High School Teacher Faces Discipline for Informing Students About Their Rights

A high school social studies teacher in Batavia, Illinois, faces disciplinary action for informing students of their Fifth Amendment rights in connection with a survey asking about illegal drug use. The survey, ostensibly aimed at assessing the needs of students at Batavia High School, was distributed on April 18. After picking up the survey forms from his mailbox about 10 minutes before his first class of the day, John Dryden noticed that they had students' names on them and that they asked about drinking and drug use, among other subjects. Dryden, who had just finished teaching a unit on the Bill of Rights, worried that students might feel obliged to incriminate themselves—an especially ticklish situation given the police officer stationed at the school. Since there was no time to confer with administrators, he says, he decided to tell his students that they did not have to complete the forms if doing so involved admitting illegal behavior. Tomorrow the school board will consider whether and how to punish Dryden for taking advantage of this teachable moment. The Batavia Daily Herald reports that "Dryden faces having a 'letter of remedy' placed in his employment file," which "could have consequences up to dismissal." Dryden's supporters are collecting signatures on a petition asking the board to refrain from disciplining him.

[Thanks to Daniel Scheeringa for the tip.]

UPDATE (5/29): School Board Reprimands Teacher for Telling Students About Their Right to Remain Silent

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  • The Rantin Arkansan||

    Who knew Wild Bill Hickok taught Social Studies in Illinois?

  • John Galt||

    Never underestimate the many talents of a classic American.

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  • DrAwkward||

    He's clearly guilty of teaching. That can never be forgiven.

  • deified||

    OT:

    McCain visits rebels in Syria

    http://politicalticker.blogs.c.....-in-syria/

  • juris imprudent||

    The Ancient Greeks knew what to do with subversive teachers!

  • John Galt||

    Well, give the man a cup of hemlock.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    They gave their subversive teachers inflated salaries and benefits which bankrupted the state?

    Oh, you said *Ancient* Greece, my bad.

  • juris imprudent||

    You sir drew a mild guffaw from me with your oblique wit - well played.

  • CatoTheElder||

    This rogue teacher, John Dryden, was teaching unapproved material.

    Rudy Giuliani described the true purpose of public education better and more honestly than any other:

    "Schools exist in America and have always existed to train responsible citizens of the United States of America."

    They do not exist to educate; they exist to indoctrinate.

    Responsible citizens don't use drugs, and don't need to be concerned about silly notions about their 5th Amendment rights. Rather, again in the words of Rudy Giuliani, responsible citizens understand that, "Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do."

    The purpose of public schools is to inculcate such reasoning into children, to train them to recite the Pledge, and generally shape loving, obedient servants to the State.

    John Dryden evidently just did not know what his primary mission was. Corrective action is necessary to educate him regarding the need to cede a great deal of discretion in what he does in the future.

  • Bill||

    I'm sure there is some sort of facility to which they can send the poor man to show him the errors of his ways. And some sort of gentle persuasion they can use.

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  • Killazontherun||

    My first instinct when seeing Batavia, Il. was to dismiss it as foreign news. It's difficult enough to keep up with the abuse of rights in America, then the light bulb went off -- 'oh yeah, technically, Illinois signed on to the Constitution.'

  • LarryA||

    Do you mean the U.S. Constitution, or the Chicago version?

    "Youse have de right t'sleep wit t'fishes," etc.

  • ||

    The balls of this guy, thinking that kids are in school to learn.

  • Tamfang||

    The balls of this guy, thinking that children are real people.

  • DarrenM||

    They can't vote yet. That's all that matters.

  • CE||

    Whose idea was it to ask students about their drug and alcohol use and have their name on the form? Even if the school doesn't prosecute, or share the information, that might hurt the accuracy of the responses a little, don't you think? That's the dude who should be fired, not the teacher.

  • RBS||

    I see, the old "just tell the truth now and I can help you" trick.

  • LarryA||

    And the kids who use will lie to keep from being arrested, while those who don't will lie to keep from being nerds.

  • Ted S.||

    Remember, the State is the biggest bully of them all.

  • Hyperion||

    Zero responses indicating illegal drug use.

    The war on drugs is working!

  • DRM||

    I remember when my class was presented with a similar form in 7th grade. Our names weren't on it, but our birthdates were one of the fields. So we talked back and forth, and decided to lie our asses off. We all accordingly claimed very heavy use of the hardest drugs on the forms.

    An experience which leads one to a certain skepticism of the accuracy of student surveys of drug use.

  • hassan_isabad_subar||

    I remember taking this as a sophomore in high school. They put a few fake drugs on the survey, so if you claim you've done 'derbisol', they toss your response.

  • PapayaSF||

    I got a similar anonymous survey in 6th grade. Some of us class cut-ups thought it was hysterical, because this was a total white-bread, zero-minority suburb, and there were drugs listed we'd never even heard of. I later wondered whether people believed the results and thought the school had a group of opium smokers.

