Monday, February 28, 2011

Teacher Fired Over A Bumper Sticker

A teacher in Arizona had a bumper sticker, one of many, which read, "Have you drugged your kid today"--an obvious reference to Ritalin and similar drugs. This particular bumper sticker upset some parents, and the (public charter) school administration asked her either to remove that sticker or park elsewhere. She refused to do either, and got fired.

Now, this teacher is no genius. One of her other bumper stickers says, "I'm already against the next war". Good to know there's nothing she's willing to fight for--except the "right" to have bumper stickers on her car, I guess. But even idiots have free speech rights, and if there's nothing more to the story than what I've written above, she's right and the school is wrong.

Update, 3/13/11: This time it's a bus driver:
An Oregon school bus driver fired after he refused to remove a Confederate battle flag flying from his pickup truck has enlisted the help of a conservative civil liberties group in hopes of getting his job back.
Hat tip to Colossus of Rhodey for the link.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Stumbled on your blog. Firstly, to say she is no genius is the most ridiculous drivel I have heard. You don't know this lady or her ability to teach (or what her IQ is, but that is a whole other issue).

I would like to add that just because someone is opposed to war doesn't mean they are not willing to fight for things. Many individuals that have gone to war do not condone it, or wish it upon others.

Anonymous said...

Why is it unreasonable for the administration to ask her to park elsewhere (I'm assuming something like "on the street instead of in the school parking lot")? School parking lot isn't a "her own time" issue ...

-Mark Roulo

Mrs.K but you can call me Coach said...

Don't listen to Anonymous above. Just because we defend the rights of idiots to speak, does not mean we have to agree with what they say. This is obviously shown not only through the idiot Anonymous, but also through the actions of the teacher.

The question is not who she is or what she believes (this teacher), but whether or not this is a slippery slope. Where do we draw the line as to what standards of political correctness we hold teachers accountable.

Here's my question: if she worked for a PRIVATE enterprise involving children, a daycare perhaps, would she have been fired for refusing to remove her bumper stickers? Would it then become an issue for the ACLU?

Ellen K said...

Regardless of her viewpoint, she is entitled to it. The administrator is restricting her free speech. Both "educators" need to be reintroduced to the idea of what is proper for a school setting and what is proper response for someone employed there.

DADvocate said...

Interesting free speech question regarding this idiot teacher. If I put a bumper sticker on my car, I would certainly consider whether it would be considered acceptable to upper management. I couldn't put a bumper sticker on my car that say "(Commpany name) sucks" and expect to keep my job.

My free speech rights don't enable me to say anything I wish any where I wish. I imagine those that complained didn't get the real meaning of the bumper sticker. But you have to consider that when putting bumper stickers on your car. What it she had a bumper sticker that said "KKK, All the way?"

I don't think this is an violation of her free speech rights. An employer has a reasonable expectation of an employee restricting their speech to appropriate content.

Darren said...

When the employer is the government, the rules are a bit different.

DADvocate said...

BTW - anon, you really don't get it. People with high IQs sometimes do idiotic things and earn being called an idiot. Lighten up, you sound really up tight.

Anonymous said...

Here's some food for thought...I went to a meeting at a high school in the district I work for. It was held in the classroom of a Spanish teacher. There was a large poster on the wall of a set of hands cradling a newborn, with the phrase "No me aborte". Anyone else find it questionable to be able to hang this in a public school classroom?

Darren said...

I can hear the argument now--"The poster is in Spanish, in a Spanish classroom, so it's OK." Kinda like a Spanish teacher with whom I'm acquainted who has, or at least used to have, posters of Che Guevara in his classroom.

The difference between the classroom and the car is that the classroom is not owned by the teacher, but the car is.

Anonymous said...

"The difference between the classroom and the car is that the classroom is not owned by the teacher, but the car is."

True, but the parking lot is not owned by her either.

If she had been told to remove the bumper sticker or lose her job, I think this would be much clearer.

-Mark Roulo

Darren said...

Again, when the gov't is the employer, the 1st Amendment holds much power. A private employer can restrict your free speech much more than a gov't employer can.

Larry Sheldon said...

Somewhere there is (or was) a blogger (near Sacramento, it seems like whose next-office (in a school) had a Ché poster hung up--and that is (or was) OK with everybody but the blogger.

What is wrong with this picture?

Darren said...

Why don't you tell us, Larry, what *you* think is wrong with this picture.