Sunday, July 31, 2005

Sandy Smith, This One's For You

Apparently I have a reader who wants to report me to the CTA (tee hee), of all organizations, for my "crass" post about the Breasts Not Bombs rally in (deep sigh) Berkeley. Read her comments--I get no indication of humor and joking from her.

So Sandy, this link is for you. I especially like the third picture, the one a commenter says looks like "a horny ewok."

39 comments:

Sandy Smith said...

A classy post from a classy guy.

Is this how you normally address legitimate criticism?

How is this message consistent with what you claim to your conservative values?

The only disclaimer that you had for a link to nude content the word “Nekkid” which my son tells me is a reference to Beavis and Butthead.

This is a website that you know your students read. Educator to Educator, I suggest you conduct yourself accordingly, or I will get the educational community involved.

Darren said...

If you want class, I recommend showing some yourself. You didn't raise legitimate critism, you attempted to threaten me by complaining to the CTA. You have done so again by threatening to "get the educational community involved".

Bring it on.

I don't respond well to threats. Nor do I respond well to idiocy. If you don't like what's on this site, don't come here. Very simple. "Educator to educator", mind your own freakin' business. I mocked you on my own site because you made a fool out of yourself on this same site. It is you who seems willing to stifle expression, a trait I normally associate with the left.

And I'm not a big fan of the political left.

Sandy Smith said...

I didn't come on this site. My 13 year old son did.

I didn't like the fact that he was looking at lurid pictures, courtesy of your site.

You had a link to inappropriate material, without a proper disclaimer.

In response to my concerns, you show me a picture of two dogs having sex. Real classy.

I don’t see why you choose to turn this into a political issue. I’m a registered republican, FYI.

You on the other hand, come off as just someone who hates “hippies” rather than someone who aspires to the republican ideals of limited government and family values.

In response to your John Wayne, “Bring it On” quote, fine. Since you seem so unafraid of the negative consequences of your actions, please give me the phone number and mailing address of your local superintendent.

Darren said...

I don't know who my superintendent is. I don't even know if we have a new one, after the last one retired in June.

As for reporting me, do so to whomever you want. Don't expect me to give you any assistance, though. Do it yourself.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that Sandy's answer for her son looking at things that she does not approve of is to blame Darren. The NEA (and probably the CTA) and the left love to drool over the 1st Amendment so I am not sure that Darren is doing anything out of the ordinary.

5wahls said...

What a fascinating topic. There seem to be two issues - one of over reaction and the other on America's culture.

Sandy wrote:

"I didn't come on this site. My 13 year old son did." and "You had a link to inappropriate material, without a proper disclaimer."

The first statement shows that the system of parental oversight/responsibility for their children's actions, which has been taken from America's culture (e.g., no more cigarette machines, playgrounds being neutered, etc.), does work. Spot on Sandy! Watch what your kids do and intervene if necessary. However, with regard to the second statement; why blame the author of the site? I think the words "breasts", "nekkid" (which is not from Beavis & Butthead, but an old southern style of speaking the word), and "naked" would lead anyone, including a 13 year old, to realize that there were pictures about woman showing their breasts to protest. The post wording was enough of a disclaimer.

"I didn't like the fact that he was looking at lurid pictures, courtesy of your site."

Lurid pictures! Come on. We Americans need to get over this preoccupation with pictures such as these. The pictures of the protesting boobs (figuratively and literally) are mild - nowhere near the suggestive images shown on MTV. There are problems if a child looks at pictures such as these and is fascinated with them. As an aside, my son plays on our German village soccer team. They all shower after games, even at 8 years old. The American boys tend to be shy about this, but it is no big deal to the German kids. Further, if there were a girl on the team, she would be showering with them (up until age 12 or so when it is deemed inappropriate). At the local lake, we see a few women topless. I've come to realize it's not a big deal. And the kids here don't see it as a big deal. In the states, we get so preoccupied (and I used to be also until I lived here and Japan - where men would bring their 5 year old girls into the men's side of the bathhouse) with being aghast at little things (no pun intended), that those little things become something kids really want to experience. If we didn't demonize some of these "evils", maybe we wouldn't have a problem with kids' preoccupation with these "evil" items.