  • Zeb||

    I was always very honest on the anonymous drug surveys. I wanted to make sure that I was represented as a good student who also did whatever drugs I could get hold of.

  • Killazontherun||

    I remember in fifth grade being sent home with a rat out parents questionnaire. I made dad out to be a teatotaler and mom to be a lush.

  • Marvel Goose||

    Just another reason why government should get out of the education business other than to fund it indirectly.

  • GroundTruth||

    Glad to know that at least there is still one teacher in the Union who actually understands the Bill of Rights.

  • sticks||

    "But Dryden doesn't want this seen as him vs. the administrators. He said he knows they were acting in what they thought was the best interests of the students.

    "These are good, professional, smart people on the other side who want to do what is right by kids," he said.
    "

    He really thinks that?

  • The Rantin Arkansan||

    Well, he is a public school teacher. Odds are high he would believe such a thing.

  • LilDebbie||

    He has to. To think otherwise would suggest we *don't* need a separate principal and vice-principal for each letter grade. To think otherwise would suggest that maybe the problem's facing schools today are not funding-related.

    To suggest otherwise would force him to confront the fact that the little voice in his head that assured him, "there's no way they'll go after me for reminding the students of the curriculum we *just covered* as part of their state-mandated education," was wrong.

    And that's not the only thing it got wrong.

    Welcome to the denial phase of our slide into totalitarianism. Go ahead, ask your friends and family who voted for Obama if it's okay for him to murder anyone he likes.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    But he's doing the very best he can! If those nasty Kochtopus/Teathuglicans/Kulaks would just learn to compromise by giving him everything he wants, America would be in a golden age right now.

  • LarryA||

    He does if he wants to keep his job.

  • sticks||

    Most likely reason for such a statement.

  • granite state destroyer||

    I agree. Most public school teachers I know don't like administrators, but are afraid to say so. It's kind of like being a Soviet citizen.

  • KPres||

    I'm sure his union would stick up for him...

  • Hyperion||

    Rule #1 of working for the state:

    Thou shalt be a good little statist.

  • Steve85||

    This guy is a hero, not least because he looks like The Big Lebowski.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    He looks nothing like David Huddleston.

  • ||

    Shut the fuck up, Donny.

  • Inigo M.||

    That's it! I knew he looked familiar... The Dude abides.

  • anon||

    I kinda thought he looked like Bo from Justified.

  • GregMax||

    He looks like "the Dude". The big Lebowski was the old fart banging the young chick.

  • ||

    Man I hope they don't cut off his Johnson for this

  • Hyperion||

    OT. I had to do one to see what was in it.

    Methusalimosho

    This dude has survived 2 world wars and Godzilla!

  • ||

    Mr Kimura retired in 1962 aged 65, after working for 45 years in the Japanese post office.

    Guess he got the most of that pension.

  • Ted S.||

    and attributes his long life to eating small portions of food, and admits to spending most of his time "in bed".

    Insert Beavis and Butthead laughter here.

  • General Butt Naked||

    and attributes his long life to eating small portions of food, and admits to spending most of his time "in bed".

    Ahhhh, to have the life of a government employee...

  • David Emami||

    Insert Beavis and Butthead laughter here.

    Speaking of Beavis and Butthead, the teacher in the article reminds me of a non-wussy version of Mr. Van Driessen.

    "I assume you're a government agent. I would think you would know there's something in this country called 'due process.'"

  • anon||

    Wait, teaching students -rights-!?

    And they're only -debating- firing his ass!?

    I'd say we might actually be making a little progress here.

  • trustmajor||

    We will never be able to re-Americanize this country until we make government interference in education verboten.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Ceterum autem censeo imperium scholis delendam esse

  • Duke||

    Is this an example of irony? I hear it misused so often I think I’ve lost the meaning.

  • Mensan||

    No, irony is like rain on your wedding day.

  • LynchPin1477||

    So wait -- it's supposed to be impossible to fire a teacher for things like laziness, incompetence, and generally sucking at their job, but when they actually teach, it is a potentially fireable offense?

  • CatoTheElder||

    Makes perfect sense to me.

    Teaching is a subversive act in public schools.

  • Anders||

    Referencing the constitution is fundamentally racist.

  • ||

    I'm not Dryden. You're Dryden. I'm the Dude.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Or Duder, or His Dudeness or El Duderino, if you're not into the whole brevity thing.

  • NL_||

    This seems like the only situation tenure was actually meant to protect - teaching unpopular subjects and saying unpopular things to provoke thought in and inquiry.

  • Bill||

    Sad that teaching the Bill of Rights is now unpopular and controversial.

  • geisera@gmail.com||

    I signed.

  • ||

    Me 2.

  • geisera@gmail.com||

    We should immediately go to war with Batavia!

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Cripes, I substitute taught there in 1994-1995. They didn't have such a bug up their asses back then. Sorry to see it slide into OBEY and CONFORM.

  • NedStarksBastard||

    Daily confirmation that the highest concentration of morons in the US are found in school administration.

