Monday, October 21, 2013

When It's Not Cool to Be "Edgy"

I just ran across this article about a high school teacher in Dracut, MA who was fired from his $75,000 a year teaching job for reading what is described in the article as a "vulgarity-laden short story which the Bob Dylan obsessed teacher authored".

The story was called "Song To Bob"

Regardless of what Robert Moulton wrote in his homage to Bob Dylan, if it is "vulgarity-laden" then it has no place in the classroom. There are standards for teachers on any level that should be adhered to, and one of them is common sense.

I don't know what was "vulgar-laden" about the piece, whether it was profanity or otherwise, but it was obviously out of line and inappropriate for classroom consumption.

If Mr. Moulton wanted to share his passion for Bob Dylan with his students by his writings, he should have had the common sense to make it available without reading it aloud in class.

The article states that there are 666 (nice number) students and former students who have signed a petition in support of reinstating Moulton.

I personally hate to see anyone get fired from their job for bad judgement and this does on the surface seem to be such a case. BUT, the article does not disclose what he read in class and as mentioned, there are standards of which 17 year veteran teacher should be well aware.

I don't want to hear the argument that these are high school students and they are exposed to and probably commit whatever vulgarities were in Moulton's missive.

That's not the point.

The point is you don't swear at teachers in school and they don't swear at you and off color language in a public school (or any school for that matter) has no place, especially when one is educating students.

It remains to be seen where this case will go, apparently Mr. Moulton is considering hiring noted Boston attorney Alan Dershowitz to press for reinstatement.

In any case this is not a freedom of speech first amendment issue, it's about appropriate behavior by one who is entrusted with education and is in a position of authority.

Along with that comes responsibility and restraint.

"Pushing the envelope" and the edging over the boundaries of what is appropriate has gone on for far too long which is why there is very little respect for rule and decorum. 

In this case, Mr. Moulton likely was out of line.


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