I’m torn. I want to support this teacher and her right to teach.
I believe in giving people a second chance.
I believe that decisions made twenty years ago rarely reflect the people we are today.
I believe that personal circumstances should always be considered when judging a person’s decision-making process, and in this case, circumstances were dire at the time of her indiscretion.
I believe that if this teacher’s previous indiscretion had been drug use, larceny or vandalism, she might still have her job. I believe that the decision to terminate her employment has more to do with our Puritanical views on sex than anything else.
Having said all this, I also think that this teacher would have an equally difficult time finding and keeping a job in the private sector if information regarding her past was uncovered by an employer, and I believe that a company would have every right to deny her employment on this basis.
If, for example, a friend owned a software company and discovered that one of his employees had an illicit past that could potentially alienate customers if it were ever made public, I would fully support his decision to terminate her employment.
He would have the right to choose who he employs and how long they remain employed.
Also, as much as I may believe that she has the right to teach, I fail to see how this teacher could continue teaching in a school after her past indiscretions have been so thoroughly exposed.
So I’m torn.
I think this teacher has every right to keep her job, and I also think the school district has every right to terminate her employment based upon what has happened.
These two beliefs cannot exist concurrently.
This is why I am torn.
I also worry about where a decision like this might lead to in the future.
What if a teacher writes a novel that describes a sex scene?
What if a teacher directs or appears in an R-rated film that contains a sex scene?
What is a teacher creates art that depicts sexual imagery?
Where do we draw the line on a teacher’s right to a private life and his or her ability to create?
I’m also deeply concerned that students in both 2006 and 2011 managed to uncover this teacher’s past, meaning that these students are such frequent purveyors of pornography that they managed to stumble upon an almost twenty year old film starring their teacher in two separate incidents.
That’s two different school districts in a five period.
What are the odds?
Astronomically low, I would assume, unless the viewing of pornography by teenage boys is more prevalent and more frequent than I had ever imagined.