say nice things about each other.

IF all this teacher did, and it was off the clock, was merely disagree with same sex marriage, no matter how wrong or bigoted I may personally think it is, their free speech SHOULD be protected.

WHY?

Because I value my right to say things I know others may find hurtful or offensive. I want my right to say Jesus is fiction. I want my right to say that the god of Abraham is a dick and a tyrant. Now I can explain to believers all I want that that is my take on HOW the god character is written in the bible as a claim only. But that wont stop people from confusing an opinion on a work of literature from a personal attack on them.

I think it is always dangerous to say "never ever" as a blanket solution as far as speech to protect the egos of others.

Common law already says that you cannot call for the physical harm of others. That is what all of us have in common beyond any likes or hate of others. But I think it is a bad tactic to set up taboos for any side as a solution to get others to only say nice things about you.

 

 

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Brian37 wrote:WHY?Because I

Brian37 wrote:

WHY?

Because I value my right to say things I know others may find hurtful or offensive. I want my right to say Jesus is fiction. I want my right to say that the god of Abraham is a dick and a tyrant. Now I can explain to believers all I want that that is my take on HOW the god character is written in the bible as a claim only. But that wont stop people from confusing an opinion on a work of literature from a personal attack on them.

QFT! This is the core of the issue, IMO.

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Brian37
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natural wrote:Brian37

natural wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

WHY?

Because I value my right to say things I know others may find hurtful or offensive. I want my right to say Jesus is fiction. I want my right to say that the god of Abraham is a dick and a tyrant. Now I can explain to believers all I want that that is my take on HOW the god character is written in the bible as a claim only. But that wont stop people from confusing an opinion on a work of literature from a personal attack on them.

QFT! This is the core of the issue, IMO.

"QFT"???????

Not up on this usage of web speak, what does that stand for?

 

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Brian37 wrote:natural

Brian37 wrote:

natural wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

WHY?

Because I value my right to say things I know others may find hurtful or offensive. I want my right to say Jesus is fiction. I want my right to say that the god of Abraham is a dick and a tyrant. Now I can explain to believers all I want that that is my take on HOW the god character is written in the bible as a claim only. But that wont stop people from confusing an opinion on a work of literature from a personal attack on them.

QFT! This is the core of the issue, IMO.

"QFT"???????

Not up on this usage of web speak, what does that stand for?

 

Quoted for truth

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Brian37 wrote:natural

Brian37 wrote:

natural wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

WHY?

Because I value my right to say things I know others may find hurtful or offensive. I want my right to say Jesus is fiction. I want my right to say that the god of Abraham is a dick and a tyrant. Now I can explain to believers all I want that that is my take on HOW the god character is written in the bible as a claim only. But that wont stop people from confusing an opinion on a work of literature from a personal attack on them.

QFT! This is the core of the issue, IMO.

"QFT"???????

Not up on this usage of web speak, what does that stand for?

 

I'm usually the last person to figure out what an acronym stands for... how'd you take my place???

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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 I think it's wrong to say

 I think it's wrong to say freedom of expression necessarily has anything to do with the right to keep your job. It may sometimes. 

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So how many gay kids got cs

So how many gay kids got cs and ds when they earned as and bs? This really goes further than is being discussed.

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Vastet wrote:So how many gay

Vastet wrote:
So how many gay kids got cs and ds when they earned as and bs? This really goes further than is being discussed.

How many kids were out of the closet?

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Kapkao wrote:Vastet wrote:So

Kapkao wrote:

Vastet wrote:
So how many gay kids got cs and ds when they earned as and bs? This really goes further than is being discussed.

How many kids were out of the closet?

 

So I was reading an article on bullying.  Kids perceived to be gay - and many actually weren't gay - were being called derogatory names and hassled by bible-thumpers.  So if the teacher hates gays, and perceives a kid to be gay, how does he then treat the kid?  Note, you do not have to actually be gay in order to be a target of homophobia.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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cj wrote:Note, you do not

cj wrote:
Note, you do not have to actually be gay in order to be a target of homophobia.

True.

In a class with no gay kids, the bullies will simply pick someone. There are people who think this is somehow healthy behavior.

