From The Ethics Alarms “What You Say Or Think In Private Is None Of Your Employer’s Business, Until It Isn’t Private Any More” Files: The Teachers’ Bar Game

teachers-at-a-bar

Akin to the Naked Teacher Principle is what this fiasco illustrates. If you allow conversations to make their way to the web and they insult or denigrate individuals who have to trust you or work with you in your employment, you cannot complain when your name is mud and your job is toast.

Some teachers and and staff employed by the Bangor Public Schools were relaxing at a local bar, and started playing a game  called “Fuck, Marry, or Kill.” The game challenges the players to name three celebrities they would marry, have intimate relations with or kill, but the educators decided to substitute students and other teachers for the celebrities.Some the students named as desired murder victims or sex partners were special needs students. What fun!

No ethics alarms sounded. Someone made a video, nobody grabbed the phone and stomped on , and the video ended up on YouTube.

Parents were not pleased.

“It’s disturbing to know that these are our educators,” said one.”They are in charge of protecting our children, keeping our children safe, and the fact that they just blew that out of the water shows their character and shows that maybe they’re not right for this job.” “It was heartbreaking,” said anothee, the mother of a 15-year-old student in the district who was named in the video. “My heart sank, and I was disgusted.””You teach your kids to respect authority, and then how do you respect authority figures when they behave like that?” added her husband.

Initially, the secretary to the superintendent resigned, two teachers were suspended and four other teachers were verbally reprimanded. The Bangor Schools’ attorney  announced there would be no further action taken against the staff members involved.  “We’re going to be following up and monitoring how these teachers do,” said the lawyer. “I think they’ve learned their lesson from all of this.”

I don’t think it matters whether they have or not. Would you want to have your son or daughter’s teacher joking about having sex with them or killing them on YouTube? Would you trust such teachers? Would you trust their supervisors? Would you trust the school? Should you? Is that responsible parenting?

Two more teachers have resigned. The school, and maybe the whole system it is part of, needs an ethics audit, an overhaul, a house-cleaning, and training.

Or do we just say,  rephrasing the famous last line of “Chinatown,”

Forget it, Jake. It’s public education.”

?

41 Comments

Filed under Childhood and children, Education, Etiquette and manners, Professions

41 responses to “From The Ethics Alarms “What You Say Or Think In Private Is None Of Your Employer’s Business, Until It Isn’t Private Any More” Files: The Teachers’ Bar Game

  1. They just need to be paid more.

  2. Mike C

    This is why the government should never impede on any business that could replace it. It should only do what private enterprise won’t do or couldn’t afford to do. It think private enterprise could replace the public education, at a better price, and give a superior results. However, I’m not foolish, I know if we abolished public education, politicians would stick their noses in it and ruin it like they’ve done with College. Between all the rules they impose, and making it affordable to anyone they have messed that all up as well.

    • “It should only do what private enterprise won’t do or couldn’t afford to do.”

      That’s a dangerously limitless standard to set.

      I think that yes, when something has been demonstrated to be societally necessary after long and careful deliberation AND defined very strictly with clear limits, AND falls within defined powers of the government AND is something the free market will not naturally produce a solution to on its own, THEN it should be considered for something it can or ought to do.

    • Chris

      I don’t get the logic of this. Do private employees never behave this way? (This isn’t “everybody does it,” it’s “how would your proposed solution stop people from doing it?”)

      • Yes there are tons of reasons the government shouldn’t impede private solutions that could easily replace it. But misbehavior isn’t *necessarily* one of them. Unless it can be shown that government run solutions inherently decrease the likelihood of punishing this kind of conduct, that is to say, government run solutions tend over time to protect people who conduct themselves thusly. That burden would be on Mike to demonstrate.

        • E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

          In the case of public school teachers, it’s both, I think. The teachers’ unions exist to protect their members, and they have done so extraordinarily well. This is why, for example, the New York City school system cannot fire the more than 200 teachers who have been deemed “unfit for the classroom,” but instead has to warehouse them — on full salary — where they spend their days doing crossword puzzles, knitting, or writing their pidgin English version of the great American novel. The NY situation is fully documented, by the way: but at least NY is getting them out the the classrooms the only way they know how.

      • Public employees tend to have more protections than private employees… Usually because they tend to be unionised and the people negotiating with them usually have a vested interest in either minimising the damage of a prolonged negotiation or to keep on good terms with a crucial voting block.

