JEFFREY SMITH has been a stickler for rules and propriety during his 19 years as a Philadelphia public-school teacher.
He wears a tie every day. He doesn’t allow food, cell phones or headphones in his class at William Penn High School. If you don’t do the work in his class, you flunk.
In fact, he was so incensed that his principal changed his flunks to passing grades last spring that he created a mini-scandal by leaking that story to the Inquirer.
Smith, a father of four, is just as I remembered him when we attended Germantown High together, where he was vice president of our senior class: straight-laced and as hip as a pocket protector.
Smith, 61, was terminated after showing his journalism class a DVD about the f-word that included scenes of graphic sex and every obscenity you can imagine.
He said his intent was to teach his students about a word they use so casually and constantly – a word he believes has coarsened the school environment – in a movie that explored the limits of the First Amendment.
He said he didn’t know the film included a 38-second sequence of a couple having sex. (He timed it later.)
But his actions were found “inexcusable” by regional superintendent Janet Samuels, who upheld the principal’s decision to fire him.
Smith admits he made a mistake in judgment.
But he believes his intentions were honorable and his years of exemplary service, with no disciplinary infractions, ought to have mitigated the punishment.
“I feel wronged,” he said.
Read about it here.
Why does he feel wronged? If my child was in that class I’d be angry too. I’d be more angry about the 38 seconds of sex than the F-bombs but teachers have to show better judgment than that. We have a TV Guardian that blocks curse words at home but it doesn’t block sex. He should have checked it out 1st.
What do you think?