 


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What, if anything, does any

What, if anything, does any of this have to do with a teacher who thinks gay marriage is bad idea?

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Ok cj and Antipatris, how

Ok cj and Antipatris, how about this scenerio:

 

 

An atheist teacher posts on their personal facebook that they think Islam is a danger to society, and all Muslims should get out of America and go back to Arabia.

 

How would you react? Would you be concerned about Muslim students the teacher may encounter? Would you make the same statments?

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Cpt_pineapple wrote:Ok cj

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Ok cj and Antipatris, how about this scenerio:

 

 

An atheist teacher posts on their personal facebook that they think Islam is a danger to society, and all Muslims should get out of America and go back to Arabia.

 

How would you react? Would you be concerned about Muslim students the teacher may encounter? Would you make the same statments?

 

Yes.  Or if it were christians, or wiccans, or atheists, or any religion, or fat people, or brown eyes, or purple with pink polka dots colored skin.

The day after 9/11, I went to work on the bus as usual.  I felt a frisson of fear - yes, I admit it.  The bus driver that day was not the regular guy, he was Middle Eastern.  I don't know if he was Islamic or not.  Or what country.  Everyone on that bus watched him like a hawk, even me.  The poor guy was so antsy from getting stared at.  Was it logical?  Rational?  Nope.  Pure human irrational guilt by association.  I got a grip on myself after a few minutes, told my hind brain to shut it, and very ostentatiously opened the book I had bought to read during my commute.  People finally settled down and the commute continued without incident.

So, if a teacher was trashing Muslims, I would expect him/her to cause some fear/concern in those of their students who are Middle Eastern.  Something the kids have no control over. 

Taking classes at university, I have had Middle Eastern classmates in every class.  I would not be happy to have an instructor taking pot shots at them - either in person or on line.  It just isn't professional behavior.

For that matter, is it okay to tell your black students to go back to Africa?

I say no.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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Kapkao wrote:What, if

Kapkao wrote:

What, if anything, does any of this have to do with a teacher who thinks gay marriage is bad idea?

 

It was a little more than that:

Quote:

Jerry Buell is no paragon of tolerance.  His Facebook comments make that quite clear.  He views homosexuality as disgusting, a "cesspool" of "sin."  More to the point, he said, "I'm watching the news, eating dinner, when the story about the New York okaying same sex unions came on and I almost threw up."

 

"Disgusting" and "'cesspool' of 'sin'" is hardly harmless speech.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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The vile and disgusting

The vile and disgusting homophobes need to be taught a lesson. Gay marriage is awesome, hating gay marriage leads to a life of sin, they live there lives in a moral cesspool. When I see there faces I want to throw up.

 

Should I be allowed to be a teacher? Chances are there is a homophobe in every class in the world.

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Kapkao wrote:What, if

Kapkao wrote:

What, if anything, does any of this have to do with a teacher who thinks gay marriage is bad idea?

What pisses me off is not whether this teacher is for 'gay marriage' or not. But why are so many teachers not focused on getting students to learn what they need to learn to all the jobs that are going unfilled due to a lack of an educated workforce. Instead we have this stupid debate about getting the government to give gay people a piece of paper, while our economy and society collapse.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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Tapey wrote:The vile and

Tapey wrote:

The vile and disgusting homophobes need to be taught a lesson. Gay marriage is awesome, hating gay marriage leads to a life of sin, they live there lives in a moral cesspool. When I see there faces I want to throw up.

 

Should I be allowed to be a teacher? Chances are there is a homophobe in every class in the world.

 

Of course there is a homophobe in every classroom in the world.  At least one, and often many more.  The teacher, if one those, should keep their mouth shut and their hands off the keyboard.

How difficult is this to comprehend?  As an employee, I am NOT allowed to spout off any old thing I want.  Not on or off the job.  Yes, off the job I have more freedom.  And that is a good thing.  Yes, I can have any personal opinion I want about clients, customers, or students. 

But it may not be funny if I start making jokes about the people who call into a help desk.  And it certainly would not be funny if I started with the bad jokes where someone who calls into my help desk may see them.  Especially if it is about that person.  If they complain to my boss about my off the clock bad opinion of them, my boss would not care that I had freedom of speech, my ass would be fired.  And then I would get to pursue it through the court system if I had enough money, time, and energy.

