When Teachers Can’t Compartmentalize

When Teachers Can’t Compartmentalize November 2, 2012

A teacher in Irmo, South Carolina — the same town where Harrison Hopkins last year challenged the school on officially sponsored prayers during the graduation ceremony (Edit: Max Nielson, not Harrison Hopkins; got two different South Carolina cases mixed up in my head after interviewing both of them recently) — seems to have a difficult time separating her ideological views from her job.

South Carolina teacher Laurie Humphrey has been removed from the classroom for a politically charged sign placed in her classroom, WLTX reports.

The Dutch Fork High School social studies teacher in Irmo, S.C., drew complaints from parents and students after displaying a placard that reads, “The road to hell is paved with Democrats” in her government class.

Humphrey is still employed but is not currently teaching. It’s unclear whether she is still being paid as district officials investigate to “make sure the students are taken care of and that we’re fair to the teacher,” Lexington-Richland 5 schools spokesperson Mark Bounds told WLTX.

Humphrey has been an educator for 15 years, spending 11 of those teaching in the area, according to WIS. Bounds tells the station that the district takes the issue seriously and is working to prevent similar future incidents.

She used really poor judgement,” Bounds told WIS. “This teacher’s actions are clear violations of Board policy and the District’s directives… Being a teacher doesn’t take away your rights as a citizen. So, after hours on your own time we encourage teachers, we want them to be politically active, but they shouldn’t do it in a way that makes any student feel uncomfortable.”

Before anyone starts lobbing partisan bombs, this sort of thing isn’t limited to Republicans. Only a few weeks ago a teacher in Philadelphia is reported to have ordered a student to take off a Romney t-shirt and compared the shirt to a KKK member’s sheet. What I don’t understand is why these teachers don’t understand that such behavior is so clearly wrong, not to mention illegal. Teachers certainly have every right to express their political views just like everyone else does, but how can they not separate their ideology from their jobs while they’re in the classroom? It’s the same problem with the many teachers who use their position to proselytize for Christianity, like John Freshwater and innumerable others.

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