One Joke to 5th Graders Gets World’s Greatest Teacher Removed from Classroom


There are probably many “greatest” teachers out there — my sons have certainly had their share — but this guy, Rafe Esquith, sounds right erdidasyit
up there
. Like REALLY up there. Teachers from around the country flock to watch him in the classroom. He has written four books on teaching. Students and their parents love him, writes Jay Matthews in the Washington Post. Esquith earned the National Teacher of the Year award, the president’s National Medal of the Arts, was been made a member of the British Empire, got other awards from Oprah, The Dalai Lama, Disney…okay, you get it. On with the story. As Robby Soave writes in

Esquith teaches at Hobart Boulevard elementary in LA. Most of his students are low-income Korean and Hispanic kids. His numerous extracurricular activities—including field trips and Shakespeare productions—are largely funded through private donations from benefactors attracted to his excellent work. While reading a passage from Huckleberry Finn in which “the king came prancing out on all fours, naked,” Esquith remarked that if he couldn’t raise additional funds for his annual production, he supposed “the class would have to similarly perform naked.”

Uh oh! He mentioned NAKED and CLASS in the same sentence! He is clearly a pervert/predator/rapist out to make a porno film starring his own students.

Those poor things! Clearly the best — the ONLY — rational response is to get that teacher far, far away from them before anything even WORSE happens!

Like laughter. Or staying awake.

Whisk him away the L.A. School District did. He has not been allowed to teach since March. Because:

…a teacher who was in the room took him seriously, reported this to the principal and the principal reported it to the district. From there on, [Esquith’s attorney Ben] Meiselas said, the district has been conducting an open-ended investigation with no apparent charges and no due process for Esquith.  No child has complained. No parent has complained. The teacher who made the first report emailed him in April to say “I just want you to know that I am here for you . . . and I wish you the best resolution possible!”

Gee thanks. Why did that tool even report him? I realize I don’t have the answer, but it sure looks like he or she is so attuned to the drumbeat of “for the safety o f the children!” that s/he forgot that “safety” does not mean sanitization. It does not mean slavish political correctness and self-censoring. It does not mean treating 5th graders as if they are so exquisitely fragile that one simple sentence will hit their psyches like a sledgehammer.

We have gone beyond squeamish and sensitive to creepy, cruel and crazy when it comes to education. Esquith just announced he is suing the district. I wish him all the best. As Shakespeare himself said: “Screw the petty educrats who can’t tell the difference between a threat and a joke.” (I may be remembering it wrong.) – L.

I'm William Shakespeare and I approve of Ian Esquith.

I’m William Shakespeare and I approve of Rafe Esquith.



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66 Responses to One Joke to 5th Graders Gets World’s Greatest Teacher Removed from Classroom

  1. Monika @mumonthebrink June 24, 2015 at 7:45 am #

    Words escape me at the ludicrous situation. If this was published anywhere but here I would question that it’s real.

  2. SOA June 24, 2015 at 8:08 am #

    wow someone has no sense of humor. this is ridiculous.

  3. Dhewco June 24, 2015 at 8:40 am #

    I wonder at what in the person who reported’s life prompted them to see this as anything other than a joke. Were they abused by a teacher? Did someone they trusted molest a student and no he/she is hypervigilant? Did another teacher hurt her own kids?

  4. pentamom June 24, 2015 at 8:43 am #

    Can’t imagine what would have happened to my old seventh-grade English teacher who passed on to us the old public-speaking tip about imagining the audience naked. But that was back in the dark ages when people didn’t know pedophilia was bad — you know, around 1977 (rolls eyes.)

  5. Edward Hafner June 24, 2015 at 8:45 am #

    When the LA Unified School District allows “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” to be taught in class, is NAKED the “N-word” they remove??!!!

  6. Mrs. H. June 24, 2015 at 8:55 am #

    Sounds like the teacher who reported him didn’t like NOT being the star teacher in the room. Reminds me of my own (mercifully brief) experience in government service — the laziest employees are also the ones trying to get everyone else to do less work, so the comparison would be less glaring.