The conduct microscope a teacher is under every day is much higher resolution than the average corporate desk jockey.  They are in a class room with 20-40 children or teens.  They are expected to be impartial towards all regardless of race, color, religion, creed, etc.  And social networking sites are high traffic for younger people now.  If you post on the internet, what you say will be spread around to the class and their parents before bed time.  Never, ever, put anything in an email, in a internet profile, on a web page that you won't mind seeing on the largest billboard in town.

This is not political correctness - this is common sense for keeping your job.  There must be a few thousand young college grads who would be ecstatic to get his job, the dumb ass.

This is self preservation talking - if you have a job, don't throw it away.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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Tapey wrote:
Chances are there is a homophobe in every class in the world.

 

Right. And if he was handing out different grades based on his perception of gayness, then I suspect that he would not get teacher of the year.

 

I have no problem with limits on stuff in general but they must be publicly discussed and the conversation needs to be renewed every so often to see if matters have changed.

 

I used to work with a man who was so over the top gay that Christopher Lowell would have been impressed. Every third sentence was a clear reference to the matter with him. It was actually kind of entertaining.

 

Well, at one point, he got bashed so badly that it eventually took him more than a year to learn how to walk again. This is in no way cool. In fact, the way that it went down was that he was invited to a party only to find out that he was the guest of honor and the party favors were baseball bats.

 

This went down a year or so before the whole gay marriage discussion began to become a big deal socially. Even so, who sat next to him while he was in the intensive care ward? Nobody. His genetic family had disowned him. His friend whom he has been living with for a great many years? Well, the rules must be followed and the dude is only a friend despite the relationship.

 

 

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Tapey wrote:The vile and

Tapey wrote:

The vile and disgusting homophobes need to be taught a lesson. Gay marriage is awesome, hating gay marriage leads to a life of sin, they live there lives in a moral cesspool. When I see there faces I want to throw up.

 

Should I be allowed to be a teacher? Chances are there is a homophobe in every class in the world.

Definitely not an English teacher.

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Cpt_pineapple wrote:Ok cj

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Ok cj and Antipatris, how about this scenerio:

 

 

An atheist teacher posts on their personal facebook that they think Islam is a danger to society, and all Muslims should get out of America and go back to Arabia.

 

How would you react? Would you be concerned about Muslim students the teacher may encounter? Would you make the same statments?

 

Yes.

No offense, but duh.


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cj wrote:Tapey wrote:The

cj wrote:

Tapey wrote:

The vile and disgusting homophobes need to be taught a lesson. Gay marriage is awesome, hating gay marriage leads to a life of sin, they live there lives in a moral cesspool. When I see there faces I want to throw up.

 

Should I be allowed to be a teacher? Chances are there is a homophobe in every class in the world.

 

Of course there is a homophobe in every classroom in the world.  At least one, and often many more.  The teacher, if one those, should keep their mouth shut and their hands off the keyboard.

How difficult is this to comprehend?  As an employee, I am NOT allowed to spout off any old thing I want.  Not on or off the job.  Yes, off the job I have more freedom.  And that is a good thing.  Yes, I can have any personal opinion I want about clients, customers, or students. 

But it may not be funny if I start making jokes about the people who call into a help desk.  And it certainly would not be funny if I started with the bad jokes where someone who calls into my help desk may see them.  Especially if it is about that person.  If they complain to my boss about my off the clock bad opinion of them, my boss would not care that I had freedom of speech, my ass would be fired.  And then I would get to pursue it through the court system if I had enough money, time, and energy.

The conduct microscope a teacher is under every day is much higher resolution than the average corporate desk jockey.  They are in a class room with 20-40 children or teens.  They are expected to be impartial towards all regardless of race, color, religion, creed, etc.  And social networking sites are high traffic for younger people now.  If you post on the internet, what you say will be spread around to the class and their parents before bed time.  Never, ever, put anything in an email, in a internet profile, on a web page that you won't mind seeing on the largest billboard in town.

This is not political correctness - this is common sense for keeping your job.  There must be a few thousand young college grads who would be ecstatic to get his job, the dumb ass.