        What you end up with are these tortured excuses for contracts that include unsustainable abominations like defined benefit pension plans or absurdities like the inability to fire people *with cause* (I’ve SEEN it, it’s extreme, but it exists.).

        Private employees, I think, probably are actually less likely to do something like this (which is not to say they are unable to do something like this, only less likely) because they are more likely to be held accountable.

  3. Warren

    Good to know the fuck, marry, kill game has its own URL.

  4. E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

    Public education is here to stay — at least for awhile. And so will teachers like these. Regardless of the horror involved in the decision to even play such a game — just a release of frustration, my eye — it only proves, once again, that most public school teachers are overpaid, overprotected, don’t have the wherewithal to be decent people much less the teachers of our children, and oh yes, morons. Complete idiots, and maybe sociopaths, who nevertheless maintain a significant social and emotional power over their students..

    Notice to Bangor Parents and public school parents everywhere: Homeschool.com is a good site, has a good curriculum that is accredited, has classes by Skype, etc., etc. Get your kids away from these awful, awful people.

    PS My son went to private schools (one a nightmare and one absolutely wonderful, but he ended his secondary school career being homeschooled when the $28K for the “good” private school tuition was just too damn high. And incidentally, homeschooled with a tutor he passed his 12th-grade California Achievement Test (required of homeschoolers in my state) with a 96% grade. It can be done.

    • Eternal Optometrist

      Unbelievable that these teachers keep their jobs. In another lifetime, I worked at a Bank and it was stressed to us that if we were overheard talking about someone’s account outside of work, even in the most generic of terms, we would be terminated. Full stop. No excuse accepted.

      This is 1000 times worse.

      • E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

        Along those lines, I knew a man who had held a top position in a very influential organization for 10 years, was very good at it and was well respected, and was fired on the spot when it was learned that he had falsified one single item on his resume a decade prior. The rules were the rules there. No questions. No excuses.

        But no rules at all in the teaching profession apparently.

  5. Michael Ejercito

    Some teachers actually provide hands-on sex ed.

    Does not the Julie principle apply?

  6. Other Bill

    I got out of teaching (in Catholic schools) after three years for a number of reasons: Asshole, ungrateful and uncooperative parents (just a very few but they were enough), low pay and the fact I wasn’t one of those unique teachers who could stay fresh in the classroom for more than a year or two, among them. But the primary thing that drove me out of teaching and off to law school was other teachers. Long time teachers are a terribly depressing group. I avoided the teachers’ lounge like the plague. All they did was bitch and moan. It was awful.

    • Other Bill

      Will be interesting to hear Chris’s take on this. He’s still soldiering on in the classroom. For which he deserves a medal.

      • Chris

        Thanks, OB. It’s only my third year, so I don’t think I’m deserving of any special praise. But I don’t see myself quitting any time soon.

        The notion of playing this game with my students’ names makes my skin crawl. I teach middle school, not high school, but this is inappropriate no matter the age. It would be inappropriate with college students. Here, though, it is sick. Taping it is incompetent. These teachers should not be trusted.

        Yes, I’ve seen teachers say things about students in frustration, and even I’ve said to my girlfriend “I want to kill that kid,” but this is extreme. I can’t believe no one involved saw anything wrong with this.

        • Other Bill

          You’re welcome and continued good luck. I had a seventh grade student who was a near sociopath and I was terrified to ask his father to take him to another school before I would have to ask the principal to expel him. The father was a Mofioso. This was in an open city. Upon my urging, the father took the kid out of school. The father was actually very gracious, in a Vito Corleone way. The kid lasted two days in a public school. I was a little scared to start my car for a few weeks but it all worked out.

          • Chris

            That’s intense. I haven’t experienced anything like that, though I did have a kid who was in a gang slash one of my tires last semester. He’s out of my class, but still at the school, as it was never proven that he did this.

          • ”The father was actually very gracious, in a Vito Corleone way.”

            Ruh roh!!

            You sure there wasn’t an expressed, implied, suggested, inferred, wink-winked, nod-nodded, nudge-nudged, or otherwise communicated bacio di tutti baci:

            ”Someday, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, consider this a favor”?

