So, I would not have come across this story, but just Monday on the very first day of my summer Intro American Government class, I mentioned that politicians have basically no protection from libel/slander because it opens up a huge Pandora’s Box. We err on the side of not giving politicians this protection so that we have the benefit of as open and unlimited political discourse as possible. I demonstrated this by stating, ” I could say that Obama sexually abuses gerbils and there’s really nothing he could do about it.” Thus, a student was quite excited to bring this news story to me in class today. Now, it bothers me that this particular Social Studies teacher is clearly, hopelessly biased for Obama in front of her students and it bothers me that she was so disrespectful to her student, but it bothers me far more that she seems to have not a clue about how the 1st amendment works. Via AP:
SPENCER — A North Carolina high school teacher was suspended with pay from her job Monday following the release of a YouTube video in which she is heard yelling at a student in class and telling him it’s wrong to criticize President Barack Obama.
The 10-minute video captured the sound of the dispute, but mostly showed what appeared to be the classroom ceiling at North Rowan High School. It had close to 450,000 views on YouTube as of Monday evening and was the focus of national media attention, including talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
Rowan-Salisbury School System spokeswoman Rita Foil announced Dixon-Neely’s suspension Monday.
The Salisbury Post reported that Tonya Dixon-Neely’s social studies class was discussing Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney when the conversation turned to accusations that Romney bullied someone as a teenager. An argument followed, with some students questioning whether Obama also bullied someone in high school.
When the student tells the teacher that Obama admitted to bullying a girl in school, the teacher shouted the student down.
“Stop, no, because there is no comparison,” the teacher said. Romney, she said, is “running for president. Obama is the president.”
When the student says they’re both “just men,” the teacher argues that Romney, as a candidate for president, is not to be afforded the same respect as the president. She told the class Obama is “due the respect that every other president is due.”
“Listen, let me tell you something, you will not disrespect the president of the United States in this classroom,” she says.
The student replies that he’ll say what he wants.
“Not about him you won’t,” the teacher says.
Dixon-Neely told the student that people were arrested for saying bad things about former President George W. Bush and asked if he realized he is not supposed to slander the president. The student said being arrested for talking badly about the president would violate his right to free speech.
And here’s a shorter version of the events via a Fox News (of course):