"In response to my concerns, you show me a picture of two dogs having sex. Real classy. "

I have to give this one to Sandy.

"I don’t see why you choose to turn this into a political issue. I’m a registered republican, FYI.
You on the other hand, come off as just someone who hates “hippies” rather than someone who aspires to the republican ideals of limited government and family values."

Asking for proper bureaucratic oversight and disclaimers, as Sandy implies, is to invite more government action. A good conservative would do what Sandy did as a first step - look at what her boy was watching and stop it if she deemed it improper.

This "family values" trend though is what is making me more of an independent conservative rather than a Republican. If our party promotes family values, then why do so many work for such long hours, for so much money, with so little vacation time. In France, people take 6 weeks of vacation a year. This strikes me as more family value oriented than our American culture, yet Republicans look down on the French as what we don't want to be. The party seems to be going toward people like Sean Hannity and less of Goldwater's small government and economic common sense (as opposes to our government's current spending trends).

In sum, what a big to-do over such a minor issue. Keep up the good work Darren.

Tom

Sandy Smith said...

We'll see what his school principle has to say about one of its teacher hosting a website that has links to lewd material. The offense is multiplied by the fact that he knows his sudents under the age of 16 read this site.

The fact that he as been resistent to give me any information to bring this to his boss's attention proves he does fear the consequences.

He can run, but he cann't hide.

How many teachers named Darren Miller with a degree from West Point could possibly teach Math near Sacramento CA?

You haven't heard the last of this.

Darren said...

I have no doubt that you can cause me difficulty, Sandy, but I also have no doubt that when all is said and done, I'll be just fine and you'll still be fuming. I merely see no need to assist you in your endeavors.

And you're right, there aren't that many teachers with my name, etc, as you described. Perhaps you can have your son track me down--he seems quite capable of finding information on the internet. It shouldn't be too hard, as a year ago several news outlets were able to identify and get in contact with me.

Had you come to me as a concerned parent, been rational, and been civil, we might have had an interesting discussion about a couple of points that you and 5wahls brought up. Your threats are escalating this, and I have nothing better to do right now than to take you on--except for moving this week, and going on vacation to Canada next week, and starting back to work the week after that.

You threaten, I'll taunt. When/if you ever decide you want to be rational about this, please let me know :-)

Phyllis S said...

Darren, Please let me know where to send the glowing character reference I will be more than happy to write, if in fact you come to need it, which I doubt.

Darren said...

I doubt it too, Phyllis, but I appreciate your offer nonetheless.

Your lefty Swiss student said...

As one of Mr Miller's students I have been reading his blog for the past couple of months and find it extremely entertaining and informative. I regularly post comments and usually receive comments in return. I have to agree with what some other people posted above me, if you don't like your son looking at pictures of naked women in Berkley then I suggest you a) never take him on holiday to a beach in Europe and b) keep better watch on what you son looks at on the internet. Whether or not Mr Miller is a teacher has nothing to do with his blog. This is a site he maintains on his personal time. He is not forcing students to look at it and he has never once told us what the address to it is. I only found it because one of my friends is rather good at using search engines. So please take you threats somewhere else and leave us to debate political issues in peace. Mr Miller, please pardon me if I don’t post my name on this one, I wouldn't want to get in trouble.

5wahls said...

Mrs. Smith, what's the point of your rant, as well as the trite sayings like "He can run, but he cann't hide" (I feel like I'm listening to Joanne Woodward speaking with Paul Newman in Long Hot Summer). Mr. Miller obviously isn't hiding - his web site is here for everyone to read. Also, what is the "lewd material" you speak of - pictures of breasts in protest that were covered by news sources? By the way, did you speak with your son about the idiocy of protesting by exposing one's breasts as opposed to using logical and thought out arguments. At least he could have gotten a good lesson from all of this.

