15
   

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

 
 
firefly
 
  0  
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 11:25 pm
@roger,
Quote:
In the sense that confessing to a crime is not the same as committing it?

No, "confessing", in and of itself, doesn't constitute proof of commission of a crime.

If I tell you, on a survey, that I've smoked pot, and that I may smoke it once a week, is that revelation going to get me arrested?
firefly
 
  0  
Reply Fri 31 May, 2013 11:30 pm
@ehBeth,
Quote:
In those cases, the parents won't need a questionnaire to find out their kid is drinking.

True. But in this school system, there apparently were parents who wanted to know about the use of drugs and alcohol by the students. Asking the students is one way to find out. Had the responses been anonymous, the answers might have been more honest.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  2  
Reply Sat 1 Jun, 2013 12:07 am
@firefly,
But this information is going to parents. A confession is about equal to a conviction.

Rockhead
 
  2  
Reply Sat 1 Jun, 2013 12:14 am
@firefly,
"If I tell you, on a survey, that I've smoked pot, and that I may smoke it once a week, is that revelation going to get me arrested? "

if the survey is part of your job or a court is involved, you will likely be required to undergo treatment or lose your privileges...
0 Replies
 
firefly
 
  0  
Reply Sat 1 Jun, 2013 08:53 am
@roger,
Quote:
But this information is going to parents. A confession is about equal to a conviction.

If that were the case, then this teacher was suggesting to his students that they conceal information from their parents "by taking the 5th"--and I don't think that's an appropriate message to be sending either. The issue with the survey wasn't to find out whether the students were doing something illegal, so that criminal sanctions could be imposed, it was to find out whether they were using substances which could be harmful to them, damaging to them, create problems for them, or whether they were having emotional difficulties of some sort. And those are things that parents, and school personnel can help a student deal with--if they know about them. I don't think the teacher was right in trying to suggest to the students that they should be more secretive and mistrustful on a school survey that was intended to indicate problems that students might need help with.

Were the results of each student's questionnaire going to that student's parents? That wouldn't make much sense to me if they were trying to elicit honest answers.

From the scant amount of info in the news article, I don't think we really know how they were going to use the data, or who, if anyone, outside of the school system would even have access to it. And we don't even know exactly how the results would be collated, We don't even know the questions asked on this survey.

So I think the only thing we can really address is how this teacher acted and the message he sent to the students by mentioning the 5th Amendment. He clearly was suggesting to his students that they might get in trouble, or be harmed, if they were honest in their answers. It was a covert message that they shouldn't trust the motives of the school--the same school that employs him, and a school that was apparently trying to help students by gathering data about problems they might be having. I do think the teacher behaved inappropriately. He should have refused to distribute the questionnaire if he had problems with it. He should not have put the students in the middle, he should not have generated fears and mistrust of those people a student should feel they can turn to if they are having problems or difficulties or if they are engaging in destructive behaviors.

Mame
 
  2  
Reply Sat 1 Jun, 2013 09:48 am
I think it was a stupid idea from the first. If I wanted to know if my son or daughter were drinking or doing drugs, I'd ask them and I don't see why you'd need a committee working on this intermittently over a year on this. If you suspect your child is doing these things, there are signs you can look for. This was a supreme waste of time.

As far as the teacher goes, I don't think he was saying not to trust people at all. I think he was trying to be helpful.

As far as consequences, if John said he was smoking pot and popping ecstasy, his parents likely would flip out. You think there'd be no consequences from his teachers (in their treatment of him) and his parents?? Of course there would!

I'm not saying he's right and I'm not saying he's wrong. I just took a different interpretation of why he did it.

If I were a student and asked to complete that questionnaire, I'd say No to everything. I know I'd think it was nobody's business but my parents'.

As for the suspension, I think that was inappropriate.
0 Replies
 
firefly
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Jun, 2013 10:11 am
This article has a little more info...
Quote:
Batavia school board disciplines teacher after survey flap
School board says he ‘mischaracterized’ intentions of survey
5/29/2013
By Susan Sarkauskas

The Batavia school board Tuesday disciplined high school teacher John Dryden, saying he had “mischaracterized” the intentions of teachers and administrators when he advised students they had the right not to incriminate theselves, before administering a survey about risky behavior.

Only one board member, Jon Gaspar, voted “no.” He declined to specify why he voted that way, other than to say it was due to his “feelings.”

Dryden will receive a letter of remedy, which outlines certain actions he must do or face more consequences. Superintendent Jack Barshinger declined to specify what the remedies are, asking instead that reporters request the document via Freedom of Information Act requests.

Dryden, a social studies teacher, told three of his classes that they had a Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate themselves when they took a social-emotional learning survey April 18. Some of the 34 questions asked students about their drug and alcohol use, as well as about their emotions. Their names were on the surveys, as it was intended to identify students who could use help, according to school district officials. Those whose answers raised red flags were called in to the school’s student services workers, including social workers and counselors.

