Jerry Buell was reinstated today after getting legal support from Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal firm.

Views: 186

Comment by Robert Karp on August 26, 2011 at 12:07pm

Yes you have 1st Amendment rights, but you also have to deal with the consequences of your actions in regards to those rights. He is a bigot. In the last part of the video he says, "no one would be safer"  which is BS. If I were gay and in his class I would feel anything but safe and loved.

Comment by Jimmy Boy on August 26, 2011 at 1:39pm

Hemant Mehta (the Friendly Atheist) has a great (and somewhat controversial) take on this - I have some sympathy for this.  Particularly in the US, there is a view that you can be what you like in your own free time - if it does not intrude into your classroom.


There are obviously limits to how far that can go: and being a member of the Klan for eg should probably bar you from any kind of public office, including teacher.


There is a real question though about what a gay child is going to feel in his classroom now - and that needs answering.  But then: how does a child of Christian parents feel in the class of an outspoken atheist?

Comment by Robert Karp on August 26, 2011 at 1:48pm

Jimmy the point is here, as I wrote before, is to me, he has to deal with the consequences of his actions.


He KNOWS facebook is public so by utilizing his 1st amendment rights he took the risks of the result. Sure he put it to private, but by having 700 friends, some of which are students he takes the risk of having anything he says examined.


His 1st Amendment rights were not violated. They did not say he couldn't say what he did, they are saying in terms of protecting the well being of the students at the school.


Sure you can practice whichcraft, satanism, be a klan member, neo nazi skinhead in the privacy of your own home or group, but when you take that into the public sphere, you have to deal with whatever happens.


This is not some mere practicing christian, he is vehemently opposed to homosexuals and homosexual rights. It would be one thing if his FB said something like "I don't hold the views that gay people should be married but as long as this doesn't affect my life blah blah blah" but he didn't . His rant was disgusting and if I was a parent at the school, I would not want someone so bigoted teaching my children any more than I would someone who is racist.


It was his choice and he should have to deal with his view on human rights.

Comment by Rick on August 26, 2011 at 3:03pm

Most, if not all, schools require their teachers to sign a code of ethics that states they will not do or say anything that reflects poorly on the school or the district. Some will even stipulate this includes one’s conduct when off the clock.


I’d think this would be pretty black and white… If he did sign such a contract, did his posts on FB violate it?


What I find more appalling than his words are the attempts by conservative media outlets to spin this so he appears to be the victim. They paint him as a model teacher, referring to him as “award-wining” and “teacher of the year,” and then defend his words. Whatever accolades he may have earned in the past have no relevance to his current situation. His words were still vile and he deserves any consequences that may come his way.  

Comment by Robert Karp on August 26, 2011 at 3:07pm


Comment by Rick on August 26, 2011 at 3:30pm

@Robert: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I’ve never been harrumphed before. I feel quite honored that you were my first!

Comment by Michelle Phelps on August 27, 2011 at 12:02am

I think they should not let him back, because kids may not feel comfortable with him knowing he is a homophobic. if i have a gay son i wouldn't want that guy teaching him. and how can he say that it's ok that he posted that on facebook because of free speech and freedom to express himself when he is saying its wrong for gays to express themselves?

Comment by matt.clerke on August 29, 2011 at 11:46pm

"God will not be mocked"

Orly? challenge accepted.


God, you mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!

Comment by Jimmy Boy on August 30, 2011 at 2:37am

However, the opinions expressed are homophobic, and, to restate the issue that has arisen already, does this affect his professional relationship with his students?  I think it would.

Kris: yes - I think that is my biggest concern.  His statement that they are not judged and are welcome in his class rings a little hollow.  Certainly no scared gay child is likely to see him as someone to confide in - where sympathetic teachers have often played that role.  But then he isn't employed to do it either.  How his class actually feels to any gay child is a matter we can speculate about, but without being in it, it's hard to say I think.  Still - it's reasonable to think that it is unlikely to be a good place for a gay child now.


Rober: there is nothing you have said I can disagree with.  But I remain uncomfortable because the consequence here is that a guy, who may well have had a long and good career, is going to have it all end in a blaze of confrontation, potential disgrace, loss of earnings etc.


To be clear: I have a reasonable understanding of what the impact of his views continues to be in the US in particular (never mind elsewhere in places like Eastern Europe where being gay is close to being a capital offence).


But this is a great media story.  A good solution here would be for him to have to spend some time with gay people, realise the error of his ways, apologise and then get back to teaching - a job there is every reason to believe his is quite good at.  Or at least, from what I've seen, we could charitably make that assumption in the absence of other information.


The way these things work though, is that confrontation will be stirred by preachers, journalists and politicans who have everything to gain by pushing an anti-gay agenda; a teacher, who perhaps like so many teachers, is not that savvy about the media, gets to take full consequence for expression of (horrible) views - but views which he shares with large numbers of others.


For the guy himself, this is an absolute tragedy.  For the improvement of gay rights, having him sacked might not be the best answer either as it creates another martyr for them to croon over.


But I can accept that until he recants somewhat publicly, it seems unlikely that he should be in a classroom.  It would be great if there were a way to see his bigotry for what it is, and to help him recant.


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