  • BigT||

    Obama Admin: 'We beg to differ'

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  • Suellington||

    This aggression will not stand, man!

  • Generic Stranger||

    MARK IT ZERO!

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

  • SIV||

    Times sure have changed. In late-1970s HS there was a class for "slow learners" called "Youth and the Law" in which the teacher taught those most likely to be arrested about their rights. He decided the information was so important that he incorporated it into our "fast learner" social studies class on Fridays. Much of the material is now obsolete. I remember that we were taught to carry marijuana and other drugs in a bag or other soft container, rather than a film canister or Sucrets box. The reason being that in a "Terry stop" pat-down the cop could remove and examine hard objects to see if they were weapons but a search of soft objects was illegal. We were also taught to keep or mouths shut and, if arrested, exercise our Miranda rights. All this in a 1970s public high school in Georgia.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    That *is* impressive. I recall a textbook called Youth and the Law, but I don't think it had anything that cool...I mean subversive and dangerous

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The [students] might assert their Liberty;
    But what was Right in them, were Crime in me.
    -John Dryden

    http://www.poemhunter.com/poem.....itophel-2/

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Bertalmio was outraged. The 2002 graduate, who took one class with Dryden, credits him with teaching him how to examine positions and make logical arguments, no matter where one stands politically.

    "Back it up — give me evidence," is what Dryden taught, Bertalmio said.

    Clearly our world is not ready for such.... dangerous nonsense.

  • Sevo||

    So the only way a teacher can get fired is for that teacher to inform the kids about the contents of the Bill of Rights?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    That's not true! They can also get fired for assigning *Huckleberry Finn.*

  • John Galt||

    That likely is the fault of "Nigger Jim." Had he chose a more politically correct name for himself, like African Barry, for example, then the story would be perfectly acceptable and no one need be fired.

  • John Galt||

    That would appear to be correct.

  • John Galt||

    If the schools aren't allowed to help the students enter the penal system at an young age those children risk developing the dangerously mistaken idea that their bodies belong to themselves.

    For effen's sake, it's the safe future of America at stake here!

  • toxic||

    Guess that's the politic way to put it.

    I would have mentioned how they weren't under oath, and could like their assess off. Sounds like a good teacher.

  • free2booze||

    "Dryden faces having a 'letter of remedy' placed in his employment file," which "could have consequences up to dismissal."

    At least we finally know what constitutes a fireable offense for a public school teacher.

  • juris imprudent||

    oH snap!

  • Coeus||

    Who was it that wanted to teach social studies? Goldwater? This is what I was trying to tell him about. Taught that class for 6 months. Anything but American exceptionalism and big gov saving the day is verboten.

  • ||

    American exceptionalism used to be widely & rightly recognized as a product of an anti-big gov attitude based more around the BoR...America is exceptional because at base we have the right ideals...on paper anyway, but while the system wasn't rotten that was all anyone of any sense expected to save the day, damnitall...Dryden should receive a civic award, or an increased Topamax ration, at the communitys discretion of course

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    What kind of high school kid puts his or her name on something and admits to anything? Unless they want to stir up shit with authoritah, which kids can still afford to do. I would write my name on the thing and then scribble "prefer not to answer" across the whole form.

  • Agreenweed||

    Upon signing that damned petition, I got an email saying this,
    "Thank you for taking action through Care2 to protect America's middle class and to keep our country moving forward.

    The DCCC is committed to supporting Democrats across the country because the success of President Obama's agenda depends on a strong Democratic majority."
    DAMN IT WHY DID I SIGH

  • Agreenweed||

    Sign, geez I cannot spell today.

  • AlgerHiss||

    Kiddies, repeat after me, these words for when you're dealing with a "LEO":

    Am I being detained?

    Am I free to go?

    No, you do not have my consent to search.

    As well, interesting views from a lawyer and a cop here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    You forgot.

    I will not answer any questions without an attorney present.

  • cdh3021||

    The school should be punished for denying students their Constitutional rights!

  • Joec578||

    I guess Mr. Dryden can also expect an IRS audit. Teaching Americans about their rights guaranteed by the Constitution is a serious offense in modern America.

  • Pete Geller||

    Notice how the 'good' state of Illinois did Not miss out on said "teachable" moment... I guess actually teaching kids to think for themselves just causes way too many troublemakers....

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  • SteveD||

    Shouldn't we encourage teachers to find ways to apply their subject to the student's lives? Isn't the knowledge wasted if the students haven't learned how to apply the subject materials to their lives (in this case, their Constitutional rights)?

  • drock87||

    I am not sure which is more disturbing: the teacher getting repremanded for essentially teaching, or the fact that the school printed the students' names on the surveys. He absolutely did the right thing. Where is this petition???

  • Alex Karamanis||

    When teachers are muzzled, the next step is a totalitarian state.

  • Free Society||

    lol as if public school teachers are a bulwark against encroachment upon liberty. This guy is the exception, not the rule. What are you smoking?

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