Good luck with all of this Darren. We Americans can get so petty over trivial things as well as blowing trivial things out of proportion!

Cheers,

Tom

Mr. Person said...

The title of the post is "Breasts, Not Bombs."

What more of a disclaimer do you want?

In fact, if I were 13 again, that title would probably make me want to click on the link.

I suggest we all do the rational thing here and go have our sons neutered.

What? Does that sound crazy?

Rhymes With Right said...

Here I assumed that some mutt...

Sandy, I suggest that you learn to spell "principal" before you return to your classroom this fall, since you claim to be an Educator.

And frankly, your failure to adequately monitor your own child's internet surfing seems to me to be grounds to report you to Child Protective Services so that your son can be placed in a foster care facility where he will be exposed to much healthier values than those you teach.

Now don't you have some brown shirts and white sheets to iron before your next Klan get-together?

If you cannot see that the original post was legitimate commentary on "political speech" (degraded as it is by the Left) and that the current post is a satirical response to over-wrought threats of censorship by an unAmerican busybody who wants to limit what everyone reads and writes to what she finds acceptable for her 13-year-old, then I suggest that you are part of the problem with American education.

Sincerely,
A Proud Texas Teacher

Anonymous said...

I am an 8th grade English/journalism teacher and the mother of a 13 year old boy. For one, as far as I know, the 1st Amendment guarantees our right to a free speech and press. Darren, as you well know, you can blog any bloody thing you want and if you were to get fired over it, sue the crap out of your admin. Secondly, HE'S 13! That's what 13 year old boys DO. Stop looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, Ms. Smith. Our sons are doing other heinous things like growing hair on their bodies and experiencing hormonal surges that rival a tidal wave. I am in my forties, and my teen years predate the Internet age. Back then, boys looked at Playboy. Is that the fault of the publisher? The person who bought the magazine? (Might have even been their Dad or granddad!)
It isn't fun to think of our sons growing up and not being our babies anymore, and it's downright yucky to think of their burgeoning sexuality and eventual sex lives. But they will have one some day, and rambling onto a sight with some aging hippies letting it all hang out is among the least of my worries as a parent.

In the end, sometimes, a wise parent should just close the door quietly and tip-toe away. They all grow up. You've given him the tools to make the right choices. He's just curious.

Southeastern Teacher

PS- Is there a law against teacher's watching Bevis and Butthead? Uh oh…

James said...

Sandy,

First, since when are naked bodies in non-salacious (and frankly I'm not quire sure how one should go about defining "salacious", but I suppose we all know what I'm writing about) poses represent anything that's lewd? Or are you of the John Aschcroft school of any exposed body part, such as the breasts of the statue of Ms. Justice, should be covered? Do you have the same problem with Michelango's "David"? Why is there lewdness in what you're seeing here? If you're trying to protect your child from breasts and exposed penises, good luck and be sure to keep him out of the locker room.

Please, oh please, do get the school administrators involved, I beseech you Sandy! Try to rally the education community as you threaten to do --- show us your righteousness, the purity and justness of your cause! I can use a good laugh.

If you don't want your 13-year old son seeing breasts and any other body part you may find lewd and offensive, keep him off the web, or be sure you're sitting on his shoulders the whole time he's there, and maybe you can find some time to send some silly notes to those who truly do engage in something I'd be interested in protecting kids from. Maybe if you were a bit less obsessed over breasts and nudity (there may be a therapist issue here for you Sandy, take it under advisement, please) your progeny may not think very much about it (though for a normal 13-year old boy it's hard to call) and he'd be a perfectly healthy young man who can deal with things like unexpected, non-pornographic nudity with a smile and some appreciation for the beauty of the human body (though admittedly few of the pictures Darren's hyperlink took me to did much for my aesthetic, or any other, sense), vice getting constipated and bent out of shape over something that's perfectly naturally. But in the meantime I really want to see you go on that hunting trip after Darren, I mean it's not often I can see a self-righteous mother have to deal with the fact that the world is not nearly as silly ("In this reality no one's ever naked and if for some reason they are we should NEVER look at - let's not even think about touch - them!" - not expecting grandkids too soon, are ya?) as she'd like to think it is, and you're apparently overdue.

