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

Views: 166

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 kris feenstra on August 26, 2011 at 1:45pm

I'm split.  I don't really buy that the fact that he wrote it on his personal time is important.  Expectations of teachers and their public appearance are often higher than most other professions. Conduct outside of school walls can still affect a teacher's career.  I don't think that's entirely wrong; public appearance is a legitimate aspect of certain jobs.


But teachers still have a right to freedom of expression.  In terms of his statements, it's all just statement of opinion.  Yes, it's crass (sorry, but I'm not sold on 'passionate'), but that's about the extent of it as far as speech goes.


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.  There is supposed to be some degree of separation between teachers and students, at least at that age.  I think it damages a teacher's image to be seen publicly making childish and derogatory statements.  More importantly, as has been stated already, it's highly inappropriate for students to see their teacher act out bigotry against them should they be part of the group affected by the remarks.


Teachers have the right to be human, sure, but they still need to be held to higher standards than average.  That's part of the job. 

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 kris feenstra on August 26, 2011 at 2:30pm

But then: how does a child of Christian parents feel in the class of an outspoken atheist?


It comes down to conduct more than views.  If that atheist teacher stated in a public forum, "I profoundly disagree with biblical literalists in their interpretation of the Bible. I especially disagree that the Bible is inerrant.  Here is an illustration of that point: [insert bible contradiction of your choosing]." no one has reasonable grounds to object.  If, however, that teacher stated, "Fundies are brain-dead whack jobs who are too indoctrinated to see that their fairy tale book is full of shit", then there would be legitimate cause for complaint.

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!


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