First, some things that shouldn't need to be said but nevertheless will be said:
- Rape is bad.
- Teachers who rape students are evil.
- Teachers who support teachers who rape students are also pretty darn reprehensible.
On the one side, there are those calling for Neal Erickson's supporters on staff to be fired.
On the other hand, there's me. I personally don't think it's right to fire someone from their job because they express a certain viewpoint, popular or unpopular. Despite how morally dysfunctional Erickson's supporters may be, they are private citizens who voiced their opinions on a public case. They weren't serving in any official capacity as representatives of the school district or its board.
It's also important to think how your opinion might change in this case if you agreed with the minority position. What if teachers were speaking out for life in front of an abortion clinic or marching in a parade as members of their local Tea Party group? Should the school district really have the authority to fire these teachers if liberal parents complain? Simply, our rights to free speech should remain separate from the whims of public opinion.
But these teachers are clearly not good influences for our kids!!
Oh, I wholeheartedly agree with you. I am no more a fan of Erickson's "supportive" colleagues than all the other conservatives out there calling for their dismissal. But when you boil it down, these teachers' speech rights aren't the problem here -- the real problem lies in our education system.
To me (and many other conservatives), it seems logical that parents' objections over teachers with questionable morals should be heard. But as our educational system currently stands, these parents will get no recourse unless the administration fires its teachers. This removes the power of parents to effect changes in their local school community. Instead of being guided by the individual community's standards, the public school monopoly on education insulates policy from public opinion.
Instead of placing limits on free speech for the teachers in this case, the conservative community should rally around education reform. Give the parents of Rose City the power to decide what's best for their children. If they think these teachers are not suited to educate their children, they should have the freedom to send their kids somewhere else. Don't fire the teachers because of their opinions; fire them because half of the school's student population was going to leave if they kept their jobs.
Wake up, conservatives: If there was ever a case to be made for school choice, charter schools, etc., the story of Rose City should be it.