Darren said...

I'm going to try to toss an olive branch to Sandy here. Ok, it's a twig, but I'm going to try.

I applaud you for actually knowing what your son's doing online. And if he called your attention to what he was seeing, then you've obviously instilled in him some sense of values. Either way, you come out looking like a diligent parent. Kudos to you.

As I've said to others in private emails, this current post did not demonstrate an apogee of maturity for me. I responded as I always to do threats--with hostility and aggression. I won't apologize for it because your threats were real, not just perceived. But I do recognize that this wasn't the most mature way to respond.

But come on. That third dog picture really is funny, isn't it?

Now, let's discuss my Republicanism and "family values". I'm a political conservative but a social moderate. The Republicans come closest to representing my views so that's what I register, but I'm dead set against some of the seemingly Republican social views. Personally, I have no problem with gay marriage, and in fact would prefer to get government out of the marriage business altogether. I also wouldn't mind seeing marijuana legalized, since I don't think it's any worse than the rum and coke I drink once or twice a year (and no, I don't smoke anything). Even though I don't like the idea of starving people to death, I thought the congressional involvement in the Terri Schiavo case to be abhorent.

So I have my own views on things, and I endeavor to be consistent. I'm a small government conservative and have my own set of values. I don't appreciate your lecturing me about "family values".

Hopefully we understand each other a little better now.

Oh, the Education Wonks have a short story about our little feud over at http://educationwonk.blogspot.com/2005/08/first-amendment-and-teacher-who-blogs.html

Coach Brown said...

You guys are giving Sandy way too much credit.
1) The CTA has no juristiction over teachers in this matter. In fact, if there was a problem, they would be obligated to assign legal representation, as per their own statues. But there is no problem, so who cares.
2) In terms of nudity, I guess I'm going to jail. I have two units I do with freshmen World History students regarding the Renaissance and Impressionism. Both contain artwork that have nudes. It is perfectly acceptable. As are the pictures and videos that U.S. History students show of nude protesters in the 1960's.
3) He posted a warning, which is in accordence to the law.
4) It's his website, and contains no legal connection to the school.
5) Talk to your child about what is being shown, and this very issue. It's a hell of a lot more important than making a big deal about a couple naked people protesting. Be an educator!

EdWonk said...

The First Amendment's guarantee of the freedom to express one's political opinions applies to Teachers as well as Everyone Else.

We don't surrender any of our rights as citizens simply because we choose to serve students in the classroom.

College Prof said...

Mrs. Smith,

As a college-level educator well versed in the rhetorical principles of proper argumentation, I have come to the conclusion that you are an idiot. Regulating what your son sees is YOUR job, the one you signed up for when you had sex without protection. Kindly do your job and leave this man alone, highly amusing though your nonsense might be.

By the way; you cannot report anything to his "principle." The word is "principal." I worry about your son's education if his mother is this blindly stupid.

Greg said...

If he's a typical 13-year-old, he's probably seen a lot worse than this and, maybe, done a lot worse. 13-year-olds are a lot more worldly today than they used to be. I too think it's nice that Ms. Smith knows what her son is looking at on the Internet, but I have a feeling she doesn't know what he's doing every hour of the day. That's what is important, not picking on a blogger.

Mr. McNamar said...

