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Personal privacy and expression vs Public Status

By Mickster269 ·
I blame Maxwell for this post.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/06/16/naked.teacher.ap/index.html

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13305345/

Basically, she lost her job as an art teacher because her companion posted pictures on flickr.com where she wasn't wearing a shirt.

Her companion is an artist, and they were artistic pics. But her School board feels that she should be fired for it.

I don't think this is fair at all. I feel that what a person does in thier private life should have no bearing on thier work , unless it directly affects and influences thier work. She was a fine teacher, and had recieved positive job reviews and awards.

But now that she dared showed a naked breast on a website, she's going to get fired. I never saw the pictures, but by all accounts there was nothing pornographic about it.

I really have a problem about this. personally don't think teachers should be role models. they perform a duty, a task. They teach students information. They inform students. They further student's learning in certain areas. They perform a function, just like policemen, fry cooks, telephone repair people. They are not in the education system to teach morals.

Morals come from Mom and Dad (or extended family, caregivers, etc). Morals come from religious faith, if neccessary.

I don't want MY son to learn morals from anyone other than his mother or myself. I don't want him to learn them from the street, from friends, from media, from schools, or from some Joe Public.

If they are going to nail a teacher to some higher moral standard as a "Public Figure", then they need to examine every single elected official, every single policeman, fireman, newscaster, and anyone else that has a "public" personna.

And, when it gets down to the crux of the matter... bloody ****. She was not wearing a shirt. Good Grief. It's not like she is the only person in the world that takes her shirt off. Now, if she was shooting a person, robbing a store, participating in a dog fight... I might be swayed else wise. But is the Austin School board saying that no public person should ever be naked???

I hope that Austin takes notice of how many people think that they are out of line, that think her actions are being held to a rediculous standard, and just how stupid they look.

(unfortunate oversite requireing edit):

I didn't make it clear that the TEACHER didn't post the pictures on a web site, but her COMPANION did. I also neglected to mention (if it has any bearing) that her companion is also female, so she is involved in a lesbian relationship (if that has any bearings on the situation).

My apologies to the first 10 respondants to this topic.

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I view it like this

by mjwx In reply to Personal privacy and expr ...

There are really two point to this argument, to which I have given a score.

One, Mickster you are absolutely correct. This is the teachers private life and the school board should not have sacked her (we are suffering a teacher shortage in Australia at the moment). +2 for freedom and privacy

Two, The photo's should never have been put up on flickr. That makes her private life some what less private. - 1 for stupidity

Still with + 1 point it's not enough to sack someone. Discipline yes, as the photos can be taken but should never have displayed in such a public location (she is a teacher and has to set an example).

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Cultural differences probably take another point off

by neilb@uk In reply to I view it like this

The Americans have much less tolerance towards public display of breasts and the moment she posted the pictures, they were public. Topless bathing in the US on "normal" beaches isn't the norm! You can also see it in the furore caused by the "accidental" display of Janet Jackson's (nippleless) breast during the Superbowl, which caused only amusement in the UK - and I suspect in Oz as well if the story even got a mention. You see the difference, also, as the word t*i*t is asterisked - tit - by the autocensor.

So the teacher racks up at least another minus point for being a bad teacher inasmuch as she was so out of touch with how her community would react! When in Rome...

Another thought. Did she think to ask, first - "Hey guys! I'm an artist - can I do this and keep my job?". Oh, well, another point off for stupidity or arrogance or whatever it was.

I have her on -1 using American scoring.

Using my own scoring system, though, I can't see what the fuss is about. Nobody is hurt by this woman's actions.

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A teacher is supposed to set an example

by mjwx In reply to Cultural differences prob ...

but youre right also, far to hypersensitive.

In AU, we will censor the word t-i-t but a bare breast will only earn you an M rating on TV.

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Ontario Law

by JamesRL In reply to Cultural differences prob ...

says its perfectly legal for a woman to walk around topless. There was a case in the 80s, where a woman protested that it was sexist that men could be topless in public and she couldn't. She won.

But the issue at hand is whether the board has a right to intrude. From a legal perspective the board cannot prove "mens rea" which is intent - as she didn't post them, she can't be violating her contract, no matter what it says.

She may be naive, but she isn't guilty.

James

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The deciding line should be 'Is it legal in Texas'

by Deadly Ernest In reply to Personal privacy and expr ...

If her actions would've resulted in the Texas courts laying criminal charges then go ahead and sack her, if not the board members have a ****** blockage caused by their cranium. According to the article, she's a bloody arts teacher and is practicing what she teachers and what she was taught by that some bloody school system a generation or so back.

In short the school board are hypocrits and a bunch of idiotic wan***s.

Sure it might have been smart to check out how stupid the board was before she did this, but there is nothing in the job description of a teacher that they are to have or set higher moral standards.

If the board make this stick on the standards claim then they better be going around Texas and sacking every bloody teacher that goes into a bar or a gambling joint or a strip joint - gee those ones are showing the kids how to drink and gamble. Oh, lets not forget about sacking those frightful teachers that smoke, shs, dare I say it, tobacco.

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Point of order, Mr. Chairman.

by gadgetgirl In reply to Personal privacy and expr ...

(I blame Max, too, btw!)

