Sunday, August 28, 2011
In the Night
Well, the case of Jerry Buell, a teacher at the Mount Dora (Florida) High School keeps ... um ... evolving.
Buell was suspended for making remarks on his personal Facebook page, about the New York State legislature's recent, and all too infrequent, bout of sanity in legalizing same sex marriage, that I, myself, found offensive and, worse, in a teacher, really stupid.
It seems the suspension has been lifted.
The thing about the First Amendment is that the right to say what you want does not depend on the speech being inoffensive or intelligent by my, or anyone else's, standards.
And, contrary to some expectations, the ACLU did come to the defense of Buell. It is less clear that Liberty Counsel, who actually represented Buell, would have done the same if the shoe was on the other foot.
But now this has come to light:
On his school webpage, he wrote that he tries to "teach and lead my students as if Lake Co. Schools had hired Jesus Christ himself."What Buell and any other government employee can't do is use his tax payer funded position to proselytize his religious beliefs to his students under the guise of "teaching" and, in particular, he cannot bully his students into accepting his beliefs.
On his class syllabus, he also offers this warning to students: "I teach God's truth, I make very few compromises. If you believe you may have a problem with that, get your schedule changed, 'cause I ain't changing!" On a separate document, he also said the classroom was his "mission field."
If Mr. Buell abused his position to advance his religious beliefs in the classroom, he is no First Amendment hero. He is just another thief stealing from the public purse for his own selfish motives.
If he wants to proselytize then let him get a job in a religious school or became a preacher or pastor or some such. A public school classroom is not the place for those views.
Do we have any evidence that the remarks on the Facebook page are typical of what he presents in the social studies classroom, though?
He denies that it is but I haven't seen any reporting from his past or present students.
Must -- get -- images -- out of my head!!
I may have to try jello shots.
-- pew sitter