This is self preservation talking - if you have a job, don't throw it away.

 

 

Why would you want to work for someone who is going to fire you for something you say on the internet? I would neither work for, nor give my business to a company that fired or otherwise disciplined an employee for spouting a stupid opinion on a website. Exactly how much power are you willing to cede to an employer? 

 

If it happens in a private business, the employees and customers ought to tell the business owner to fuck off and leave. If it happens in the public sector, it is illegal because of the 1st Amendment which fortunately gives us the protection the say things even if the majority of people are offended. And what message does this send the kids? Watch what you say or you will be fired? Don't say anything offensive? What about kids who might share the views of the teacher and now see the teacher being punished for them? Are they going to be comfortable expressing any views that are controversial or are they going to think fall in line with what the power structure thinks or else? That doesn't sound like the world I want to live in. 

 

I think it is healthy for kids to be exposed to a wide variety beliefs, even crazy ones. Debate and argument are good things. And when they go out into the real world, they will encounter ignorant, stupid, racist, sexist, homophobic beliefs. The kids ought to go onto their facebook pages and talk about how wrong their teacher is. The best thing to do when confronted with ignorance is to attack it head on, not shuffle it away and ignore it. If your a homosexual kid you are going to encounter it, you might as well learn to stand up for yourself in the relatively safe environment of school. 

 

And don't even go into the red herring of "how did the teacher grade", there is no evidence that he was anything other than a good teacher. No one has made allegations that he has abused his power or that he was saying anything on this subject at the school. If you have evidence, show it. Until then, this man has been convicted of having politically incorrect beliefs and speaking his mind, not of abusing his power. 

 

It might surprise you, but some teachers are perfectly capable of grading fairly even when grading someone they dislike or vehemently disagree with. When I was in college, 100% of the faculty disagreed with me and I didn't always get along with them. I had one professor say I was no better than a murderer for serving in the military another accused me of being a racist for arguing against affirmative action. In fact, my gf at the time advised me to keep my mouth shut in a class because she was worried about my grades. Being me I doubled down.

 

The rhetoric got pretty heated at times but in the end I believe all my professors graded me fairly, except one. My point is, that even when there is a visceral disagreement about sensitive issues, many teachers are able to maintain their professionalism when it comes to grading. Unless there is evidence that this teacher did not maintain his professionalism in the classroom, firing him for his controversial and offensive beliefs is wrong and since he is a government worker, it is also illegal.

It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.-H.L. Mencken


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Tapey wrote:The vile and

Tapey wrote:

The vile and disgusting homophobes need to be taught a lesson. Gay marriage is awesome, hating gay marriage leads to a life of sin, they live there lives in a moral cesspool. When I see there faces I want to throw up.

 

Should I be allowed to be a teacher? Chances are there is a homophobe in every class in the world.

You've cobbled together a caricature. Homophobes, on the other hand, are very real indeed.


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EXC wrote:What pisses me off

EXC wrote:

What pisses me off is not whether this teacher is for 'gay marriage' or not. But why are so many teachers not focused on getting students to learn what they need to learn to all the jobs that are going unfilled due to a lack of an educated workforce. Instead we have this stupid debate about getting the government to give gay people a piece of paper, while our economy and society collapse.

Of course it's a stupid debate. All the reasons this is even a debate in the first place are religious.


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Beyond Saving, if we had point scores around here I would vote that last post up.

 

We all say things on the internet and they are context dependent. Really, how many of us lurk on religion forums just for the general chaos? Do those of us who do have the same persona here as there? Would you care to know some of what I say at the Klingon Empire forums?

 

So here we have a dude who is not really into gay marriage. I suggest that he start by not marrying another dude. Somehow, I suspect that he already has that one covered.

 

Really, this guy is an ass. I fail to see how that is a problem. Everyone one on the entire planet is an ass, myself included. I find it liberating to let my ass self out on the internet. In very many ways and on different forums I am a different ass. And wow?

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Gauche wrote:Tapey wrote:The

Gauche wrote:

Tapey wrote:

The vile and disgusting homophobes need to be taught a lesson. Gay marriage is awesome, hating gay marriage leads to a life of sin, they live there lives in a moral cesspool. When I see there faces I want to throw up.

