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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Did Mount Dora teacher really win in getting his job back?

30

August

It seemed only appropriate to many that Mount Dora High teacher Jerry Buell got his job back after the Lake County school district punished him for his personal Facebook comments on gay marriage.

But Time columnist Tim Padgett wonders whether Buell is a victor in the freedom of speech battle, or a loser in that his effort raised to new levels the ire of those who seek more understanding.

"Some may argue that by investigating Buell and removing him from class those few days, school officials simply made him a free-speech martyr for hatemongers. But they also made an example of him by responding to his antigay outburst the same way they would have if he'd denigrated blacks or women.

As a result, they've done a lot in their pocket of Florida, if not the rest of the country, to make homophobia, not homosexuality, the sin that's unacceptable — even when its purveyors try to justify it as religious belief, and even when they try to soften it, as Buell has so often done in recent weeks, by claiming that while they hate homosexuality, they love homosexuals as God's children."

Read his full piece. Then discuss whether you think a teacher who publicly espouses such views damages his credibility, or demonstrates the value of varying opinions and the right to have and speak them.

[Last modified: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 1:25pm]

    

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