  7. Papilio June 24, 2015 at 9:11 am #

    Oh, come on! My 5th grade teacher (woman, 27) was always asking us about our relationships and who was in love with whom – as if we were supposed to be interested in that stuff at age 10-11. I would have loved a naughty joke or two in place of that yada yada.
    I don’t remember teachers making such remarks about us students though, it was more likely the other way around… 🙂

  8. Dhewco June 24, 2015 at 9:18 am #

    I think they did the public speaking-naked like in the Brady Bunch, didn’t they? I know it’s older than 1970s. I never saw the use in it, myself. I have an active imagination and could have done it, but I would have found it distracting in the worst way and not as intended.

  9. drkashik June 24, 2015 at 9:22 am #

    Two things:
    1.) This never would have been a problem if he was a she.
    2.) It’s a crappy, worthless person who will f*** you over and then act like they’re your friend.

  10. pentamom June 24, 2015 at 10:00 am #

    Dhewco, I just meant that’s when my teacher said it. And I was just being snarky about not understanding pedophilia back then — what I meant was, it’s not that people didn’t know about it back then, it’s just that people didn’t think every quip was the equivalent of pedophilia.

    I never found it helpful, either.

  11. Rick June 24, 2015 at 10:09 am #

    I wouldn’t be surprised if whoever reported him was working undercover. For whom, I don’t know. You know, you can’t set too good of an example and expect good teaching to spread and actually educate kids. No, you need profit making Common Core with industrialized test taking and useless eaters to be vaccinated to death.

  12. Renee Anne June 24, 2015 at 10:43 am #

    I can’t imagine what would have happened if someone had reported my 8th grade history teacher. He handed a roll of duct tape to two of my friends (the chattiest girls in class) and told them to hush. The implication, of course, was to tape their mouths shut. Which they did, pretty much every day for a month.

  13. Anna June 24, 2015 at 11:00 am #

    My fifth grade teacher made all kinds of jokes that would have gotten him fired today. He was always threatening students with all kinds of wild and extravagant punishments and bemoaning the loss of “the strap” as a means of discipline – but it was all a joke, as we knew. (Actually, I have to admit for the first week or two I was slightly nervous about it, but I was a timid kid. . .)

    In fact, he was one of the best teachers at that tough, low-income school. He taught there with dedication for decades, and didn’t ever seem burned out or negative about the kids he taught, as so many would have. If his off-beat sense of humor made that work for him, more power to him in my opinion.

    He was passionate about civics and used to arrange all kinds of special events and activities around real political events like elections that occurred during any given year; after a year in his class we knew all the ins and outs of our electoral system. He used dramatic story-telling to teach us about twentieth-century history, especially apartheid in his native South Africa.

    Sad to think he wouldn’t be allowed to teach today.

  14. gap.runner June 24, 2015 at 11:33 am #

    I have several teacher who would have been fired today for things that they did back in the ’70s. I had a high school history teacher who used to have the girls sit on his lap during class. A Spanish teacher used to tell the girls in Spanish that they were pretty. None of the parents every complained about them.

    In the early ’90s my husband worked in England. People on his project put their kids in the local school. The American kids learned to say that they had to go to the toilet instead of the bathroom when “nature called.” When we all returned to the States, one of the kids’ mothers got called into her son’s school because he said the word “toilet” in class, around the other children no less. Horror of horrors! The mother explained that they had been in England and that’s what people say. Then she silenced the teacher by telling her that it actually makes sense to say that you need to go to the toilet instead of the bathroom. None of us ever realized that “toilet” was a such a bad word that innocent children would be corrupted by hearing it.

  15. Havva June 24, 2015 at 11:47 am #

    Hanlon’s razor: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”
    Or as a friend used to modify it “Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by ignorance and bureaucracy, especially when working in tandem.”

