A teacher at Highland Springs High School
who was fired
for discussing civil liberties
with her students.
In February her biology
class was searched. There wasn't any reasonable suspicion
for doing so. They just randomly waltzed
in, and had the students empty their pockets and searched their persons.
The students were, understandably, agitated at this violation of their rights. Oh wait, we lose our consitutional rights when we enter the school door, I forgot. Armstrong talked to her students for about 15 minutes about the search, and talked about it honestly
. She didn't even begin the discussion; he students objected to the search, and some said they wanted to sue. She admitted that it appeared to be illegal, but she did not incite her students to do anything wrong, and none of them did. A few of them went to confront their administrators about the search. Is having students object to violations of their right to privacy
considered a bad thing
Armstrong also called the ACLU
to discuss the legality of the search, and later talked to administration
herself. A letter she wrote to administration included saying the search had "less to do with maintaining a safe learning environment
than it did with intimidation
." Which is all too true.
The Henrico County School Board
voted to fire her. 3 to 1. Her terminiation is based on violations of: effective use of instructional time
, responsiveness to supervision
, compliance with school and school division policies
, use of good judgement
I think it's clear that she did nothing wrong. But in any case, why don't we try comparing what she did wrong, against these violations, to other teachers.
effective use of instructional time
Now this has got to be a joke. After a search she took 15 minutes to discuss it with her students. I not only expect but hope that any class would do the same. And now think about how many times have you been in a class for 15 minutes of "ineffective instruction"? I have entire classes that are nothing but "innefective use of intructional time". In my physics class, the teacher creates the day's lesson plan during the first hour of class, while we do nothing, then teaches it in the last half hour of class. And numerous students for numerous years have complained about this teacher, and they refuse to do anything about it! Then this woman is fired for taking 15 minutes to discuss a random search conducted on her students?
This makes me sick. It's things like this that make me want to become a bitter recluse. I don't go to the high school involved, and the media has (relatively) downplayed this whole event. What can I do?