Saturday, June 24, 2006

A higher moral standard?

Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen, the temperature outside is currently 107 degrees. Ouch. Yes, we are currently in the middle of a little heat wave, where it is pretty nasty going outside after Noon. However, this isn't the nastiest it has been, since it is really cooling off in the evenings, leaving the mornings more than bearable.

During this little meltdown, I've been thinking about Education Wonks (check my fav bloggers) recent article about a teacher who posted "artsy" pictures of herself on the Internet, some topless. A colleague that she was feuding with showed the administration, who promptly escorted the pictured teacher out of her classroom and is trying to revoke her teaching credential. The argument then ensued on Ed Wonks comment section regarding the "higher moral standard" that teachers are supposed to set for students. Is this fair? Should teachers not have the rights of any other profession to do what they wish on their own time?

I'm on the fence with this question because it is really difficult to define what is and is not morally acceptable. Usually, those that try and direct you down the "moral path" (Ann Coulter or Amy Goodman) are simply trying to create an environment that helps their own political agenda, or are trying to sell books. In my opinion, the Texas Topless teacher set herself up when the pictures were posted online. Nobody said that taking topless pictures is bad, but allowing them to be seen in a public forum, especially by kids, is a recipe for a blowout by the parents of the school. While more artistic and educated people might see art, others might see soft core porn, and as we all know, not all parents out there are artistic, or very educated. Topless in Texas should have known that.

But again, where does the line get drawn? Heather Weathers was fired in New Orleans for having an art website that had very abstract work, but certainly not work that is overtly sexual. And what about the fact that Heather has two sets of warnings stating that some of the imagery is not for everybody? Shouldn't that account for something?

Now let's personalize it and toe that line again. Does this mean that if I use the word "fuck" in this blog that the school can attempt to revoke my credential because I'm not using a higher moral standard? This did become an issue back in September when an "offended party" came forward and stated that it was wrong for me to be using profanity when other students had the ability to read my blog. In the end, the reason they came forward had less to do with profanity, but the issue is still there. Is my language putting me at risk?

If were to come down to it, if the district asked me to watch my language, I probably would, after I investigated the 1st Amendment issue surrounding this site. I like my job a hell of a lot more than I like this blog. However the issue still remains in doubt in terms of a "moral standard". Where is the line?
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