    This I would say has the hallmark of the latter. The statements form Esquith’s lawyer make it pretty clear that the person who first reported Esquith is rather horrified by the process that s/he set off. And the process continues to run despite pleading by the teacher who tripped it into motion saying this is not right and needs to stop.

    The teacher who reported it probably thought the school would be reasonable, and simply expected Esquith to be pulled aside and told, hey that joke was inappropriate… we need you to explain to the children tomorrow that it was just a joke and no one should be watching them do anything naked, and how about we give them a refresher on the no’s of under the bathing suit areas.

    But in the Washington Post article you can see the complaint got passed on through layer after layer of oversight. I’ve worked in quite bureaucratic positions myself. I’ve seen how far removed decision making can be from the person who first brought a problem (engineering problems for me) to the attention of the system. I’ve been the person the engineers called in utter frustration asking why no one will listen to their problem. And had managers complain irritated that the engineers keep demanding something that their run rules say is a waste of money. A lot of misunderstanding can spring from a nebulous complaint making contact with an effort to write that complaint on a form.

    I’m betting the meaning of “inappropriate” got lost. There is, after all, a world of difference between “inappropriate joke” and “inappropriate contact” but what does the bureaucrat think when the complaint gets filed as “inappropriate behavior” and details read “mention made of students having to preform nude”. From there the process goes nuts all on its own unless someone in the right position takes the time to track it all back to the source.

    Nothing clarifies and fixes messes created in a form quite so well as taking a step out of the procedure and tracking down the primary sources involved in a complaint and having a nice in depth conversation. But it sounds like no one is listening to the primary source in this case. And from my experience that looks like all the times the meaning got lost in the process.

  16. John June 24, 2015 at 12:00 pm #

    Yes, I blame the dipshit who reported him but most of all I blame the idiotic school district for removing him from the classroom over a simple joke, as if that nullifies everything he’s ever done.

    You know, we are sooooo damn prudish nowadays here in America when it comes to kids and sex and naked etc., etc. in the same sentence. As if 5th graders have NEVER heard the F word or a joke about sex or the term “naked”, etc. As if those words and jokes are gonna scar them for life.

    I would hope there are level headed parents who will stand up for this teacher and lobby to get him back into the classroom. But then again, modern day American parents are just as loony and prudishly paranoid when it comes to their children and their children’s teachers.

  17. bob m June 24, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    I fear the teacher who made the initial report did so under a misguided understanding of mandatory reporting protocol.

    That the teacher made the report in the event that if a student did complain this teacher had covered his tracks by reporting and therefore would not get caught up in an subsequent investigation.

    This becomes nothing more than a police state environment.

    This scenario is actually scarier than if the teacher simply had a low threshold of offense.

  18. Eric S June 24, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

    Has it really gotten so bad that idiots like that rat teacher, can’t distinguish between a joke and a serious comment?? And the audacity for that teacher to reach out to Esquith, and say he’s/she’s there for him. What a moron. That’s what happens when people take action before thinking. They f other people’s lives and reputation. Go f yourself rat!

    I do hope that after all the investigation, people will come to their senses and realize that it was just a JOKE. Then give him his job back. Then re-educate other teachers about the difference between a joke and being serious.

  19. Eric S June 24, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

    @John: It’s called sanctimony. Many have this belief that their shit doesn’t stink, but everyone else’s does. And it’s their god given duty to let everyone know that. Regardless of the consequences, even if it was detrimental to children.

  20. Eric S June 24, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

    @Havva: That’s what happens when people act before thinking. Had I been the rat teacher, I would have talked to Esquith privately about it. Before ratting him out. That’s the hierarchy of reporting. Even in corporations. Discuss with the “offending” party first. If met with resistance, than take it to then next chain of command. If that doesn’t work, take it to the next level. Some people just have a misguided sense of duty. They never look at the bigger picture. Always quick to judge. And never ever think before acting. It’s obvious s/he didn’t think. Because in hindsight, s/he’s kicking him/herself in the ass. According to your post, she even pleaded for the board to reconsider. If she had been more open minded, this would not have been an issue to begin with.

