Skip to main content

Davis Journal

Goodbye and good riddance to teacher’s tantrums

Sep 09, 2021 02:08PM ● By Bryan Gray

My tenure teaching high school English created a sympathy for public school teachers. Not only do they put up with a few profane blockheads in the classroom, but they must also occasionally defend themselves against silly comments from parents who understand less than the blockheads.

For instance, a parent once complained to my principal that I was encouraging students to drink alcohol. Her “proof” was that students were assigned to read a famous novel (The Great Gatsby) which depicted happy and garrulous men and women imbibing gin fizz cocktails. She didn’t want her darling young 16-year-old to know what constituted a gin fizz, so she asked that the book be banned from the classroom.  

It was also common for some parents to complain about a piece of literature containing a swear word, a request which would eliminate 90% of novels. My response to one such parent was that she couldn’t shield her young adult from such words without enrolling her in a convent. Gee, just hearing students chattering in a public school hallway would give the poor kid a cardiac arrest.

But last week, after the very first day of school, a Utah County chemistry teacher was dismissed from her job. Considering her rant in the classroom, the school made the right move.

The teacher’s “assault” captured on a cell phone camera and later posted on Facebook began with her valid concern that unvaccinated and unmasked students could easily spread COVID. She also said she feared she could contract it from students and spread it to her own family. So far, so good – and spot on!

But when met with some resistance from several students, she went off the rails. She used a swear word, the proverbial “big one,” a word more associated with a construction worker hitting his thumb with a hammer than a first-day-of-school lecture.

Then she called Donald Trump a “sexual predator” and a “moron.” Although the first allegation, according to courtroom testimony, is accurate, it has nothing to do with high school chemistry, and the second term crossed the line into pure bias and angry temperament. 

She also told students “If you do not believe in climate change, get the hell out,” and gave a similar invitation to students who didn’t support gay rights. So much for inclusion.

Then, for the main course of the afternoon rant, she told students it was perfectly fine to disobey their parents. “Most of your parents,” she said, “are dumber than you…You don’t have to believe everything your parents believe, because most likely you’re smarter than them.”

So much for professional conduct. Ditto for students feeling safe in a curriculum-based classroom where students are expected to learn the properties of mercury, not the teacher’s assessment of an ex-president’s mental capacity. 

Telling a student that their parent is a bozo creates an easy decision for a school superintendent. The woman was hired as an instructor, not a propagandist.  

I don’t know what caused the teacher’s eruption. I do know that she is not to be trusted as an educator.