Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Because fuck privacy, that's why

A high school teacher is in trouble for advising kids of their Constitutional rights:


"Oh. Well. Ummm, somebody needs to remind them they have the ability not to incriminate themselves," he recalled thinking. It was particularly on his mind because his classes had recently finished reviewing the Bill of Rights. And the school has a police officer stationed there as a liaison, he pointed out. Barshinger said the results weren't shared with police.
"I made a judgment call. There was no time to ask anyone," Dryden said. If the survey had been handed out a day or two before, he said, he would have talked to an administrator about his concern. 
Instead, he gave the warning to his first-, second- and third-block classes. The test was given to all students during third block.
He suspects it was a teacher who told the administration about what Dryden had done, after the other teacher had trouble getting all the students to take the survey.
But he had also spoken afterward with administrators about the questions. "So I was already on the radar," he said.
 
Dryden faces having a "letter of remedy" placed in his employment file. He said this week he is negotiating the matter with district authorities. 
Only a school board can issue a letter of remedy, which informs teachers their conduct was improper and could have consequences up to dismissal, according to state law.

Now, I realize students actually have fewer rights than they tend to think they do.  Their First Amendment rights, in particular, are often circumscribed in a school setting, and the Fourth Amendment is no protection against locker searches.

However, being given a survey with questions which could, for all they knew, have had repercussions not just within school but beyond it? That's beyond the pale.

And even were there not potential legal issues at hand, this stuff is quite frankly none of the school's business, so long as it is happening off-campus.

To truly appreciate how fucked up it is that this teacher is facing discipline for this, let's take a look at some things teachers have done without getting in as much trouble as Mr. Dryden:

Stuart Mantel yelled at and physically assaulted (yes, pulling a chair out from under someone and making them fall counts) students in one of his classes.

A second-grade teacher in Irving, TX (presumably surnamed Boyd), refused to let a student use the bathroom as he had no remaining "Boyd bucks" with which to earn a bathroom pass, causing him to soil himself and undoubtedly humiliating himself in front of his peers.  (Kids are little assholes, man, they probably ragged him about it the rest of the year.)

A five-year-old girl in New Jersey was forced to eat a bagel out of the trash can.

Even beyond all that, I don't think there's a single person out there who wasn't home schooled who didn't get to experience at least one absolutely horrible teacher who had tenure and therefore a secure job.  My third grade teacher, as I think I've said here before, used to sit in class and talk about how evil white people are and how much she hated them.  My Economics teacher in high school called the funeral of a good friend a "fun field trip."

All of that stuff has been deemed OK, whether through action or lack thereof, but this dude acting on his conscience and reminding students that they have rights?  That's improper conduct.

What the fuck, people?