  21. Dee June 24, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

    Like others, my teachers would not have passed muster! Especially my high school driver’s ed teacher who picked up a hitchhiker (and I had to share the backseat with him) and when I would arrange schedules with the teacher, he always told me I had a scintillating voice. He did make me nervous, but that being the early 80s and me not being in any “real” danger, my mom did nothing. Today, your average mom would be in the principal’s office before I finished sharing the story. It’s worth nothing I did not get my license in high school and had a car accident with my mom’s car while driving with her. He really should have been fired.

  22. SKL June 24, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

    Maybe the reporter was offended that the teacher was reading Huckleberry Finn to the class.

    Sounds crazy that the teacher who reported him is claiming to be “there for him.” There must be more to the story.

  23. Steve June 24, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

    If you didn’t read the Washington Post article about this guy, do it now !!!!!


    “The deplorable way the L.A. school district is treating the world’s most famous teacher”

  24. Andrej Jankuv June 24, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

    Now the teacher will sue and the district will waste taxpayers money for lawyers.
    My money.

  25. James Pollock June 24, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

    The problem seems to lie in equating “naked” with “sexual” as if they are irretrievably intertwined, and they are not.

  26. Reziac June 24, 2015 at 2:07 pm #

    And now political correctness (which is to say, control freakery) has come to “tasteless jokes are sufficient cause to ruin someone’s life”.

    Unfortunately this isn’t the first such situation I’ve heard of in recent times.

  27. En Passant June 24, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

    Somewhere, the ghost of Jaime Escalante is weeping and asking why children learn so readily but school administrators never learn.

  28. Jason June 24, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

    This reminds me of the guy who was making some sort of presentation to students off of a flash drive, when a picture of a naked woman suddenly appeared on the screen. He quickly yanked the drive out of the computer and ended the presentation, but he had to be investigated to see if he also had any child porn or to see if he had any unreported incidents of exhibiting harmful material to minors.

    Or when the female 8th grade math teacher in Ventura County was discovered to have been a porn starlet in her past, the media kept reporting that “none of her students were believed to have appeared in her films”. I guess if she had been stopped for speeding, taken a trip to Europe, or liked to play golf on the weekends, they’d have to assure us that she didn’t do those things with her students, either.

    Wasn’t there a Jack Black joke about picturing your students naked?

  29. BL June 24, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

    “The problem seems to lie in equating “naked” with “sexual” as if they are irretrievably intertwined, and they are not.”

    I suppose that point could be missed by people who never take a bath or shower. Which may be what we’re dealing with here.

  30. lollipoplover June 24, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

    “As if 5th graders have NEVER heard the F word or a joke about sex or the term “naked”, etc. As if those words and jokes are gonna scar them for life.”

    My husband coached soccer for years and had a wiseass kid on his team that didn’t follow directions and talked back. My husband got so sick of this disrespect and told him to do extra drills after practice for his behavior and the kid gave my husband the finger.

    After practice, he told the dad about their kid giving him the finger and the dad said “He doesn’t know what that means” and it was probably just an accident or he was scratching himself.
    My husband said he’s pretty sure he knows when someone is flipping him the bird.

  31. michael fandal June 24, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

    your campaign to overturn the mentally unfit bureaucrats so you may continue to do what you love to do and which you excell at has my full support. i had been a per diem teacher in nyc before during and after my nypd police career. i developed another career as ernest desire the clown. without giving you the whole saga, i pressed the clown squeaker in my shirt pocket to get the class quiet in a junior high school class on the upper east side of manhattan run by a principal jennifer rehn. some kids chuckled but all stopped talking which achieved my objective. i found out at a hearing for another case which was dropped by the junior high school principal 2 miles away that i was reported for inapporpriate conduct because i said it was my man boob. never happened. they were out to get me for reporting an incident 12 years earlier when i disclosed to a local paper that a kid punched me in the chest with an open hand when i requested to remove his 6′ frame from atop a girl on the desk. the principal shoved it under the rug and said the kids were just playing around and no disciplinary action would be taken. my appeal failed and the principal of the school which filed a complaint but dismissed it was on the report for the one where my 35 teaching career was essentially murdered by a principal whose name was not on the final disiposition. i wrote to hqs to inform them of the error and they said all is in order. our children in the school system are under the thumb of far too many bureaucrats who do not care about children but care only about their power and lust for it. as soon as you set up a legal fund i will happy to make a small donation. my union membership stopped as my license was revoked. my dutiful dues meant zip and the future union president waiting in the wings ignored me totally after i told him of my experience with nyc department of beheaducation