Darren,

This past spring I experienced a similar situation regarding my blog. I spoke out about a serious violation of dress code and my disappointment with the incident. The parents and students wanted to censor me and tried to intimidate me. Heck, they went to the local news with it. And that is what Sandy has done. As I found out, you are protected. Like your incident, I do not broadcast to my students the website, nor do I ask them to visit. We may be teachers, but that does not limit what we discuss or write about. Keep posting. And I hope that Sandy takes your olive branch--for the sake of her credibility as an educator. But for me, the bigger issue here is the incessant need of some people to march down to administrators and supers to whine and complain about every little issue. I feel like I am back in 1st grade.

ablebody said...

Wow!!!
This discussion trail certainly took on a life of its own.
Sandy, I respect that you have the right to express your own opinion.
As does Darren.
Despite your anger, it might be important to know that you underestimate your perceived opponent.
However, you will certainly do what you believe is the right course of action. That's what we have in this country - a fair bit of freedom of action and thought.
I think you are wasting your time and breath.
But you are more than entitled to do so.

Jerry Moore said...

Darren,

Education Wonks asks two questions:

When classroom teachers are off the clock can they be forced to answer for expressing their political opinions, journalistic endeavors, or artistic work?

And can they be held professionally liable for behavior that is not illegal as long as that behavior is conducted outside the scope of their employment?

The legal answer to both questions is YES. See, e.g., Conduct Unbecoming an Officer.

While I don't think you've crossed over the line to actionable misconduct, especially in the context of nudity and the Left Coast, if you think about it, you know there's a line that can be crossed. Can a teacher non-anonymously opine on his blog that the Nazis or the KKK had it right and reasonably expect to keep his teaching job? I doubt it.

Since you know there's a line, the question is, "How close do you, and your fellow teacher bloggers, want to get to it?"

Do you really want to invite arbitration hearings with possible dismissals and expensive court litigation just to prove you can say something? Ultimate vindication can be expensive . . . and elusive.

You are venturing into uncertainty, and ironically, your responses to Sandy Smith may provide a lot more motivation to officially call you to task than your original link to nudity. Surely, you must know that above all, one must avoid any public appearance of dissing other teachers. It's perceived as misconduct toward the profession.

While I truly believe the First Amendment should provide you with a safe refuge from official retaliation, it is a great American tragedy that it isn't so.

In the current situation, a teacher with a good reputation probably will get by with anything from no official action to a verbal admonition. However, a teacher for whom the faculty or administration has been gunning would probably find himself without a job and the expense of fighting to regain it.

I don't mean to undermine your free expression, but there's no such thing as risk-free, offensive speech. Unlike global warming, the trend in free speech is chilling.

Darren said...

I'm so far from the line with these posts, the line is a dot to me :-)
(Anyone recognize that from Friends?)

I'm not convinced there is any "official" action that can be taken, so I feel free to respond however I like. I even offered an olive twig; we'll see if she takes it.

I still view myself as the aggrieved party. No doubt Sandy sees herself in that role.

Jerry Moore said...

I would agree with you, but as you know, there are administrators and school boards that will over react to complaints. The sensitivities of the most easily offended person control the decisions of some and "system" needs frequently trump individual rights in their way of thinking. Hopefully, that's not the case in your school district.

Rhymes With Right said...

Actually, Jerry, if you read your own source on conduct unbecoming, the exact sort of speech engaged in here would be invariably vindicated as protected and not grounds for discipline.

Robert said...

It's hard to tell if "Sandy Smith" is still reading or posting with this thread, but if I may speak as both a college educator and as a parent, I have a couple of comments for her:

Wanting to protect your son from lurid content on the internet is laudable, but threatening a teacher whose blog has a link to a non-pornographic web site featuring women's breasts is not going to accomplish that goal.

First of all, it's almost certain that any disciplinary action you initiate is going to result in Darrell being vindicated. This blog is, after all, his personal space, and he may write whatever he wants on it. Period. Whether it's agreeable or not. As long as it doesn't break the law. So your actions will only serve to solidify the very thing you are trying to act against.