Barshinger said there was no Fifth Amendment issue, for several reasons. Once students’ names were on them, he said, they would have become student records and subject to student privacy laws. And students cannot incriminate themselves because, even if the district shared the information with police, police can’t prosecute based on that, he said. They are only allowed to arrest students if they are harming other students, such as in a fight, or if the student is in possession of drugs or alcohol, Barshinger said.

Board president Cathy Dremel, speaking on behalf of the board, said Dryden “mischaracterized” the efforts of fellow teachers and administrators, some of who had worked on a committee for a year to find a survey instrument that would assess students’ risky behavior.

“The board will not support any employees giving students false impressions about those who come here every day” to work for their best interests, she said.

Dryden met with the board in closed session for at least an hour. He was not there when the board voted.

Several speakers told the school board Tuesday that rather than being disciplined, Dryden should have been praised for reminding students they have the right to not incriminate themselves.

“I thought it was too personal. I felt like if you really want to know what is going on in our heads, call us down individually to meet with a professional,” said Nick Kelly, student board member, who refused to take the survey.

“I think he was right in what he did. I think he gave them a real-life lesson,” said resident Greg Chapman.

“You really did do a well-intentioned thing; I think you could do it better,” said former student Joe Bertalmio, who had spread the word on Facebook about Dryden’s situation.

Dryden did not address the board in its public session Tuesday. In a Daily Herald article, he said that if he had seen the survey earlier, he would have asked administrators about his concerns.

“We as teachers were put in a situation where we were forced to react, Things were not communicated very well, students were apprehensive and had questions, and we couldn’t give answers,” said Scott Bayer, a social studies teacher and wrestling coach at the high school.

Several parents said they had not received notice from the district that they could choose to not have their child take the survey. The district sent the notice via email. Meg Humphrey, a biology teacher at the high school and parent of a student, said she was worried about the privacy of the information, particularly since the survey and its results are shared with the private company that sold the survey.

“I was not made aware a survey was going to be issued to my son, and basically was not given any opportunity to protect his privacy rights,” she said.
http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20130529/news/705299912/
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  3  
Reply Sat 1 Jun, 2013 10:35 am
Based on that, I place the blame squarely on the board.

The survey was a violation of their rights. It wasn't discussed with the students, teachers, or parents. The students were confused and apprehensive, and had questions. Dryden was correct in reminding them of their constitutional rights, particularly in light of the fact that not all parents were aware of the survey.
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Sat 1 Jun, 2013 10:46 am
However well intentioned the survey purveyors were or weren't (is that a money maker for the company?), it still seems to me a misuse of power by the students' adult faculty. At the least it's an invasion of privacy by those in position of authority. I disagree that Mr. Dryden was wrong to mention one's freedom to not self incriminate, whether or not this information will be shunted to others, including but likely not limited to the parents. This was a high school sociology class, not a religious confession scenario.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  2  
Reply Sat 1 Jun, 2013 10:50 am
who the Hell does this guy think he is! This was a right proper police state activity. Stand out of the way or else get run over (a lesson that has now been taught to all of his fellow teachers)
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  3  
Reply Sat 1 Jun, 2013 11:04 am
@firefly,
firefly wrote:

If that were the case, then this teacher was suggesting to his students that they conceal information from their parents "by taking the 5th"--and I don't think that's an appropriate message to be sending either.

In a discussion, any discussion, revolving around drugs the message "think about the consequences of your actions" is appropriate.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Jun, 2013 11:13 am
@DrewDad,
Quote:
In a discussion, any discussion, revolving around drugs the message "think about the consequences of your actions" is appropriate.


"what is the right thing to do according to my conscience" has to be there too. the mistake this guy made is that he is under the illusion that he is training American kids to be free people, when Americans are no longer free people and dont show much desire to be again.

OOOOPS!
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Jun, 2013 11:18 am
@firefly,
Quote:
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.


alleged good intentions do not excuse the existence of the police state.
0 Replies
 
firefly
 
  0  
Reply Sat 1 Jun, 2013 11:27 am
@Mame,
Quote:
Dryden was correct in reminding them of their constitutional rights, particularly in light of the fact that not all parents were aware of the survey.


All the teacher had to do was tell them they didn't have to answer the questions if they had concerns about them. They weren't being compelled to answer the questions, they were only being asked to voluntarily answer them, and just reminding the students of that would have been enough.

He was inappropriate in referring to the Fifth Amendment.
Quote:
The Fifth Amendment (Amendment V) to the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, protects against abuse of government authority in a legal procedure
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

This wasn't a "legal procedure"--it was simply a school survey questionnaire, and the students were free to not answer it.

By reminding them of their Fifth Amendment rights, he was implying they might incriminate themselves--that some legal action might be taken against them based on their answers, and that would not have happened. In that sense, he did misrepresent the questionnaire and the motives behind it.

This is the text of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution:
Quote:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution


I'd be worried about a social studies teacher, who teaches the Bill of Rights, and who thinks the Fifth Amendment even applied in the situation of responding to the questionnaire. He's inappropriately equating the students in his classroom with criminal suspects--and encouraging them to regard themselves in the same way. This survey had nothing to do with the students possibly being arrested, or prosecuted, for anything they admitted to on that survey, which is why it's not a Fifth Amendment issue.