  32. Donald June 24, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

    An OCD sufferer may wash their hands 50 times and believe this still isn’t sanitized enough. The school system has developed a form of OCD. No mater how hard they try, they will never feel that it’s sanitized enough. It doesn’t matter whether they pull a teacher out of class for saying the word ‘naked’, or suspend a student for eating a pop tart into the shape of a gun!

    This case is a little too much for Dr Phil. This is OCD. In fact it’s so obvious to me that I have a hard time understanding why others don’t see it.

  33. Jenny Islander June 24, 2015 at 4:09 pm #


    Once upon a time, the Fuquerphasters and the Peas lived next door. Mr. and Mrs. Fuquerphaster and Mr. and Mrs. Pea all went bowling. When they got home, they all went over to the Peas’ house for some beers, and they caught their children naked on the couch in the Peas’ living room.

    “Johnny Fuquerphaster!” gasped his parents.

    “I’m going as fast as I can!” he gasped back.

    “Susie Pea!” her parents shouted.

    “I can’t–I’m all plugged up!” she said.

    And that was mild. Perhaps I should go on to the one about the penis in the pickle jar?

  34. Anna June 24, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

    “Maybe the reporter was offended that the teacher was reading Huckleberry Finn to the class.”

    Indeed, he must have been. If the teacher’s joke was offensive, so is the Mark Twain joke that he was riffing on. It’s hard to see how anybody could argue it’s good for kids to read literature that makes a slightly vulgar joke but bad for a teacher to bring that exact same joke to life for his students – which is all the teacher was doing.

    I wonder how anybody is allowed to teach Shakespeare. Perhaps the teacher is just obliged to carefully maintain a straight face and appear not to notice the dirty jokes? Or maybe we should just go back to the bawdlerized editions they used fifty years ago that skipped all the dirty stuff.

  35. James Pollock June 24, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

    “I wonder how anybody is allowed to teach Shakespeare.”

    In American K-12 education, students get the Bowdlerized version of Shakespeare.

  36. ebohlman June 24, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

    James Pollock: What’s worse is that given the age group involved, the only people who’d find the idea of nudity even remotely sexual would be pedophiles. Anybody else would see it as completely innocent.

  37. Rick June 24, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

    @Havva – I have to admit to not reading the whole article before commenting for lack of time. I agree with your points, but then bureaucracy can be heavily influenced by higher-ups, especially those in positions with connections to the corporate power structure to sway decisions in their direction. This, at the end of the article, is quite worrisome:

    “The questions being asked and the letters Esquith has received indicate the district is now intent on killing off some of the programs and trips that make his class so good. A district official wrote to tell him his students’ annual summer trip to Oregon for the Shakespearean Theatrical Festival must be cancelled. He was told to report his students’ contact addresses so their parents can be informed that “the trip is not authorized or sponsored by the District.””

    So, regardless of everyone seeming to back the teacher, they’re intent on killing his core projects.

  38. Diana Green June 24, 2015 at 5:29 pm #

    “The Emperor’s New Clothes” would fit the Superintendent of Schools to a “T”.

    But they may not know that children’s story there, where the word “naked” must nor be spoken and the human body is apparently an object of scorn and derision, disgusting and evil.

