From the Orlando Sentinel:
"Mount Dora High School's Teacher of the Year was suspended from the classroom and reassigned pending an investigation by the Lake County School Board after controversial comments he made about same-sex unions on Facebook.
Jerry Buell, a long-time Lake County social studies teacher, said during a recent Facebook exchange that he 'almost threw up' in response to a news story about legalized same-sex marriage in New York."
I see. And what gave the school district the authority to discipline Mr. Buell ?
"School districts across Florida have recently adopted policies on how teachers should use social media. In Orange County Schools, teachers are reminded their 'private use of internet and social networking is not private' and employees should remain professional in using the communication at all times.
Lake drafted similar guidelines for teachers in January, and district officials will distribute them in the coming weeks.
'Social media is a minefield,' said Chris Patton, communications officer for Lake County schools, who helped develop the guidelines. 'People think they're free to say what they want to, but in some aspects it can come back to haunt you.'
The guidelines warn teachers if they 'feel angry or passionate about a subject, it may not be the time to share your thoughts in a post' and to 'delay posting until you are calm and clearheaded."
In other words, Jerry Buell was punished for committing a thoughtcrime.
Mr. Buell wasn't punished by the school district for making lewd comments about a co-worker or a supervisor. Mr. Buell wasn't punished for slandering someone. Mr. Buell was punished for having an opinion that was contrary to what government officials and their politicalcorrecthinkpol masters thought it should be.
Slippery slope, here we come.
See, this is different from a private sector employer disciplining an employee for doing the same thing. For example, let's say I was one of RuPaul's cyberstormtroopers and I spent my off time from my private sector job spreading hatred toward Jews at the Daily Paul under my real name. My boss would be perfectly within his rights to terminate me once he found out what I was doing since it could (and most likely would) embarrass the company, just as he would be within his rights to fire me if I was photographed at a Code Pinko rally or a Tea Party rally if he felt it would harm the company.
However, school boards are different and can't operate that way. (Especially those that accept federal funding and take their marching orders from the Department of Education like Lake County does.*) They are governmental bodies. The moment they try to censor political speech or religious speech (Buell's rant on gay marriage certainly qualifies as religious and political speech.) they are, in my opinion, violating the First Amendment. (I'm not a lawyer. I spent the last three nights at a Holiday Inn Express, but still no law degree. What a gyp.) I would even feel the same way if Mr. Buell had no morals and was a RuPaul cyberstormtrooper or a Code Pinko traitor. Free Speech is Free Speech, whether I, you, or anyone else likes it or not.
Glenn Beck is right. I don't recognize my country anymore.
God help us all.