Debate Magazine

Teacher Who Informed Students of 5th Amendment Right Ordered to Curb Remarks

Posted on the 12 June 2013 by Eowyn @DrEowyn
Going against the grain...

Going against the grain…

Batavia teacher in 5th Amendment debate ordered to curb remarks

Chicago Tribune: The Batavia High School teacher at the center of a recent controversy over his recommendation to students about a school survey was warned to keep his opinions about all future district initiatives to himself or risk losing his job.

Calling his actions “inappropriate and unprofessional,” the school board officially reprimanded John Dryden, a 20-year teacher at the high school, at a recent school board meeting after dozens turned out to support him.

In its recent “notice to remedy” letter to Dryden, the board also stipulated that Dryden must now refrain from using “flippant” or sarcastic remarks, providing “legal advice,” and must not “mischaracterize” or “discredit” any district initiative.

Dryden, a social studies teacher at Batavia High School, was hailed by some as a protector of constitutional rights after he told students that the Fifth Amendment gave them the right not to fill out a school survey that asked questions about drug and alcohol use. The survey had students’ names printed on top.

Dryden served a one-day suspension without pay as punishment for the incident.

District officials said that Dryden misrepresented the survey, which they said was meant to target students in need of social or emotional help and wasn’t intended to penalize students who admitted to drug or alcohol use.

“As a result of your misconduct, it is unknown how many students who may be in need of emotional and social interventions will go without available assistance or interventions because they heeded your advice to refuse to answer, or provide false answers to survey questions,” the letter read.

Dryden stands by his original concerns. “This un-vetted survey was and is a massive invasion of privacy and students do have a Fifth Amendment right not to give to a state institution any information that might incriminate them regardless of the intentions of that institution,” he wrote in an emailed response to the board’s letter. “The administration has argued that they intended to do the right thing and that we should have simply trusted them to act responsibly with the information provided by students.”

The two sides also have differing takes on the timing. Dryden said he didn’t see the survey until a few minutes before his class and didn’t have time to take his concerns to an administrator, while district officials say they notified teachers in advance.

The board also said in the disciplinary letter that this isn’t the first time administrators have called out Dryden for remarks to students. In 2011, he received a letter of reprimand for telling a student to “put those coins away or I’m going to shove them up your [expletive].” Dryden said that while he regretted the remark, which he called unfortunate, the student did as he asked and “we all got back to business.”

He also was reprimanded in 2012 for what district officials called “hurtful” comments he made to students.

Other requirements in the letter include that when Dryden is given a directive in a meeting, he must now repeat the directive back at the end of the meeting and agree to comply.

Dryden wrote that that the new requirements are “demeaning, vague, overly broad and constructed to entrap me in a future infraction for the purpose of termination.”

Good little commies at Batavia High School.

Reason to home school.

DCG


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