  39. Yocheved June 24, 2015 at 5:37 pm #

    Oh for the love of puppies. :-/

    I let my daughter read the ORIGINAL Tom Sawyer books, and we talk about *gasp* HISTORICAL CONTEXT!!! Yeah, I know, it’s a radical idea. Home schooling for the win.

  40. Yocheved June 24, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

    Gap.Runner – “The American kids learned to say that they had to go to the toilet instead of the bathroom when “nature called.”

    This made me LOL. My husband is British, and we have a heck of a time understanding each other. When I ask “Have you seen my hairbrush” and he says “It’s in the toilet” all I can think of is “EEEEEEEWWWWWW!!!!!”

    My favorite miscommunication is when he told me once that “Coffee helps keep my pecker up.” I died laughing for about 10 minutes before I could catch my breath. Once I could get off the floor, I asked him “Do you know what pecker means in America?” He had no clue. In England it means “alertness”. I told him what it meant in the US, and he was SO embarrassed. I still tease him about it every time he gets a cup of coffee.

    I can’t even imagine what would happen if someone made that mistake in grade school. :-0

  41. Anna June 24, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

    “In American K-12 education, students get the Bowdlerized version of Shakespeare.”

    Seriously? Are you sure? That’s crazy. I’m Canadian, and we read the real thing, although my parents had bowdlerized editions (in high school in the late fifties). I thought their old school editions were so quaint when I figured that out.

    My dad always said he thought you should leave that stuff in as a plum for the handful of students smart enough to decipher it.

  42. James Pollock June 24, 2015 at 5:53 pm #

    ““In American K-12 education, students get the Bowdlerized version of Shakespeare.”
    Seriously? Are you sure?”

    Yeah. Well, maybe not the official Bowdler versions, but sanitized.

  43. bsolar June 24, 2015 at 6:04 pm #

    @James Pollock: “Yeah. Well, maybe not the official Bowdler versions, but sanitized.”

    Kids that young would likely not understand most of the innuendo anyway, but they would remember and understand when older. It’s a nice feeling when you read or view a scene again and realise what you were missing. Some works are truly enjoyable by different age groups thanks to this depth.

  44. Donald June 24, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

    Why are we always on the defensive? Why not get offensive? Let’s hold a BOCD awareness day. Let’s try to get Taylor Swift to raise money to help the Bureaucrat Obsession Compulsive Disorder.
    Lenore, along with your wristbands you can also sell BOCD tee shirts. We need to do something. It won’t be long before school volunteers will need more that an FBI fingerprint check. They will need a DNA check as well.

  45. Cassie June 24, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

    As a teacher I have made some inappropriate jokes.

    I once accidently swore at a grade 9 student. It was in jest, he thought it was hilarious, but it was grossly innappropriate and I was shocked as soon as it come out of my mouth. I hate gotten caught up in the humour and forgotten where I was.

    Another time a grade 11 student was playing with his mobile phone under the desk – I said “I hope that is your mobile phone that you are playing with”. Again, it was hilarious and served its purpose – the boy put it away with a laugh, but grossly inappropriate and I should have checked that comment before it came out.

    It is so easy to enjoy the company of the students in your class. It doesn’t mean I have forgotten that they are young people, it just means that the role of a teacher has blurred boundaries. Becoming friendly with the students makes it easier to teach them, they are better at learning, but with that comes the occasional harmless dropping of the guard – because my grossly inappropriate moments were ultimately harmless, but they could have cost me my job.

  46. Rina June 24, 2015 at 6:12 pm #


  47. Donald June 24, 2015 at 6:20 pm #


    The best on that I heard about certain words mean different things in different countries was from a teacher. She is American and substitute teaching an Australian pre-shool. She taught her class a new song.

    The whole class started singing. ‘Take me out to the ball game’. However when the class got to the part, let’s root root root for the home team, other teachers heard it and the problem began. In Australia, the word ‘root’ is usually not said in mixed company. It’s slang for ‘bedroom aerobics’ and the thing Miley Cyrus acts out on stage!

