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We're from the government and we're here to help....

 
 
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 10:54 am
John Dryden, a social studies teacher in Illinois, was reprimanded for improper conduct and docked a day's pay for reminding his students of their 5th amendment rights.

Dryden was asked by the school to administer a survey about drug and alcohol use when he noticed that the surveys were not anonymous. He reminded his students that they had a right not to incriminate themselves.

The school's reasoning?



Quote:
In this case, district teachers, social workers, guidance counselors, psychologists and others worked together for over a year to select a data-gathering instrument that could be used to determine what social or emotional issues our high school students are experiencing, and whether individual students could benefit from new or increased supportive intervention by our staff. These purposes were shared with our parents and our teachers.

The issue before the board was whether one employee has the right to mischaracterize the efforts of our teachers, counselors, social workers and others; and tell our students, in effect, that the adults are not here to help, but that they are trying to get you to "incriminate" yourselves.


What do you think of this type of survey?

Do you think the teacher deserved the reprimand?

Full story: http://reason.com/blog/2013/05/29/school-board-reprimands-teacher-for-tell
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Type: Question • Score: 15 • Views: 25,250 • Replies: 602

 
ossobuco
 
  3  
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 11:42 am
Ugh, is my reaction. Good for Mr. Dryden.
I probably wouldn't like the survey even if it were anonymous, as teachers recognized penmanship. A child's history is not their given right to know, in my opinion.
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 11:54 am
@ossobuco,
I completely agree.

I can kind of understand an anonymous survey about these things -- just to get a finger on the pulse of what is going on. Some fill in the bubble sort of thing would be okayish in my book.

It sounds like parents had been informed of the survey and it surprises me that there wasn't some kind of outcry over it before it was given. My dad would have had an absolute ****-fit if we'd been asked to fill out such a thing at school.
0 Replies
 
Debacle
 
  2  
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 11:58 am
@boomerang,
Damned tootin'! He ought to be caned, but if that's deemed over-reactive, then horsewhipped. Inculcating anarchy, he was.

Admittedly, I'm biased. I studied that Dryden when I was in school, and flunked. Of course, in those days we only had a faculty of one, the village schoolmaster. Apart from teaching the 3R's, he also acted as judge, jury and executioner.

I know things are different now; nearly as many staff members as pupils. Too many "ologists" -- anthropo's, archeo's, psycho's, socio's, etcetero's. Seems that pupils have become incidental; mere lab specimen and women, specio's.

But then, que sais-je?
engineer
 
  6  
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 12:15 pm
@boomerang,
I think the school is the one mischaracterizing what happened.

Quote:
The issue before the board was whether one employee has the right to mischaracterize the efforts of our teachers, counselors, social workers and others; and tell our students, in effect, that the adults are not here to help, but that they are trying to get you to "incriminate" yourselves.


That is not what happened according to the article. Just like parents remind their children not to put anything on the Internet that is incriminating, reminding students not to be stupid in revealing too much information is just common sense, especially if they are being asked about illegal activity.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 12:23 pm
@Debacle,
Did your Dryden make you fill out surveys regarding your experience with blasphemy and government allegiance?
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 12:27 pm
@engineer,
I think you're right!

I can't even imagine a student giving honest answers on that survey.

I wonder what it costs Illinois to have teachers, counselors, social workers and others to work on this thing for a year.....
0 Replies
 
Debacle
 
  2  
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 05:54 pm
@boomerang,
No, my Dryden was a dry as dust scribbler, sitting on a high stool with quill pen and ink pot, dashing off notes to various ladies in the quilting guild, and such like. Apart, that is, from the times I was on the stool sporting a dunce's cap.

I have no notion of his governmental allegiances, though he was certainly an adept at blasphemy.

He did produce a very readable Don Quixote.

ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 05:56 pm
@Debacle,
I've read at least a bit of your Dryden, Debachle (I'm in pronunciation training), but entirely forget the content.
Debacle
 
  2  
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 07:38 pm
@ossobuco,
If it helps, osso, the easiest pronunciation is DèBâclè, or posssibly DébÅclé.

But what's an umlaut among friends, or for that matter an accent that's acute (é) or grave (è)? Especially when I'm accustomed to answering to (and for) anything.

So let us not stand on exactitude, nor on anything else for that matter. Afterall, we're in cyberspace, where the air is raréfied and gravitÿ is at a mînïmüm.



ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 08:06 pm
@Debacle,
Debacle wrote:

If it helps, osso, the easiest pronunciation is DèBâclè, or posssibly DébÅclé.

But what's an umlaut among friends, or for that matter an accent that's acute (é) or grave (è)? Especially when I'm accustomed to answering to (and for) anything.

So let us not stand on exactitude, nor on anything else for that matter. Afterall, we're in cyberspace, where the air is raréfied and gravitÿ is at a mînïmüm.


You're right.
Somehow I never saw and then later didn't catch on to all that signifying. Just tell me if the word is bac' on or ba con'.
You can tell, can't you, that I'm a swifty in Italiano? People gather around.
Actually some did, since I dressed myself without loud colors and stopped with sneakers on the first trip. Of course, nooooooow, lots of italians wear sneakers.

