Thursday, March 15, 2007

A Higher Standard

I just read an article (another article, blogpost) about a Florida teacher who was given an ultimatum by his school district: either cover up his brief nudity in his performance of the Full Monty, quit the community production, or resign from his job as a teacher of high school music and chorus.

He was told that "Because teachers are held to a higher standard than most people, you have to look at how that affects the community and his role as a classroom teacher," said Barbara Melanson, the school district's director of human resources.

This standard has recently been an issue at my school. What would be perceived as sarcastic humor with any other adult, is construed as inappropriate in a classroom setting. In a similar situation, if an educator so much as slips out a "shut up" in frustration, you'd better believe we will have to explain our actions to our administrators.

It's strange to be a constant pillar in today's society of crumbling morals. However, the more I think about it, the more important I think it is for kids to have at least a few adult role models in their lives. Unfortunately, parents do not always fulfill this role. And clearly, the media runs amok with inappropriate models. Teachers may well be the only ones left.

However, in the case of this Florida teacher, I think we run into dangerous territory when teachers have their right to be human stripped away. (OK, pun intended.) Context is important. This teacher is not on a street corner mooning cars. He is a sanctioned community production. I think the school district is being ridiculous. There are bigger battles to fight.

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