I continue to be amazed that schools think they can get involved in what students put on their Myspace pages, or when students have issues with each other outside of school. At that point, the problem becomes that of the parents, not the school.
I'm sure that school administrators would then claim that such issues could create a disruption or distraction on campus, and hence they have a duty to act. Acting to prevent a potential disruption or distraction gets into a gray area with me, in the realm of thought crimes and such. What constitutes a potential disruption?
Similarly, these "morals clauses" in teachers' contracts or ed code really frost me. Yes, I work with children, but that doesn't mean I should have to be a saint. Whose morals do we go with? If a teacher gets a DUI and has to ride his/her bike to school each day, wouldn't that violate someone's morals? What if a teacher--gasp!--solicited a prostitute? What if a teacher has a night job as a stripper? What if a teacher were spotted entering an adult establishment? What if a teacher does sexual things with a cigar, or has sex with an intern? What if a teacher has an affair with a consenting adult?
Of course, the ideal would be if students never heard about these situations--and any teacher that opted to share with students details of participating in such activities could very well be considered to have crossed the line. However, what if students hear about these activities through other means, like from their parents, for example? Is the mere knowledge of these activities enough to constitute a disruption or distraction that would merit administrative action?
I bring all this up because the butt-print artist has now been fired.
Murmer, a teacher at Monacan High School, was suspended in December after objections were raised about his private abstract artwork, much of which includes smearing his posterior and genitals with paint and pressing them against canvas.
His paintings sell for as much as $900 each on his Web site.
The unique approach to art became a topic when a clip showing Murmer, wearing a fake nose and glasses, a towel on his head and black thong, turned up on YouTube.com and became the talk of the high school.
Weird, I'll give you that. But I don't see this weirdo's actions as meriting being fired. Had he directed students to the YouTube video, or displayed his "art" in class, I could understand that. But when doing something entirely legal, completely outside of school, becomes a cause to fire a teacher, we've gone too far.