Education

UPDATED: HOAX! This Florida Teacher Strapped on a Dildo to Teach Sex Ed. Then Things Got *Weird*

At least she didn't bring a "hoax bomb" to school.

|

UPDATED 3:39 P.M.: As the invaluable Snopes.com reported A YEAR AGO, the following story is a hoax. I apologize for the uncritical recycling of the piece.

It was first reported via the Gray Lady of conspiracy sites, Infowars,com, and is the work of a talented author. From Snopes:

The writer of that post included a biography touting her work on the National Report (a fake news outlet), and other articles on the site included such leg pulls as "DISTURBING NEW TREND: KIDS ARE NOW SMOKING BED BUGS TO GET HIGH," "TOP FIVE REASONS WHY I'M GLAD PAUL WALKER IS DEAD," and "OUR TOP FIVE FAVORITE CELEBRITY OVERDOSES." 

I'm sure you're wondering about the pics. Here, too, Snopes sheds a thousands points of light:

The photos displayed in the original article were not in fact pictures of a Florida substitute teacher named Sharon Mercer, but rather pictures of Carlyle Jansen, the founder and owner of Good for Her (a progressive, female-friendly sex store in Toronto, Ontario), who has upon occasion been invited to give talks about sexual health at Toronto-area high schools. But Ms. Jansen told us that she also teaches sex ed classes for adult audiences, that the photographs displayed in the outrage-provoking article were snapped at a university-level (not a sixth grade) class, and that she "would not have done those positions and discussed strap-ons to that extent in a high school setting."

Read the full Snopes entry here. And now, back to the original post, which I leave up as a testament to my gullibility.—Nick Gillespie

Via the utterly indispensable still-pretty-great-but-not-perfect Twitter feed of Mike Hewlett comes what is quite possibly the ultimate "Florida" story.

Sharon Mercer, a substitute teacher, was teaching a sex ed class for 6th graders at Clinton Middle School in Duval County, Florida, when she proceeded to don 

a phallic apparatus and [began] pantomiming graphic, adult-oriented scenarios during class.

Because this is an age of cell phones, a technology that has proven its value in countless instances of capturing police brutality and other forms of official misconduct, some of her pedagogy was captured for posterity.

She has been suspended by the school. Reports Modern Woman Digest:

Mercer, who identifies as a bisexual, gender-queer woman, is a proud member of the LGBTQ community, claims she did nothing wrong by portraying these acts for her class, and that the students left school far more enlightened than they had been prior to the days lesson.

In an email exchange with Modern Woman Digest, Sandra Mercer insisted that her suspension was an act of bigotry, and a step back for gay rights in the workplace.

I don't know if her suspension was an act of bigotry. Certainly, Mercer's lesson plan is the sort of thing you definitely want to get clearance for before trying out in most classes.

But I will say this in all seriousness: Just as I've argued that clockmaker "Ahmed Mohamed's Ordeal *Is* The Case for School Choice," so is Mercer's.

In a freer country with a more decentralized, innovative, and just educational system, there would doubtless be schools experimenting with sex-ed programs that would make the nuns who taught me back at St. Mary's Elementary School in Middletown, New Jersey turn whiter than a communion wafer.

And assuming those course offerings were all coordinated via willing parents, teachers, and students, it would be a better world, too.