Do teachers in public-school systems have a “special ethics” code that prevents them from publicly speaking on policy issues? Lake County Schools in Florida suspended Jerry Buell, a high-school teacher with a reportedly impeccable record for 22 years, for posting his opposition to New York’s new gay-marriage law, and will start termination proceedings against him. The case will test First Amendment rights and encroaching political correctness: Jerry Buell, a veteran American history teacher at Mount Dora High School, was removed from his teaching duties as school officials in Lake County investigate allegations that what he posted was biased towards homosexuals. “We took the allegations seriously,” said Chris Patton, a communication officer with Lake County Schools. “All teachers are bound by a code of special ethics (and) this is a code ethics violation investigation.” Patton said the school system received a complaint on Tuesday about something Buell had written last July when New York legalized same sex unions. On Wednesday, he was temporarily suspended from the classroom and reassigned.
August 21, 2011