Education

School Board Orders Teacher to Refrain From Sarcasm, Flippancy, and Discussion of Civil Liberties

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WGN-TV

John Dryden, the Illinois high school teacher who got into trouble for telling his students they did not have to answer questions about their drug and alcohol use on survey forms labeled with their names, has been told he'd better watch what he says from now on. Dryden, who has worked at Batavia High School in surburban Chicago for 20 years, was suspended for a day without pay and reprimanded because he informed students about their Fifth Amendment rights in connection with the school-sponsored survey. The Chicago Tribune reports that the school board recently instructed him that he must not make "flippant" or sarcastic remarks, provide "legal advice," or "mischaracterize" or "discredit" any district initiative. In an emailed response, Dryden complained that the requirements are "demeaning, vague, overly broad and constructed to entrap me in a future infraction for the purpose of termination." He also defended his warning about the survey:

This un-vetted survey was and is a massive invasion of privacy and students do have a Fifth Amendment right not to give to a state institution any information that might incriminate them regardless of the intentions of that institution….The administration has argued that they intended to do the right thing and that we should have simply trusted them to act responsibly with the information provided by students.

School officials really did argue that their good intentions would magically insulate students from any legal peril. As the Tribune puts it, "District officials said that Dryden misrepresented the survey, which they said was meant to target students in need of social or emotional help and wasn't intended to penalize students who admitted to drug or alcohol use."

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  1. But he didn’t misrepresent it at all. He told them it was a government survey, which is true. He also told them they had a constitutional right to not answer any questions, which is true.

    1. It’s people like you what cause unrest.

  2. In an emailed response, Dryden complained that the requirements are “demeaning, vague, overly broad and constructed to entrap me in a future infraction for the purpose of termination.”

    Yeah, that’s the general idea dude. Dissent will not be tolerated.

    1. It appears a way to fire teachers has finally been found.

      1. Some teachers.

        1. Only the excellent ones who inspire the students to think for themselves. We can’t have that, can we. Fuckin’ schools.

    2. Dissent will not be tolerated?

      What about all those bumper stickers I used to see that read, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”

      Oh, wait, never mind. I forgot that was ONLY true when Boosh/Cheney were in charge. Now it no longer applies.

  3. Yeah, watch what those Nanny-Staters do if they get a grand jury subpoena from the local D.A.

    1. You mean like Lerner taking the 5th before Congress?

  4. I honestly do believe that these people have the best of intentions; I just think they were brought up in a school system that failed to teach them any better.

    1. You know who else had good intentions…

      1. Me, 7th grade, when I filed a lawsuit against my school to force them to accomodate student diversity be reciting Julius Caesar in English and the original Klingon.

  5. which they said was meant to target students in need of social or emotional help and wasn’t intended to penalize students who admitted to drug or alcohol use

    They just don’t get that being targeted as needing social or emotional help is being penalized for admitting drug or alcohol use.

    1. Well, it worked for the Soviet Union. Helping dissidents by locking them up in reeducation camps and mental asylums to make sure those needing “help” received the help they needed.

    2. What happens, praytell, if a student who is “targeted” as being “in need of social and emotional help” decides to decline the “help” so generously being offered to him or her?

      1. I don’t know, but it’s definitely a sign you need social and emotional help even worse than they thought.

      2. For the sake of the children, the right to decline “help” is strictly verboten.

  6. The Chicago Tribune reports that the school board recently instructed him that he must not make “flippant” or sarcastic remarks, provide “legal advice,” or “mischaracterize” or “discredit” any district initiative.

    The “legal advice” he was giving them in this case amounted to the standard lecture on the Bill of Rights he would have given the students as part of the standard social studies curriculum (provided he teaches it correctly), would it not?

    This situation is pure Kafkorwellian.

    1. How about Kafkawellian? Why should Orwell get his whole name in your neologism and Kafka not?

      1. I prefer the Kafkaeseque tradition to the Orwellian tradition, but the Or- sounded better initially. Now, I’m coming around to it, so I guess I would say Kafkawellian.

    2. “part of the standard social studies curriculum”

      not anymore

  7. My God, what a traitor! How dare he inform students of the constitutionally protected rights!

    1. HEY, HEY, HEY! Enough with the “legal advice”, Daniel Webster!

      1. So sorry. I’m really not a “legal” type.

    2. Judging from the past several years, “Constitutionally delineated” rights might be a more appropriate description than “Constitutionally protected”.