Second of all, it's not the job of the state to protect your children from this stuff. It's the job of the parents. It's a very difficult job, but thank goodness, the state isn't mandated to do it for us.

Third, the approach you are taking here is not rational. Should ALL web sites run by educators that contain a link to some potentially offensive site be taken down? If so, where do you stop? Do you punish educators who have a link to a site that MIGHT be offensive to ONE person? Or how about a teacher with a site that contains a link to a page that has a link to such a site? Are we trying to absolutely hermetically seal our kids off from disagreeable web content? If so, this is frankly a fool's errand. The web is just too big, too robust, and too full of lurid content for us to expect to be able to simply make that content inaccessible.

The right approach seems to me to be to monitor our kids' internet use carefully; teach them well at home to inculcate moral values so that this content wouldn't be desirable; and practice civility towards people like Darrell who clearly didn't intend to peddle pseudo-porn to students. On that last point, maybe you should have just ASKED Darrell to please take that link down, rather than come out from the get-go spouting out threats of disciplinary action. You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.

Robert said...

Duh, the guy's name is DARREN not DARRELL. Sorry about that.

And I put my email down instead of my website! Not my morning so far.

hedgetoad said...

If a parent wants to protect their child from seeing "lewd" images, it would behoove them to activate the parental controls for their computer - almost all computers come with such functions pre-installed as do most ISPs.

Parental responsibility is just that... if you want to be considered the parent, you need to be responsible for your child's actions and not expect that others will do this for you. If you would like Mr. Miller to be responsible for you child, you should contact a lawyer and start adoption procedings.

FWIW - in addition to turning on the parental controls on the computer, you should also follow your child around the library to make sure that everything there is acceptable. Also, warn him of the dangers of reading National Geographic as there are many "nekkid" photos therein without any disclaimer whatsoever on the cover. You also might want to contact your legislative representative as NG has been doing this for years - my father saw his first breast therein in 1960!

tim maguire said...

I noticed Sandy identified herself as a Republican. I think that's excellent.

After years of Karl Rove's masterful insertion of moles into left wing discourse (for example, Moveon.org, Kos, Howard Dean, Michael Moore), there's actually appeared someone on the left with the wits to match tactics.

I assume Sandy is just the prototype and future moles will be better.

stranger danger said...

sandy, what r u thinkin? theres no way you can hurt Darrens reputation...i think im going to go 2 your princiPAL and let him kno that u cant spell and that you should not be a teacher because even me, a 16 year old can spell principal...(and u call urself and educator..) i think its funny that you are worried about him seeing breats on a picture of people protesting...theres so much worse stuff that he probably looks at all the time when ur not home....u can find pictures of anything on the internet...if i were you i wouldnt be trippin over a stupid little picture of naked protestors....


thanks for the pizza miller..

Author said...

I think Sandy is off base here but so are some of the other comments.

"As a college-level educator well versed in the rhetorical principles of proper argumentation, I have come to the conclusion that you are an idiot."

I will grant that you understand argumentation. This gratuitous insult is proof that you are what Spanish speakers call "mal educado."


"Regulating what your son sees is YOUR job, the one you signed up for when you had sex without protection."

Is pregnancy a disaster to be avoided by sensible people? Don't we all have a huge stake in people taking on this responsibilty? Shouldn't we all assume responsiblity for creating a society where it is practical for parents to protect their children from toxic cultural influences?

"Kindly do your job and leave this man alone, highly amusing though your nonsense might be."

Sandy finds her "job" extremely frustrating as do many, many people trying to raise children in a toxic environment. Many times public schools and teachers are part of the problem.

Certainly a teacher should be sensitive to his responsibilities here. I think Darren sees it this way too. In principle a teacher in all aspects of his public behavior should be a model of virtue. That would include the contents of his blog.