 

Should I be allowed to be a teacher? Chances are there is a homophobe in every class in the world.

Definitely not an English teacher.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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Gauche wrote:Tapey wrote:The

Gauche wrote:

Tapey wrote:

The vile and disgusting homophobes need to be taught a lesson. Gay marriage is awesome, hating gay marriage leads to a life of sin, they live there lives in a moral cesspool. When I see there faces I want to throw up.

 

Should I be allowed to be a teacher? Chances are there is a homophobe in every class in the world.

Definitely not an English teacher.

I wouldn't recommend any other subject either if I'm honest.

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Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
No animal shall wear clothes.
No animal shall sleep in a bed.
No animal shall drink alcohol.
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All animals are equal.


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cj wrote:Tapey wrote:The

cj wrote:

Tapey wrote:

The vile and disgusting homophobes need to be taught a lesson. Gay marriage is awesome, hating gay marriage leads to a life of sin, they live there lives in a moral cesspool. When I see there faces I want to throw up.

 

Should I be allowed to be a teacher? Chances are there is a homophobe in every class in the world.

 

Of course there is a homophobe in every classroom in the world.  At least one, and often many more.  The teacher, if one those, should keep their mouth shut and their hands off the keyboard.


 

You miss the point. What about someone who discriminates against homophobes? Should a teacher be allowed to speak out against homophobia on facebook? Homophobia is not against the law (acting on it might be), a homophobic student might feel a teacher that speaks out against homophobia would discriminate against him or her and could feel uncomftable or whatever.

 

An honest question.

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Beyond Saving wrote: Why

Beyond Saving wrote:

Why would you want to work for someone who is going to fire you for something you say on the internet? I would neither work for, nor give my business to a company that fired or otherwise disciplined an employee for spouting a stupid opinion on a website. Exactly how much power are you willing to cede to an employer? 

 

Fine for you.  Most people work in the real world.  And just how would you know the cause(s) someone was fired for?  Most employees don't even know they are fired.  They are "laid off" because HR won't let the manager tell the employee anything.  The employer in most states may fire "at will", that means for cause or no cause.  If the employer puts "for cause" on the paper work sent to the unemployment department, they must explicitly state the cause.  And they had better have evidence, because then they are open to a law suit filed by the ex-employee.  That is why most states have been pressured to change their laws to "at will" - to reduce the number of law suits an employer is subject to.  I don't know the number of times a friend has been laid off, only to see their previous position advertised as now open.

Ain't my law.  But it is the reality.  So, if you have two brain cells to rub together, you keep your nose super clean.  Because being not so young anymore - like this guy is from his picture - means your future employment applications may get the response of "we decided to pursue other candidates." 

 

Beyond Saving wrote:

If it happens in a private business, the employees and customers ought to tell the business owner to fuck off and leave. If it happens in the public sector, it is illegal because of the 1st Amendment which fortunately gives us the protection the say things even if the majority of people are offended. And what message does this send the kids? Watch what you say or you will be fired? Don't say anything offensive? What about kids who might share the views of the teacher and now see the teacher being punished for them? Are they going to be comfortable expressing any views that are controversial or are they going to think fall in line with what the power structure thinks or else? That doesn't sound like the world I want to live in. 

 

It is the world you do live in.  Get over it.  Children have been brainwashed by the society they live in since there have been groups of hunter-gatherers living together.  You think social ostracization is easy to live with?  Try being reliant on a group of people to have regular meals.  Oh, wait, you already are reliant on other people for food.  But now, we call it "employment", "business ownership", "investing".

Everyone watches what they say all of the time if they want to get what they need from the people around them.  We constantly manipulate each other through what we say, how we act, and how we dress.  You and I and everyone else in the world are not exempt from societal pressures.

I believe there have been instances where the Supremes have said, your freedom to say whatever you damn well please is limited.  And, if this guy wants to sue, he is perfectly capable of doing so.

