School has grounds to fire teacher who acted in porn
December 08, 2011
THE CHARTER-SCHOOL teacher who appeared in pornographic movies that were released last year acted way outside the bounds of good judgment. The board of the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden would be justified in demanding his resignation.
English teacher Kevin Hogan was placed on administrative leave with pay by the school after a recent Fox TV report identified him as an actor in pornographic films. There are no allegations that Hogan acted inappropriately with students at the school. On the contrary, it appears he was a respected teacher with a solid record of previous employment. The issue is whether his stint as a porn actor should disqualify him from working at the school.
Acting in adult movies is not illegal. But as Hogan had to know, his X-rated acting roles, if they became public knowledge, were likely to prove harmful to the reputation of the school and distracting to the student body. There’s a reason Hogan’s contract includes a broadly worded clause allowing termination for conduct that is “incompatible with the educational principles’’ of the school. Similarly, state requirements for teacher licensure include “evidence of sound moral character.’’ The charter school appears well within its right to fire him.
Hogan deserves a chance to plead his case, and the school and state education department - which oversees teacher licensing in Massachusetts - should be free to make their own decisions about his fitness. But this was no youthful indiscretion. Hogan is a 1988 graduate of Northeastern University who secured his Massachusetts teacher’s license 10 years later. He’s old enough to understand the potential for disruption. Presumably, that’s why his acting experience isn’t listed on his resume alongside creative writing classes, research, tutorials, business writing, and coaching crew.
Hogan taught for a year at the university level. It’s a better fit. In a college environment, students would be mature enough to wrestle with the issues raised in this case about the status of teachers as role models and the nexus between off-duty conduct and the classroom. But Mystic Valley serves students in grades K-12. This is one test they didn’t need to face.
Thoughtful middle- and high-school teachers often remind their students to be careful about the kinds of images they post on Internet sites. The rule of thumb is to refrain from posting anything that might offend a college admission official or future employer. Such advice coming from Hogan, however, would be laughable.
If Hogan wants to act in films for mature audiences, that’s his business. But teaching children requires a different kind of maturity - the knowledge to know when you’ve strayed too far.
Letter sheds some light on Mystic Valley teacher's contract
December 07, 2011
By Matt Byrne, Town Correspondent, Globe Staff
The outcome of the investigation by the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School into Kevin F. Hogan, the English department chair who reportedly acted in pornographic movies last year, may turn on one paragraph in Hogan's employment contract with the school.
The three-page agreement, obtained by the Globe from Mystic Valley's attorney, John Hanify, after a public records request, lists conditions that could be cited as grounds to terminate Hogan: Noncompliance with school rules and personnel policies; dishonesty or misconduct that affects nearly anyone connected to or doing business with the charter, and a final clause that indicates a reason the school could use:
"In the event that, in its reasonable judgment, your performance or conduct is incompatible with the educational principles or policies established by the Board or the Director."
Mystic Valley has not commented on the status of the investigation or of Hogan's employment at the school. Messages to Neil C. Kinnon, chairman of the Mystic Valley board of trustees, were not returned. Kinnon is also a city councilor for Ward 6, where most school properties are located.
In referring questions to the school's attorney last week, Rick Veilleux, charter school business manager, said Hogan has obtained legal counsel, but Veilleux declined to identify Hogan's lawyer.
Hogan has been unreachable for comment since Fox 25 first reported the story Nov. 29. In a brief exchange with Hogan and a Fox reporter, Hogan declined to comment and denied knowledge of the movies.
The contract language, while vague, could be at the center of a legal confrontation if school officials dismiss Hogan and he objects.
The contract also contains passages that seem to codify the school's reluctance to discuss the matter publicly, including language that prevents Hogan, except with express permission, from writing about the school in any way for five years after he leaves.
Hogan also agreed to strict rules against affiliating himself with, doing work for, or consulting Malden Public Schools and five surrounding public districts in Everett, Medford, Melrose, Stoneham, and Wakefield.
"If you choose to breach this agreement ... you may be liable for damages to the Board," the contract said.
The contract was sent by former Mystic Valley director Joseph McCleary to Hogan's post office box in California and dated June 3. Hogan signed the contract the same date.