It is fair and reasonable for a parent to object to material a teacher would link to in a blog. In this case I think most of us would agree that Sandy's reaction to the particular links on this particular blog are off base.

Patrick said...

Sandy, can't even spell cann't right. I suspect shee's a fraud, but if she isnn't shee's a questionable educator.

/end sticky consonant keyboard simulator

Dan Lovejoy said...

She can't spell "resistant" either. Neither does she know how to capitalize "Republican."

I'm just sayin'.

Thank God I'm no longer a teacher. The crap you have to put up with!

Given that the courts have construed "Congress" for the purposes of the 1st Amendment to mean any government, including local school boards, what part of "Congress shall make no law...abridging freedom of speech, or of the press..." isn't clear here?

In some ways, local school boards have LESS freedom over the speech of their employees than private enterprise.

Of course, my argument is predicated on the assumption that your PrinciPAL is sane and would listen to Sandy's complaint while rolling her eyes at the secretary and making the finger-to-the-temple twirly "got a crazy one here" gesture. Sanity is less and less common these days in school administrators.

Sandy, please come to my blog and get offended. I talked about poo-poo yesterday.

roder71 said...

I just find this all very sad. First of all, Darren does have a right to write what he wishes. That being said, as a fellow teacher I know that we often have to tread softly. In the state that I teach in, this could possibly cause you to lose your job. In this situation, it is good that you are on the “left coast”. As a behavior specialist, I find it sad that Ms. Smith has missed a perfect teachable moment with her son. Instead of blowing up and all, she could have used this as a lesson for her son to learn proper uses of the internet and how “questionable” material can show up in the most “innocent” places. Since he is 13, she could have also had some great conversations about sex and the objectification of women. Instead, she just did what a lot of parents do. She blew it out of proportion. He was just being a normal teenage boy. It is far better for him to explore his curiosities than to repress them, thus causing some serious issues in the long run.

Jerry Moore said...

Rhymes With Right said, "Actually, Jerry, if you read your own source on conduct unbecoming, the exact sort of speech engaged in here would be invariably vindicated as protected and not grounds for discipline."

Glad you checked into the source, RWR. I did read it, and the NY court case on which vindication for flying the Nazi flag at home was based. The case did not grant blanket protection to state employees to fly the Nazi flag or engage in other conduct unworthy of public confidence. It "vindicated" the officer because of the procedural track the case took which prevented the court from reviewing the arbitrator's findings of fact. Had the arbitrator made findings that supported the firing or had the case taken a different procedural course, I get the impression that NY's Court of Appeals would have upheld the firing. Moreover, the source I provided included citations to other cases involving questions of appropriate off-duty conduct where the officers did lose their jobs. As I wrote earlier, this is an area of "uncertainty." Anyone who feels differently is free to bet a career. Doubtless, some will win and others will lose.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Mr. Miller!

I'm an English teacher in South Dakota, and I'm having a little trouble wih some parents upset about some of my off-duty blogging. I'm curious: did you ever reach any resolution with Mrs. Smith? Did your administration take any action at all? If things worked out for you, let me know! I could use a good precedent for my own arguments before the board. Thanks!

Cory Allen Heidelberger
Lake Herman, SD

Darren said...

She disappeared, as I knew she would. California has fairly strong protections for teachers in areas such as this.

Some states don't. Recently a 20-year teacher was fired in Texas because she took students to an art gallery--and they passed some nudes! Permission slips and everything, and she still got fired. That's nuts.

I'm a firm believer in the 1st Amendment and no teacher gives up that right as a condition of employment. In fact, the only people whom I can think of that *do* give up some 1st Amendment rights as conditions of employment are military folks, which teachers certainly are *not*.

It's just as stupid for the school to go after you for what you do on your off-duty time as it is for schools to go after students for what they do on their out-of-school time. I can't imagine that blogging can even fall under a morals clause, if you have one in your contract.

I'd recommend contacting the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. www.thefire.org

Let me know how things go. I'm interested!