Go Back   Matt-Hughes.com Official Forums > General Discussions > Christianity

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-19-2011, 06:45 PM
Primadawn
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Florida Teacher suspended for anti-gay marriage views posted on Facebook

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/08/19...onal-facebook/

A former “Teacher of the Year” in Mount Dora, Fla. has been suspended and could lose his job after he voiced his objection to gay marriage on his personal Facebook page.

Jerry Buell, a veteran American history teacher at Mount Dora High School, was removed from his teaching duties this week as school officials in Lake County investigate allegations that what he posted was biased towards homosexuals.

“We took the allegations seriously,” said Chris Patton, a communication officer with Lake County Schools. “All teachers are bound by a code of special ethics (and) this is a code ethics violation investigation.”

Patton said the school system received a complaint on Tuesday about something Buell had written last July when New York legalized same sex unions. On Wednesday, he was temporarily suspended from the classroom and reassigned.

Patton said Buell has taught in the school system for 22 years and has a spotless record. Last year, he was selected as the high school’s “Teacher of the Year.”

But now his job is on the line because of what some have called anti-gay and homophobic comments.

Buell told Fox News Radio that he was stunned by the accusations. “It was my own personal comment on my own personal time on my own personal computer in my own personal house, exercising what I believed as a social studies teacher to be my First Amendment rights,” he said.

The school system declined to comment on the specific Facebook messages that led to their investigation, but Buell provided Fox News Radio with a copy of the two Facebook messages that he said landed him in trouble.

The first was posted on July 25 at 5:43 p.m. as he was eating dinner and watching the evening news.

“I’m watching the news, eating dinner when the story about New York okaying same-sex unions came on and I almost threw up,” he wrote. “And now they showed two guys kissing after their announcement. If they want to call it a union, go ahead. But don’t insult a man and woman’s marriage by throwing it in the same cesspool of whatever. God will not be mocked. When did this sin become acceptable?”

Three minutes later, Buell posted another comment: “By the way, if one doesn’t like the most recently posted opinion based on biblical principles and God’s laws, then go ahead and unfriend me. I’ll miss you like I miss my kidney stone from 1994. And I will never accept it because God will never accept it. Romans chapter one.”

According to the school system, what Buell wrote on his private account was disturbing. They were especially concerned that gay students at the school might be frightened or intimidated walking into his classroom. Patton also disputed the notion that Buell’s Facebook account is private.

“He has (more than) 700 friends,” he said. “How private is that – really? Social media can be troubling if you don’t respect it and know that just because you think you are in a private realm – it’s not private.”

Buell’s attorney strongly disagreed and accused the school system of violating his First Amendment rights.

“The school district is being anti-straight, anti-First Amendment and anti-personal liberty,” said Horatio Mihet, an attorney with the Liberty Counsel. “The idea that public servants have to whole-heartedly endorse homosexual marriage is repugnant to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” Mihet told Fox News Radio.

“All he did was speak out on an issue of national importance and because his comments did not fit a particular mold, he is now being investigated and could possibly lose his job. What have we come to?”

Buell said he does not know the individual who filed the complaint, but the past week has caused his family “heartache.”

“To try and say you could lose your job over speaking about something in the venue that I did in the manner that I did is not just a knee-jerk reaction,” he said. “It’s a violent reaction to one person making a complaint.”

But Patton said the school system has an obligation to take the comments seriously. He said Buell will not be allowed back in the classroom “until we do all the interviews and do a thorough job of looking at everything – past or previous writings.”

To accomplish that, he said people have been sending the school system screenshots of Buell’s Facebook page.

“Just because you think it’s private, other people are viewing it,” Patton said, noting that the teacher’s Facebook page also contained numerous Bible passages.

Mihet said he was livid.

“These are not fringe ideas that Mr. Buell espoused on his personal Facebook page,” he told Fox News Radio. “They are mainstream textbook opposition to homosexual unions – and now he’s been deemed unfit to teach children because he opposes gay marriage? My goodness.” Buell believes the school system is trying to send a message to Christian teachers.

“There is an intimidation factor if you are a Christian or if you make a statement against it (gay marriage) you are a bigot, a homophobe, you’re a creep, you’re intolerant,” he said. “We should have the right to express our opinions and talk about things.”

But some legal experts believe that school teachers could be held to a different standard when it comes to using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

“This teacher is right on the cusp of going over the line,” said Miami attorney Justin Leto. “If he is ‘friends’ with his students on Facebook, then I think he should not be surprised by the school’s actions. However, if he has a private page and restricts student access, then he should be free to say what he wishes.”

Leto said teachers should have the right to make statements about their own personal beliefs without fear of retribution from their employer. “This assumes that the comments are not hateful, racist or malicious,” he said.

“It’s a little bit more complicated with a school teacher,” said Brad Jacob, a law professor at Regent University. “The first question you have to ask, did this context communicate that the teacher was speaking on behalf of the government?”

But what about on social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter? “School teachers generally have free speech rights, and the government may not censor the private speech on public school teachers,” he said.

However, if Buell had communicated his opinion on gay marriage in the classroom, Jacob said the teacher would have been on shaky legal ground. “If he communicated those views in the classroom, I think the state could have grounds to punish or fire him,” he said.

Reaction in Central Florida has been mixed.