Oh, but wait, back to the question, what will happen with Mr. Dryden?
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 08:19 pm
@ossobuco,
I lied, I did learn umlauts, in the dark ages. I did well in German, but that was one semester and I never studied it again. Too far from the med building with ten minute recess. I liked the whachallits, funny letters.

Anything new on the news about all this?
0 Replies
 
Debacle
 
  3  
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 09:14 pm
@ossobuco,
osso, I do seriously and consideredly suspect the majority would vote for de-BACH-ul. That's BACH as in Yohahn Sebastvig Bach who instigated the well known collection of dance tunes commonly called the Brandenburg Gaits.

Now as to the fate of Mr. Dryden (not the dust scribbler, but the one yet among the quick) I believe the second-best result would have Mr. Dryden paid the confiscated day's wage, that is, the confiscated wage, it being too late to redeem the day. The first-best result would have Mr. Dryden receive the said wages from the hand(s) of the party or parties who willfully and with malice aforethought initiated, concocted and approved the survey, AND said concocting party or parties be docked a tenure's pay, with the necessary pink slip(s) to be distributed by Mr. Dryden. And let this be a lesson: What's fairplay for the gander may turn out to be damned hard on the geese.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 09:41 pm
@Debacle,
That sounds quite merry.
0 Replies
 
firefly
 
  0  
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 10:32 pm
@engineer,
Quote:
That is not what happened according to the article. Just like parents remind their children not to put anything on the Internet that is incriminating, reminding students not to be stupid in revealing too much information is just common sense, especially if they are being asked about illegal activity.


But they weren't being asked about illegal activity--were they?

They were asked about substance use--drugs and alcohol. But drinking or using drugs by a high school student isn't illegal. Selling or supplying them with such things, or possession of a certain quantity of drugs might be illegal, but use, per se, wouldn't be.

In that sense, I do think this teacher sent an inappropriate message by bringing up the 5th Amendment. The purpose of the survey was not to have these students incriminate themselves in a criminal way, it wasn't seeking to entrap them or prosecute them for illegal activities. It really wasn't asking about illegal activities. But, by bringing up the 5th Amendment, the teacher was sending a message that those who created the survey, and who would be looking at the results--people who were also that teacher's colleagues in the school system--couldn't be trusted. I'm not sure, at all, that was a helpful message to send to his students. Why make the students unjustifiably distrustful of the school personnel? Did the teacher feel the info would be misused or the students harmed by what they revealed? If he felt that way, then he should have refused to distribute the questionnaire to them. But, handling it the way he did, I think he did deserve a reprimand.

I think there can be problems with a survey of this sort, particularly when the respondents do not have anonymity. But, if the goal is to try to identify and help those who might be having substance abuse problems, you'd want to know who they are.

I think this is more a potential invasion of privacy issue, than anything to do with the 5th Amendment. If the students were pressured into answering the questions, or were made to feel they would be subjected to negative consequences if they didn't complete it, then their privacy would be unduly invaded. Things of this nature should be completely voluntary, if done at all. And, if you want anything approximating honest answers, you have to let the students know who will be seeing the info, and how they will use it.

If the point of the survey was to identify, and then reach out to, students who might be having problems with alcohol or drugs, you aren't helping those students by suggesting they conceal that info--which is what that teacher did. The teacher should have settled whatever problems he had with this survey directly with the administration, rather than put his students in the middle, or make them unduly distrustful or suspicious of the school's motives. So I really don't think he handled this properly.

Rockhead
 
  2  
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 10:33 pm
@firefly,
drinking and drug use by a juvenile is a crime, (at least in the places I've lived) and will wind them up in trouble with the authorities.
firefly
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 10:44 pm
@Rockhead,
No, simply admitting to drinking and drug use isn't a crime.

It's a crime when you're a juvenile found to be in possession--actual physical possession..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minor_in_Possession

I wasn't clear in my previous post about what I meant. Asking these students about their alcohol and drug use wouldn't have wound up incriminating them or gotten them into legal difficulty. Their answers on a survey are not incriminating in the same way that their actual possession of drugs or alcohol might be.



roger
 
  2  
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 11:15 pm
@firefly,
In the sense that confessing to a crime is not the same as committing it?
firefly
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 11:20 pm
@Rockhead,
And alcohol use by a minor is not necessarily illegal, it is permissible in some places with parental consent or if the parent is present.

Consent of Parent or Guardian

Of the 50 states, 29 have an exception to the rule if you are in a private place (such as your home) and your parents have given you permission to drink. They are listed in the chart below. In 11 states, you may drink in public if your parent is present and says it is OK. If you are a parent or guardian, you should check to make sure what your state allows.
http://www.criminallawyer.com/learn/possession-alcohol-minor
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 11:22 pm
@firefly,
In those cases, the parents won't need a questionnaire to find out their kid is drinking.
 

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