  48. Michelle June 24, 2015 at 6:37 pm #

    Not only did they remove this teacher, they actually pulled students out of class and questioned them — WITHOUT PARENTAL CONSENT — to find out if they were being molested.

    IOW, they didn’t just decide that making such jokes was wrong and he should be punished for it, they literally took the joke as a sign that he might be ACTUALLY molesting children.

    There is no logic or rational thinking here.

  49. James Pollock June 24, 2015 at 6:40 pm #

    “@James Pollock: “Yeah. Well, maybe not the official Bowdler versions, but sanitized.”
    Kids that young would likely not understand most of the innuendo anyway, ”

    YMMV. I’m not so quick to dismiss the understanding of young people.

    However, most young people can’t understand what most Shakespearean characters are saying without heavy annotation. The main reason to become familiar with Shakespeare today is to be able to pick up on allusions to Shakespeare in other works… Elizabethan English is almost a foreign language.

  50. Carla June 24, 2015 at 6:44 pm #

    I remember a joke told by my 8th grade science teacher that would almost certainly get him canned today:

    Q: How do you tell boy chromosomes from girl chromosomes?
    A: You pull down their little genes!

    To 8th graders, this was the height of hilarity. but I bet it would pucker a school board’s collective rear end now.

  51. Barry Lederman June 24, 2015 at 10:09 pm #

    Every time I read a new FRK post, I say to myself, “this is the most insane thing I ever saw. there cannot be anything worse.” Somehow Lenore pulls a worse one out of her hat and amazes me further.

  52. Barry Lederman June 24, 2015 at 10:13 pm #

    One super sad aspect of this is that when teachers scale back their humor (out of fear); the ones who suffer the most are the students.

  53. Travis June 25, 2015 at 1:00 am #

    This is getting more and more ridiculous. What I don’t get is that a teacher ratted another teacher out for something so absolutely innocent, given the fact that the whole school system and the parents are already against teachers in the first place.

    Like someone already said, this is due to the thought that nakedness is intrinsically sexual when it so clearly isn’t.

    When I was in fifth grade, there was a sixth grade English teacher that threw chalk at his students. The children complained, which is what would happen if there was something wrong with a teacher, kids aren’t idiots (which seems to be something else schools appear to believe). The teacher was rightfully removed from the classroom. Removing the teacher and questioning the kids over a joke is just stupid.

  54. James Pollock June 25, 2015 at 1:38 am #

    “When I was in fifth grade, there was a sixth grade English teacher that threw chalk at his students.”

    We had one of those in my high school, except:

    He only threw chalk at the top of your head,
    only if he could see it,
    he didn’t miss, and,

    Nobody complained about it (AFAIK).

    At the vocational college I used to work at, there was a teacher who taught server administration, and one of the things he taught was “never, ever, get up and walk away from a server while you’re logged in as administrator. Take the 2 seconds to log out, or lock the console, before you walk away.”. To hammer this point home, if a student DID walk away from the computer, he’d sit down and mess with it. He’d set up a marquee screensaver that read “my administrator doesn’t believe in security”. He’d set the screen resolution to 640x480x16, and a high-contrast color scheme. He’d set the computer to a static IP address that wouldn’t route to the Internet. If students persisted in not learning the lesson, eventually he’d change the administrator password and log out, forcing the student to re-install Windows.

    In five years, ONE student complained about this, so the tampering policy was added to the syllabus. Much more typically, students would rat out the guy who got up and shot for the breakroom without locking the console, and just about everybody got in the habit of locking the console when they want to walk away from a server..

  55. hineata June 25, 2015 at 3:29 am #

    Wow! Please….what a lot of nonsense! This teacher sounds fantastic, and I have no idea why the other teacher would deem it necessary to talk to anyone about his ‘behaviour’.

    I am forever describing to my bright kids the various ways I’m going to torture or kill them if they don’t finish on time, always from the latest topic we’re studying. The kids, elementary age, find it funny. it’s meant to be. After all, where would I even find a medieval rack these days :-).