 

Beyond Saving wrote:

I think it is healthy for kids to be exposed to a wide variety beliefs, even crazy ones. Debate and argument are good things. And when they go out into the real world, they will encounter ignorant, stupid, racist, sexist, homophobic beliefs. The kids ought to go onto their facebook pages and talk about how wrong their teacher is. The best thing to do when confronted with ignorance is to attack it head on, not shuffle it away and ignore it. If your a homosexual kid you are going to encounter it, you might as well learn to stand up for yourself in the relatively safe environment of school. 

 

I do too.  Kids should be exposed to as many different attitudes, cultures and societies as possible.  It is good for you to know that not everyone thinks or feels the same way you do about how to behave around people with different status than you have.  Good to know your crazy uncle is only one of many. 

And the school environment is hardly safe.

 

Beyond Saving wrote:

And don't even go into the red herring of "how did the teacher grade", there is no evidence that he was anything other than a good teacher. No one has made allegations that he has abused his power or that he was saying anything on this subject at the school. If you have evidence, show it. Until then, this man has been convicted of having politically incorrect beliefs and speaking his mind, not of abusing his power. 

 

Not my red herring.  I don't think how he grades is at all relevant.  What is relevant is the public nature of his job and the ease with which his private opinions were spread all over hell's half acre.  He is, at the very least, not tech savvy.

 

Beyond Saving wrote:

It might surprise you, but some teachers are perfectly capable of grading fairly even when grading someone they dislike or vehemently disagree with. When I was in college, 100% of the faculty disagreed with me and I didn't always get along with them. I had one professor say I was no better than a murderer for serving in the military another accused me of being a racist for arguing against affirmative action. In fact, my gf at the time advised me to keep my mouth shut in a class because she was worried about my grades. Being me I doubled down.

The rhetoric got pretty heated at times but in the end I believe all my professors graded me fairly, except one. My point is, that even when there is a visceral disagreement about sensitive issues, many teachers are able to maintain their professionalism when it comes to grading. Unless there is evidence that this teacher did not maintain his professionalism in the classroom, firing him for his controversial and offensive beliefs is wrong and since he is a government worker, it is also illegal.

 

Legality is not something I feel competent to comment on except to say you are most likely correct - that the suspension, if solely for inflammatory comments on a social networking site, will most likely get the school district in trouble.

Not my point and never was.  What is my point is he brought it on himself.  Teachers are very visible to their students.  Their web sites, social networking pages, emails, are of strong prurient interest to their students.  Posting your private views somewhere easily discoverable is a sure way to have a lot of hassle for a long time.  And maybe permanent unemployment.  Unless one of you guys is willing to hire him.  It was a dumb shit thing to do.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


cj
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Tapey wrote:You miss the

Tapey wrote:

You miss the point. What about someone who discriminates against homophobes? Should a teacher be allowed to speak out against homophobia on facebook? Homophobia is not against the law (acting on it might be), a homophobic student might feel a teacher that speaks out against homophobia would discriminate against him or her and could feel uncomftable or whatever.

 

An honest question.

 

I repeat.  My sister in law is a teacher in the public schools.  Has been for years.  Her face book page is all sweetness and light.  I would gag - except I know her when she is at home and truly private.  Facebook is not private.  Not when millions can view what you have posted.

The teacher was not expressing views against homophobia, but was expressing homophobic views.  Were you were trying to say the opposite so I would be trapped into saying speaking against homophobia is a bad thing?  As a teacher?  One should keep one's hands off the keyboard and one's mouth shut whenever.  Any controversial subject.  It is part of the job that as a teacher, you will offend at least half the class no matter what you say.  And your job is to teach, not preach.  More restrictive than most professions?  Yes.

My honest answer is my opinion (and yours) doesn't matter.  His employer made a decision.  His employer should have - if they didn't before they took action - consulted with the school district legal counsel.  (In the US, that is often the state Attorney General's office.  The various governmental agencies often share expertise between departments.)  If the Attorney General reviewed the evidence and said the school district had cause, then the school district did due diligence and their action was legal. 

There may be additional concerns we don't know because they were not in the referenced article.  Teacher of the year does not imply "white as the driven snow".

Note also, the article said he was suspended - not fired.  The two actions are not the same.

Let's say the school district didn't do due diligence and consult with legal counsel - then they may be at fault and law suits will follow.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.