Brett Winters, a former Mount Dora student, told the Orlando Sentinel he was disappointed about Buell’s comments. “This type of hateful language is dangerous not only to gay students, but also to anti-gay students,” Winters told the newspaper.

Michael Slaymaker, president of the Orlando Youth Alliance, told the newspaper that gay students might feel uncomfortable in Buell’s class.

“I would hope a teacher would be there to help them and not hurt them,” he told the Orlando Sentinel.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people have joined at least two Facebook groups calling for the school system to reinstate the popular teacher. “He’s developed a reputation as being one of the most caring teachers in the school,” Mihet said.

Buell said the most disappointing part of the investigation is that he may not be in his classroom on Monday – the first day of the school year.

“This is the place where you will receive the most respect out of any place you’ll be all day. I love my kids. I take my job very seriously.”



Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/08/19...#ixzz1VUwFq8ep
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 08-19-2011, 06:47 PM
Primadawn
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Debated on whether this should be in "politics" or "christianity" but I agree with one of those quoted in the article.

I think this is a message from the district that "free speech" doesn't extend to those with a christian viewpoint.

Disgusting.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-19-2011, 06:50 PM
NateR's Avatar
NateR NateR is offline
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 5,742
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Primadawn View Post
Debated on whether this should be in "politics" or "christianity" but I agree with one of those quoted in the article.

I think this is a message from the district that "free speech" doesn't extend to those with a christian viewpoint.

Disgusting.
I agree, being a teacher shouldn't require anyone to surrender their Constitutional rights.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-19-2011, 07:20 PM
DonnaMaria
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I agree about the free speech thing........BUT many public schools have a policy about Facebook/Twitter/Myspace usage. I know that we are warned constantly about what we put on our Facebook pages because the contents really aren't private and because the stuff on our social media pages can be used against us.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-19-2011, 08:31 PM
Primadawn
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DonnaMaria View Post
I agree about the free speech thing........BUT many public schools have a policy about Facebook/Twitter/Myspace usage. I know that we are warned constantly about what we put on our Facebook pages because the contents really aren't private and because the stuff on our social media pages can be used against us.
True, and I know that some schools even forbid their teachers from having a Facebook account. But even if it was completely public, this is nothing that someone wouldn't say in church if they were having a discussion on gay marriage--which is also a public forum--are they going to start restricting what public school teachers say in church?

Even if he's able to keep his job, those who wanted him fired will make it miserable for him. I bet he gets offers upon offers from private christian schools.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-19-2011, 08:39 PM
Crisco
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I'm not questioning his right as a human being to say these things but I don't think a public school teacher should be publically saying it they way he is saying it.


If he does infact have gay students expressing the fact that they make him sick is probably not a good thing based upon his position.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-25-2011, 10:16 PM
BamaGrits84
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

This is insane. If this post was in support of gay marriage then would we hear it if a straight student was offended? When are we going to stop letting liberal closet us? It is insane. really insane. It makes me so angry to even read this. Being a government employee doesn't mean you get censored during your personal time. How many state, local, or federal employees are having screen shots of their FB pages sent to their boss over bashing Christians? This is crap. Teachers deserve freedom to be themselves when the are off the clock. This would be like my job wanting to fire me for posting how great Hondas are my on FB (we make parts for Hyundai and Kia). Suddenly because I like Hondas I'm some threat to what? Go damage parts on purpose? That's what I liken this to.

I've had prayer request sent out over my child's schools FB page by the principal after 1 teacher grandchild became seriously ill and after a student was critically injured in a car wreck. Not one complaint and the AG for the state has kids at that school.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 08-25-2011, 11:31 PM
flo's Avatar
flo flo is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: The Great Pacific Northwest
Posts: 7,757
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crisco View Post
I'm not questioning his right as a human being to say these things but I don't think a public school teacher should be publically saying it they way he is saying it.


If he does infact have gay students expressing the fact that they make him sick is probably not a good thing based upon his position.
Good point.

I was typing that maybe it's not a good idea to express himself on such a public forum as FB but then I thought "why not?". People who believe in traditional marriage have just as much right to state their opinions as those in support of GL marriage. At least, they used to.

I think a big part of the problem here is that he said it made him sick. It would be interesting to know if the school would suspend a teacher who posted on FB or Twitter that Christians made him sick...

I kind of doubt it.
__________________
http://www.matt-hughes.com/forums/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=339&dateline=13068036  43

Rejoice ever more. 1 Thessalonians 5:16
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 08-26-2011, 03:12 PM
Crisco
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by flo View Post
Good point.

I was typing that maybe it's not a good idea to express himself on such a public forum as FB but then I thought "why not?". People who believe in traditional marriage have just as much right to state their opinions as those in support of GL marriage. At least, they used to.

I think a big part of the problem here is that he said it made him sick. It would be interesting to know if the school would suspend a teacher who posted on FB or Twitter that Christians made him sick...

I kind of doubt it.
I disagree. I absolutely believe the school would suspend a teacher who did that.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 08-26-2011, 07:48 PM
flo's Avatar
flo flo is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: The Great Pacific Northwest
Posts: 7,757
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crisco View Post
I disagree. I absolutely believe the school would suspend a teacher who did that.
I hope you're right, Crisco. I don't want to be cynical.
__________________
http://www.matt-hughes.com/forums/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=339&dateline=13068036  43

Rejoice ever more. 1 Thessalonians 5:16
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 11:46 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.