I know a lot of teachers get angry with me for my increasing certitude that they are in an unethical profession with some ethical members (like them), rather than an ethical profession with isolated unethical exceptions. This incident supports my critical views. Unless mental illness is involved, an adult doesn’t belong to a profession with well-defined standards and ethics rules and act like this.
At W.H. Adamson High School in Dallas, Texas, art students were treated to an epic meltdown by their teacher, Payal Modi, who screamed “Die!” and shot President Trump’s image on the screen with a water gun as students watched his inauguration on TV. A student caught this on video, and Modi, who was proud of the planned display, posted it to her Instagram account.
This is more political indoctrination the classroom, which educators not today only tolerate but nurture. A teacher modelling violence toward any individual, but especially the President of The United States, in front of students, is such a stunning breach of professional ethics that no teacher should have the idea even flicker across her mind. Payal Modi planned it. A teacher who behaves like this cannot be trusted with students. A teacher like Modi calls into question everyone and every institution connected with her.
Adamson High School assistant principal Bobby Nevels confirmed that Modi shot the squirt gun at the TV, during class and in front of students. It is six days later. Why does she have a job? Why has the school not made a public apology? Why hasn’t the teachers’ union condemned her actions?
In eight years, no teacher did anything displaying close to this level of hostility and disrespect to President Obama. What do you think the reaction would have been by a school district if one had? Would the official position be, as Nevels’ was, “The district will not comment on personnel issues.” How about reassuring parents and the public that the district recognizes that this isn’t just a personnel issue, but an incident that calls into question the integrity of the education system and the teaching profession? Modi is the product of an unethical culture that is rotting public education from within.
Is there a specific Teachers Code of Conduct provision, enforced and universal, that would guide a teacher not to do something this outrageous? The NEA has a Code, but there is no enforcement mechanism. There is also no prohibition against demonstrating hostility and disrespect toward public figures, or engaging in violent displays in class. Here are the provisions relevant to Modi’s meltdown:
In fulfillment of the obligation to the student, the educator–
1. Shall not unreasonably restrain the student from independent action in the pursuit of learning.
2. Shall not unreasonably deny the student’s access to varying points of view.
3. Shall not deliberately suppress or distort subject matter relevant to the student’s progress.
4. Shall make reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions harmful to learning or to health and safety.
I have no doubts that the NEA women who marched on Sunday would argue that none of these tenets were violated. After all, it’s reasonable to make it clear that students should hate and fear this President, isn’t it? It’s not unreasonable to indoctrinate students sufficiently that they are immunized from the attraction of The Dark Side, as in anything that runs counter to progressive cant. Distortion? What distortion? The man’s a monster, another Hitler, and deserves to die. This teacher was making a reasonable effort to protect her students from “conditions harmful to learning or to health and safety.”
Serious professional codes of conduct don’t permit these deceits. Professions that care about professionalism don’t give off mixed signals when a member betrays the public trust so blatantly.
My guess? Modi will still be teaching a year from now.
And that is tragic.
UPDATE: I checked again. She was finally placed on administrative leave today, while the district “investigates.”