Here in the UK, it is not just dependant upon terms and conditions of contract, morals etc. it is also down to the applicable Code(s) of Conduct for the given profession. If the teachers' code was found to state that she could not pose nude, then she shouldn't have. Simple as.

I've actually had to apply this one in my current job. The nursing profession over here is a stickler, and adhere (like superglue) to many of the medical codes of conduct, not just the nursing ones. Subsequent to an investigation I had to perform, whilst the disciplinary process was grinding away within the hospital, the nurse in question was summoned before the local board of the RCN to answer questions on bringing the nursing profession into disrepute.

Long story short, she had posted herself onto a shared porno website, therefore had contravened around three professional codes of conduct.

This resulted in her dismissal from her post within the hospital, and consequently after further investigations by the RCN, her nursing registration was removed.

(and yes, I do get some doozies....have another one on the go at the moment, which is why I'm "intermittent" these days)

Yes, ok, it's an extreme example, but I can (sorta) see where the school board is coming from insofar as they have to keep the teaching profession professional, if you see what I mean.

Also, bear in mind, that what is "Art" to one person may be considered "porn" by another. It's one of those personally definable things. By keeping the levels high, they're covering all points at the same time (unintended DE there!)

Oh, well, back to this one now......... ok, define a Class A drug......

GG

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GG it is one thing where there is a set code

by Deadly Ernest In reply to Point of order, Mr. Chair ...

of condutc that one reads and agrees to before starting employment - I have worked in Australian that have similar codes. It is another where there is NO set code and you get hit by someone else's qhalitative statement of 'high moral standards'. Which is the case here - she violated no set or printed rules of the local or state school boards.

I've read a few of the reports, the woman is an art teacher, highly regarded as one of the best teachers in the school. She was taught art in that very same school system, and nudity is part of the art world. The photos were of her topless and were very artistic, she did not give permission for them to be publicly posted. They were posted for some weeks before they were brought to the attention of the school board by a teacher whom she was in conflict with over the use of some school resources. This is more a case of political in-house fighting using any straw to get at someone.

If the school board is totally justified in there approach then no teacher any where in their jurisdication can even THINK about taking a holiday on a topless beach anywhere in the world and heaven forbid about using a camera at home with their significant other.

She is in breach of rules that they thought up to win a fight over the use of resources. And even if that was not the case they are stepping way out of line to invade her private life. If being topless is immoral (as they say) then what about the teachers who smoke, drink or gamble - sheeet go back 70 years and thsoe WERE the rules that applied to teachers, but then they got paid more than the school administartors and more than most politicians - not anymore. Teaching is no longer a very high paid profession, so they have no case to insist on outrageously high standards that are well above the social norms.

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I think the others have said

by j.lupo In reply to Personal privacy and expr ...

pretty much what is generally the rule. Our personal opinion's aside, the culture and political factors occuring where the incident took place really are at fault.

I think what someone does on there own, in privacy, is there business so long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. However, when they choose for whatever reason to make it public, then public pressure will influence the outcome of making it public. We are a society and regardless of individual beliefs, as a society, the group will bring pressure to conform to the groups standards.

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This is a touchy one

by Tig2 In reply to Personal privacy and expr ...

I have worked in the school system. One of the first things you learn if you want to continue in that employment is what you CAN'T say and do. For instance, you can't wish someone a Merry Christmas, you can't have a conversation with a student about sex, morality, religion, or home life, you had better not have those kinds of conversations with another teacher, and what ever you do- DON'T HUG OR TOUCH IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM A STUDENT OR ANOTHER TEACHER! All of those things and many more will result in dismissal or denial of tenure. And frankly, I can't imagine that there is a single teacher out there that doesn't know the rules- whether they are written down or not (many of them aren't)

The problem is that "freedom" is a whole lot less free than we would like to think. Every day, someone is offended by something and it becomes something we can no longer do.

Teachers ARE to some extent role-models or at least they used to be. Because teaching effectively is dynamic, the theory is that the teacher becomes the embodiment of the subject. I was taught that interactive teaching was the most effective. I agree. I wouldn't dare try it any more- I would likely trip on one of those "never do's". Similar to nursing, it is a caring profession- but you don't dare care- you'll find yourself unemployed.

And, bad news Mick, it is beginning to show itself in other professions as well. You can be dismissed for any number of things in the corporate world as well. Even who you know can be used against you.

Don't blame Max. He is absolutely correct that by reducing individual liberty, such as this is going to occur. I will be interested to see if he posts to this as I would be interested in hearing his views. Dawg too. Unfortunately, I have noticed that when Max points out that situations like this should not be legislated, that personal responsibility is the correct path, that government should be seen (evidence that they are doing the right things) and not heard (self aggrandising garbage designed soley for the purpose of re-electing the fat-a$$es that exist to drain the system for their own greed), he gets shouted down by any number of people.

Is this situation wrong? Yes. The correct follow-up uestion is, "What can we do to reverse this trend?"

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I agree with you

by Mr.Wiz In reply to Personal privacy and expr ...

Sounds like the Austin school board should look into their own closets for skeletons. Its not like she took her shirt off in class or anything. Many classical styles of art used the nude. These Texans sound like a bunch of prudes and this woman is paying the price.

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