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View Diary: Daily Kos diarist/teacher removed from classroom by police (186 comments)

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  •  I UNRECOMMENDED this diary. (0+ / 0-)

    To explain, I read the diary, took Mr. Turner at his word, and recommended it. But after further review, Turner's own account and his own recording of his meeting with the school district's HR rep suggests a less sinister reason for his suspension:

    Turner wrote--

    Because No Child Left Alive was about education and because it contains sex, violence, and profanity (it is about a high school, after all) I published the book under my real name, William Turner, and not the name I have always used. That was so my students would not come across it when they searched my name, as many of them have done once they have learned that I write books.

    Now because I copied and pasted that Daily Kos diary on a blog called Room 210 Discussion that my students don’t even know about, I have been charged with “immoral conduct” and my firing has been recommended.

    Publishing a book under your real name prevents students from finding it? Turner uploaded a free download to the book on a class discussion site "that my students don't even know about?" Neither of these statements makes any sense.

    In his recording, Turner agreed with the HR rep that he published a link to a free download of his book to a website specifically created for his middle school students. He also agreed that he wrote the text included with the download in which he specifically encouraged students to download and read the book to be discussed in class. Finally, he agreed that the book does "contain sex" or "sexually-explicit material" (as the HR rep describes it).

    The HR rep's line of questioning made it pretty clear that encouraging middle-school students to download and read a self-authored book containing sexually explicit material, without seeking prior approval, appears to be the simple reason for Mr. Turner's suspension and possible dismissal.

    In short, Mr. Turner wasn't suspended for being a liberal or for criticizing the state of the education system. As far as I can tell, he was suspended for being, well, a dumb ass (IMHO).

    I appreciate the fact that Turner posted the tape so that we could decided for ourselves. I would encourage others to listen to it before deciding to recommend this diary.

    •  Interesting (0+ / 0-)

      You appear to have missed quite a few things. The blog in question has never been used as a classroom blog and my students have never been told about it. That is made quite clear in the audio. You also missed the part where I was cut off while trying to explain that. I have never suggested that a student download and discuss a book. I also do not believe this has anything to do with me being a liberal, but it has everything to do with the content of the book and the criticism of the system in today's education, and in particular, power-hungry administrators.

      •  No, the audio says the opposite of what you claim. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RocketJSquirrel

        At around 3:26 in the recording, you were asked:

        QUESTION: Room 210 Discussion. At the top it states that this blog is for students and former students of East(?) Middle School...That is what this blog states at the top. Correct?

        ANSWER: Yes.

        You also said in the recording that you set up the [Room 210 Discussion] blog for your students to "continue having discussions about the kinds of issues that we talked about in class. It started out real well,..."

        So when you now write that the "blog in question has never been used as a classroom blog and my students have never been told about it," you're contradicting what you stated to the lady in the audio and what is written at the top of the Room 210 Discussion blog.

        With all due respect, given what is stated on the blog itself, you can't blame school administrators for believing that you encouraged your middle school students to download, read, and discuss a book that you wrote--which "contains sex"--when you posted it to a blog that specifically states, "this blog is for students and former students of East Middle School."

      •  Biggest problem I see.... (0+ / 0-)

        Your description from when you created the blog begins:

        "This blog is designed to provide students and former students from Mr. Randy Turner's communication arts classes at ..."

        Moreover, it has a similar name to blogs you did tell students about on blogspot.  If a student visiting the blog they were told of clicked on your username, and viewed your profile, would they see your other blogs listed there?  

        And access to the 210 discussion blog is currently blocked without an invite, but was this the case at the time this was posted?  

        Moreover, if you didn't tell any students about it, how did the administration know about it?  You at least told someone about it at some point.

        I don't think by any means you should lose your job over this, but you do seem to have been guilty of some sloppiness/carelessness which could give the impression this was made available to students.  I assume these are the questions you will have to be prepared to answer, and the evidence you will have to provide to the board.  

        The other book I think you should have a pretty good case, as long as you have permission slips, and you haven't recieved funds from it.  You might be guilty of sloppiness there though if it is set up in such a way that you would recieve the funds directly.  You should be prepared there with any documentation of any accounts involved (such as with Amazon).  

        Good luck, I hope it works out.

      •  the blog.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RocketJSquirrel

        Well I was able to find the actual blog as it appeared 3/23 in the Google cache.  Pretty clear to me you weren't recommending anything to students there.  Though I guess they may try to spin "Please feel free to download the book today or tomorrow and let's start a discussion" as though it were about a student discussion.

        •  That is exactly what they are doing (0+ / 0-)

          Over and over in the charges against me, they mention that blog and say that I was using it to start a "classroom discussion."

          •  The cached version of your (0+ / 0-)

            Room 210 Discussion blog can be seen here.

            1. You said that Room 210 Discussion is not for students, yet the blog states, "This blog is designed to provide students and former students from Mr. Randy Turner's communication arts classes at East Middle School in Joplin, Mo., an opportunity to discuss issues that affect teens and society as a whole."

            2. You told the lady in the audio that the blog hasn't been used for years, yet you have two fairly recent posts to it, one dated 3/22/13 and one dated 12/16/12.

            3. You told the lady that the blog doesn't encourage students to read the book, but your 12/16/12 blog post says, "Please feel free to download the book today or tomorrow and let's start a discussion."

            4.You also told the lady in the audio that the book doesn't contain "sexually-explicit material," although given the above inconsistencies, I would tend to believe that the book does, in fact, contain sexually explicit material.

            Look, I believe that you no longer use the Room 210 Discussion blog for students, and that you haven't shared the site with current students. I believe that you never intended for students to see this post. I believe that you use several blogs for increased viewership of your writing and for search engine optimization. If true, then all of that stuff is fine. If true, then you should understand why school administrators are confused, admit that you're guilty of bad judgement for using that blog to promote your book (even if you haven't told current students about it). Show that you're contrite, and I can't help but wonder if you might get your job back.

            On the other hand, if you continue to mislead with statements like those above, then I'm afraid that you will lose all credibility with the decision-makers, despite your years of dedicated and effective service.

            The world needs great teachers, and I truly hope that you're able to stay in the classroom. But it seems to me that--recording and posting this audio and characterizing your suspension as some kind of witch hunt and you as some kind of martyr--you're digging the hole deeper.

            Whatever happens, I wish you the best of luck!

            •  Not to mention (0+ / 0-)

              that the cached version contains several examples of what appear to be items for students to read as they are followed by a series of "discussion questions, " in one case specifying that the responses should be submitted on "Microsoft Word."

              Surely that was meant for your students and not the general public?

              “I wore black because ... it's still my symbol of rebellion -- against a stagnant status quo, against our hypocritical houses of God, against people whose minds are closed to others' ideas.” -- Johnny Cash

              by RocketJSquirrel on Mon May 06, 2013 at 06:01:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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