Jerry Buell's major Facebook mistake


This was brought to my attention by Hemant over at the Friendly Atheist blog.


Essentially, this teacher has been suspended over hateful comments he made on his Facebook page.  Facebook has a way of getting teachers fired, and many schools forbid teachers from having a Facebook page.  There are a lot of crazy cases in court right now involving teachers and Facebook. 


Here is the question: where is the line protecting teacher's freedom of speech compared to the line where we must protect the students from bigots?   We wouldn't want a white supremacist member teaching black students would we?  Perhaps some are so supportive of the First Amendment they would allow that (I know there is a violence issue with some white supremacy, but for this argument let us ignore it). 


Where is that line?  Personally, I think anyone showing hatred for a group, especially a group that person will probably have power over, should be removed from that position.  But a lot of people have been disagreeing with me, so let us have at it! 


EDIT: (28Aug2011)


This just in via Friendly Atheist and Mike K.
Go figure, he likes to preach at his students too.  Case closed, this guy needs to not teach in public school anymore.

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Replies to This Discussion

Ok, if his comments were in discussion with students, then the school definitely has a case. Again, Facebook settings people! Do not be friends with your high school students on Facebook! (I have a friend who I have repeatedly warned about this, particularly with female students. Because we have another friend who lost his teaching career because of a false allegation by a female student who said that he made some kind of sexual innuendo statement to her or something. The school forced him to resign, even though they knew the girl was lying.)
Good math teachers are extremely hard to find.
I have to agree. What you say in your private life really shouldn't be taken into account unless it is directly affecting your job (like if a teacher was to say something like "I hate my black students"). If he is not teaching his religious beliefs in the classroom, there's nothing illegal going on. I find it so disturbing that things said in private life (and yes, I consider Facebook to be your "private life" even though it's not literally private) can get you fired. I mean, what if you're at a party, say something racist, and someone happens to be recording it with a handheld recorder. Can you get fired for that? I would think not. Make sure you set your privacy settings on Facebook if it's a concern!! A lot of problems can be avoided just by setting good privacy settings.
What do you tell the gay student who is in his class, knowing that his teacher and "role model" think's he's disgusting?
I don't even know what to say to that.  I guess you don't think it would.  When the other kids beat him up feeling supported by the fine community example that was set, that wouldn't matter either.  When the kid who already has minimal self esteem sees that his respected teacher thinks hes a piece of shit, that wouldn't matter either.  Basically, tough shit kid, you don't matter.
So because he harbors certain views that some of us think he has the right to have, that means that we advocate violence against a student?  Because we all know that he only has one person he can go to for help.
Tell the student to just pay attention to what subject the teacher is teaching, and don't think of him as a role model. We all had teachers who probably had opinions that were abhorrent to us personally. But I just don't think we can mandate what personalities and beliefs and opinions teachers have in their personal life. I had lots of super-Christian teachers, which I find disgusting. But as long as they didn't bring it up in school, then it's not my concern. If it affects their teaching, then it's a problem. Unfortunately, there are probably a lot of things like that that MAY affect the teaching, but it'd be hard to prove (like giving lower grades to a gay student or something, when it's a subjective scoring system).
I don't know if it's all that different from being a nerd and knowing that your jock gym teacher thinks you're disgusting; plenty of kids go through that.
I agree with you Julie -- if you use Facebook privacy settings are a must.  Private life should be separate from work life.
I agree as well. I've known some pretty good people who got into trouble just because of their private life seen by their bosses on facebook.

I dont have a prob with "fuckbook". I will not join but to deny anyone the freedom of speach that is inherent in our "current version" constitution is ..well.....unconstitutional. (duh).

I absolutley agree with your last statment that 

"...I think anyone showing hatred for a group, especially a group that person will probably have power over, should be removed from that position."

key words.."..a group that person has power over..."

thats a violation of the position and renders that person emotionally/mentally incapable.

this is why we need more face to face communication not just this "typing shit into a box and getting typed msgs back."

that is NOT a conversation.

About the quote, if the person who shows hatred for the group that they allegedly have power over can get fired for showing that hatred, who has power over who?




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