I said in my initial post that this is a possible privacy issue, not a Fifth Amendment issue of self-incrimination in a criminal matter, and I still feel that way. All the teacher had to do was tell students, who had qualms about answering the questions, that they were not compelled to answer them if they felt uncomfortable about doing so because it was an invasion of their privacy.

His reference to the Fifth Amendment did mischaracterize the motives behind the survey--it implied policing and law enforcement action by the school, based on the students' answers--and that's what got him in hot water. He could have handled the situation in a much better way.

Just surveying students about their risky behaviors isn't ipso facto inappropriate, it does help a school to identify and implement necessary student services. And parents, teachers, and school personnel, all had input into this survey before it was done.





hawkeye10
 
  2  
Reply Sat 1 Jun, 2013 11:38 am
@firefly,
Quote:
This survey had nothing to do with the students possibly being arrested, or prosecuted, for anything they admitted to on that survey, which is why it's not a Fifth Amendment issue.

according to those who were giving it the intent was to separate substandard Americans from the herd for special treatment from agents of the state.

We have sure seen that done before. It often does not end well.
firefly
 
  2  
Reply Sat 1 Jun, 2013 11:41 am
@hawkeye10,
Quote:
according to those who were giving it the intent was to separate substandard Americans from the herd for special treatment from agents of the state.

Find me the direct quote from those in the school system who stated that as their intent.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Sat 1 Jun, 2013 11:52 am
@firefly,
firefly wrote:

I'd be worried about a social studies teacher, who teaches the Bill of Rights, and who thinks the Fifth Amendment even applied in the situation of responding to the questionnaire



apparently other teachers did the same thing - from the original link

Quote:
Another Batavia High School teacher, Scott Bayer, said Dryden was not alone in thinking it was important to let students know they were not obligated to answer the questions if doing so involved admitting crimes.

"Every teacher I talked to addressed students in the same way," he said. Perhaps we can expect more written warnings of improper conduct.



I think it's crazy that the school board thought the survey was appropriate in any way.
hawkeye10
 
  2  
Reply Sat 1 Jun, 2013 12:03 pm
@ehBeth,
Quote:
After picking up the survey forms from his mailbox about 10 minutes before his first class of the day, John Dryden noticed that they had students' names on them and that they asked about drinking and drug use, among other subjects. Dryden, who had just finished teaching a unit on the Bill of Rights, worried that students might feel obliged to incriminate themselves—an especially ticklish situation given the police officer stationed at the school.

http://reason.com/blog/2013/05/27/high-school-teacher-faces-discipline-for

into the mix we must consider the emerging conscious that the only major accomplishment of the relatively new procedure of stationing police in schools is to intimidate students and throw a lot more of them into the criminal "justice" system. any screenings in our schools trying to get students to self identify as criminals must be thus carefully considered. me thinks that the drive by method used here to allow parents to opt out, and the not giving teachers any heads up about how invasive this particular screen was, was most likely a deliberate attempt to get the most information possible on the kids with as little resistance as possible. this kind of non nonchalance about violating personal liberty must be resisted with vigor.
0 Replies
 
firefly
 
  0  
Reply Sat 1 Jun, 2013 12:16 pm
@ehBeth,
Quote:
apparently other teachers did the same thing - from the original link

They may simply have told the students they were not obligated to answer the questions--without inappropriately specifically mentioning the Fifth Amendment, and what that erronously implied about the school's motives, and possible law enforcement actions, relating to this survey.

If other teachers also mentioned the Fifth Amendment, but only this teacher is being reprimanded for doing so, he should complain that he is being unfairly singled out.
Quote:
I think it's crazy that the school board thought the survey was appropriate in any way.

Why is it inappropriate to survey students about their risky behaviors? How can you get the data, to determine if there is a problem, or the extent of the problem, and whether better student services are needed, if you don't ask the questions?

I'm inclined to think that they suspected a problem with certain risky student behaviors in that high school, which is why they spent a year discussing the issue, and trying to find an appropriate survey instrument that could either confirm their suspicions or allay them.

And only one member of the school board voted not to reprimand that teacher--so they generally agreed he did not handle the matter appropriately.

hawkeye10
 
  5  
Reply Sat 1 Jun, 2013 12:19 pm
@firefly,
Quote:

Why is it inappropriate to survey students about their risky behaviors? How can you get the data, to determine if there is a problem, or the extent of the problem, and whether better student services are needed, if you don't ask the questions?
that has been done for decades with anonymous surveys. this was not attempt at that, this was a drug and alcohol screening.

Quote:
And only one member of the school board voted not to reprimand that teacher--so they generally agreed he did not handle the matter appropriately.


ya, these being the same people who directed the original abuse of the students rights, we should be shocked that they are willing to also abuse resistant teachers.....even the one person on the board who refuses to vote to punish this teacher refuses to defend him, I suspect some powerful coercion is going on behind closed doors.
 

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