  8. worked at Batavia High School in surburban Chicago for 20 years, was suspended for a day without pay

    So he lost over $200. That’s if he makes the average. At 20 years service, I’m guessing he’s higher than that.

    He should go into the private sector where he can make way, way more and be able to say whatever he wants.

    But back on topic:

    , which they said was meant to target students in need of social or emotional help and wasn’t intended to penalize students who admitted to drug or alcohol use.”

    If the school has any ‘zero tolerance’ policies, I would not believe a word of that.

    1. “He should go into the private sector where he can make way, way more and be able to say whatever he wants.”

      It would profit us all if he were only allowed free reign to teach right where he’s at.

  9. This son of a bitch needs to learn that while the Constitution is good in theory grown ups realize that sometimes it must be ignored for the greater good.

    1. There can be no greater good than that which is the good of the children! Our secure progressive future depends on them.

    2. It’s not a suicide pact.

      1. And yet, everyone who signed it is dead…

  10. Peter Griffin: Jeez, Mr. Fargus, what happened to you? Somebody give you a fun-ectomy?

    Mr Fargus, in monotonous tone: No, they gave me these [rattles a bottle of pills] by order of the School Board. They said it evens me out. Sorry to fly off the handle.

    1. Life imitating art?

      1. Just reaching Equilibrium.

  11. Most of the comments on this HuffPo article aren’t bad, but then this happened:

    It is unfortunate that so few people, including this teacher apparently, realize that students have diminished rights under a concept known as “loco parentis”, where the court recognizes that the school is acting as a form of surrogate parent. This also allows the schools to control content of publications, banning certain forms of expression, and engaging in searches of student lockers. The teacher was wrong in believing and expressing opinions on 5th amendment rights that may not be extended to students.

    1. So, did you ask him for a cite in support of the proposition he presented?

      1. In loco parentis exists, and he actually isn’t wrong about some of the things it allows, but it doesn’t override your fifth amendment rights. It basically grants you the legal authority of a parent in certain instances. Since a parent isn’t allowed to force you to incriminate yourself, the school also isn’t allowed to.

        1. Yes, there is some truth to what he was scribbling, but he was far off the mark relative to the application of the in loco parentis principle to the 5th amendment rights of the children, as you noted.

        2. He claims that in loco parentis allows the school to do anything it wants to students with no repercussions. Everything he actually said was wrong, including leaving the “In” out of “In loco parentis.”

    2. There you go agains Irish elevating my blood pressure with this shit. I’m already into my third Coors trying to maintain from today’s authority-worshipping stupidity.

      1. At 7:04 PM? You sure that’s not the third Coors from the second six pack?

        1. Damn, Duke is sure taking a long whiz.

          1. Sorry just had the best chicken soup w/ Hong Kong egg noodles every made by my lovely wife.

            Unfortunately, work delayed my drinking so I’m only on my 3rd or maybe 4th Coors Original — best cheap domestic beer ever IMO.

            Oh yeah, fuck this government up the butthole.

            1. I’m jealous. Classes keep me from drinking until nearly bedtime.

            2. Coors Original is distributed by Hensley & Co., which is majority owned by Cindy McCain. Cindy McCain is married to John McCain, who runs guns for the al-Qaeda-affiliated Free Syrian Army. al-Qaeda attacked our country on September 11th in the worst terrorist act ever visited upon our shores.

              When you’re drinking Coors, you’re drinking terrorism.

              1. You’re harshing my buzz man.

                1. Best cheap domestic beer used to be Stroh’s, back when it was made from yellow/gray water extracted from the Detroit River off Zug Island. Then they were bought out and moved to fucking Texas of all places and the stuff went from panther piss to some undrinkabloe fizzy shit.

                  1. For the uninitiated Zug Island was where the Detroit River caught fire back in the early 70’s. River burned for three days, effectively causing a shortage of the much beloved Stroh’s.
                    Now the river’s been restored and is a world class walleye fishery. There’s nothing this city can’t fuck up.

  12. Beware the fury of a flippant man.

  13. From what I understand the teacher is a raging leftist.

    Still, pretty much everybody in the area who heard about this is ticked off at the school board over this.

  14. OK wow, lets roll that beautiful bean footage!

    http://www.AnonStuff.tk

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