            • Other Bill

              He drove a ’76 gold Continental Mark IV with a vinyl top and the gold package. He wore a silk shirt, silk trousers and alligator loafers. He looked like Medici. Thinning grey hair slicked back. Bony hand encrusted with more rings than the Pope. I was just twenty-five. He must have been in his sixties. I think he was genuinely appreciative. I think he knew what a mess his kid was. It was intense but for some reason, despite the kidding, I didn’t really feel worried. Maybe he was brought up to respect teachers. I don’t know.

              By the way, the father was the wheel man when his kid stole a hamster another kid had brought in to show the class. Junior called his old man and he came to school and took it home for him. Must have told his dad a kid gave it to him or something. He’d said he was sick so I let him go to the office. He dropped by the science lab, picked up the hamster and its cage and headed to the office to call his dad. Hilarious.

              • Other Bill

                So how many times have you watched “The Godfather,” Paul? You’re impressing me.

                • FYI, the ” bacio di tutti baci” is from “The Freshman,” a decent flick and IMHO Brando’s last respectable role as Carmine Sabatini.

                  You axing me how many times? Marone; fuggeddabouddit!

                  Accessory before (and after) the fact in the hamster heist?

                  I know it was you Bill; you broke my heart, YOU BROKE MY HEART!

      • Chris teaches in California, which increases my respect for him and what he does. I come from a line of teachers, married one, and brother was one.

        Texas teachers get little pay, but more support than most.

  7. Beckie

    I don’t blame the parents for being upset at all. No one wants to hear a teacher either wants to have sex with or kill your child! The school would be right to fire them all. In my opinion anyway.

    But on a somewhat related note, I’m curious to what you Jack, and everyone else, thinks about this: https://www.yahoo.com/news/first-grade-teacher-suspended-over-014500269.html Of course, it’s called a Pro-Trump post elsewhere (it was at the end I suppose when she says “Trump all the way!”) but also points out that 5 illegal immigrants were responsible for a murder in Washington. I’ll apologize that it does lean right, but it’s the only one I found other than the Insider Edition via Yahoo one. https://www.lifezette.com/momzette/teacher-suspended-for-pro-trump-facebook-post/

    I’m not seeing that she did anything wrong. Just maybe in bad taste. Or is she not allowed her own views and opinions? It was her own Facebook page, not the schools. I know most every job out there expects employees to conduct themselves professionally. I worked at one that pretty much told us our social media was monitored and unprofessional behavior could be cause for termination. So much for personal and work lives being separate. But that’s another issue.

    In contrast, these teachers insulted and degraded their students and I think deserved their suspensions if not more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2017/02/19/these-california-teachers-mocked-students-for-skipping-school-on-immigrant-boycott-day/?utm_term=.58e4d54ff44e

    In ever bigger contrast, we have Yvette Falarca who should and could by legal means, be in jail for enticing riots (that’s still illegal right? Not that it’s seemed so since November other than to the ones involved in the inauguration day riots and found out the hard way looking at federal charges) stuck right back in her cozy position. This woman who said “she has “no regrets” about the violence and that she “believes that millions more should engage in militant leftist protest” and leads the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary aka By Any Means Necessary or BAMN and has a history of violence. If you Google search BAMN the first result is their page and the first line you see reads “TRUMP MUST GO by any mean necessary”. Lovely. Since my WOT (web of trust) sticks a big red circle next to them, I didn’t (nor want to) venture in to read anything there but further down found what was said to be testimony from an ex BAMN member that was interesting — in that scary horror story way. But I digress as I’ve moved further away from my initial question than I intended to.

    • Chris

      Every teacher has the right to express their political views on their social media. God knows I do. But the line has to stop at publicly insulting or demeaning students, or making them feel unsafe. I know for a fact I have undocumented students–any teacher who threatened to report them to ICE wouldn’t be teaching here for long. Comments about how nice and lovely it is to have students missing, for any reason, are extremely unprofessional and should never be made on a publicly viewable forum.

      The BAMN lady is an idiot. I’ve seen a video where she accuses David Horowitz of being a Holocaust denier. Horowitz is many things, including a man who has blocked me on Twitter, but he isn’t that. And shutting down a school board meeting should absolutely be a firable offense.

  8. Matthew B

    Here is a similar story of stupid school employees (in this case two administrators, who REALLY should know better.
    http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2017/01/creswell_high_school_principals_text_about_students.html

    • E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

      Amazing story from Oregon. An “email apology?” I hope the parents take this to court, if only to get these guys fired. It horrifies me that entire systems are set up not only to intimidate the students but the parents as well, and they get away with it.

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