  56. hineata June 25, 2015 at 3:36 am #

    As to the toilet comment made earlier, just, what?! I’m aware Americans use the word bathroom for toilet, but didn’t realise toilet is actually considered rude. What about when your toilet isn’t in your bathroom, as is the case in NZ often? Do you call both the toilet and the actual bathroom the bathroom? And hence have 2 bathrooms? Confusing. Is the thing you sit on to go to the loo still called a toilet, or commode, or, heaven help us, a bathroom? May explain why some American homes seem to have an inordinate number of bathrooms.

    Lord love a duck! Must add toilet to my list of words never to use in class – not!

  57. James Pollock June 25, 2015 at 3:41 am #

    ” May explain why some American homes seem to have an inordinate number of bathrooms.”

    … no waiting. You don’t need a 1:1 relationship of residents to bathrooms, but you DO want more than one.

  58. hineata June 25, 2015 at 3:44 am #

    @Travis – doing the Four Yorkshiremen here, but you must be well under 40. Our teachers threw the dusters, not the chalk, hitting the intended student nine times out of ten. No one complained – gosh, our parents were as scared of the teachers as we were, LOL :-). Anyway if you were naughty you got the telling off at home too for behaving shamefully. ..better than the hiding my dad’s generation got for the same.:-).

    Shame – something that society could do with bringing back.

  59. hineata June 25, 2015 at 3:48 am #

    @James – we have one bathroom with bath and toilet contained therein. Two adults and 3 or 4 teens (depending on whether we have students staying) share it. One in the shower with curtain pulled, another can use the loo. No need for more than 1…it’s called sharing and waiting your turn.

  60. sexhysteria June 25, 2015 at 4:08 am #

    Excuses, excuses. There is mass hysteria over child sex abuse, so anything remotely resembling children and sex is a convenient excuse to act crazy. Note that a hundred years ago there was no such thing as bathing suits for children, so they all were naked on the beach. Sex perverts???

  61. Travis June 25, 2015 at 5:13 am #

    @hineata — yeah, I’m 33. And I know things were obviously more… Severe? before I was in fifth-sixth grade. But I do think it’s not right to throw something at a kid. Chalk is obviously less damaging than an eraser, but those kids still had the right to complain because there was a physical attack, in the light that there were bruises and the treacher broke one girl’s glasses. And I don’t think they all complained either.

    But, still, my point stands. Nobody was hitting these children, and the children did not complain to the school or their parents. A joke was made and another teacher took the situation well out of hand.

    Another problem is that while everyone is investigating these parents and teachers that have done nothing wrong, other children are actually being abused, and where’s the help for them? I know for a fact that my own child complained about a lot his foster homes and his social worker didn’t give him any credibility until he landed in the hospital almost dead. From what he says, he’d been to the ER more than once, but no reports were made? Where were the mandatory reporters then? Reporting a child with actual loving parents or looking into kids that heard a joke?

  62. Katie June 25, 2015 at 6:19 am #

    Yochoved- in Gilbert & Sullivan’s *Trial By Jury* (hysterically funny short opera), there’s the line “Be firm, be firm, my pecker!” referring to the heart! When I was in the opera in high school, the line was changed to “be firm, be firm, my ticker”.

  63. Dhewco June 25, 2015 at 8:21 am #

    I’m an American and I’ve never considered ‘toilet’ a rude word and no one I know does. Here in Georgia, at least, toilet is the same as a commode. It’s not rude.

  64. baby-paramedic June 25, 2015 at 9:53 am #

    The teacher accused of reporting them may not even have intentionally done so. I’ve seen investigations sparked off by someone repeating something (so in this case a funny joke).

  65. Alanna June 25, 2015 at 5:09 pm #

    I have his book and had to listen to a program about his teaching methods at a teacher’s workshop. He does seem to be a very good teacher, but it seems to me like the man does nothing else. He eats, sleeps and drinks his job, and that must make the rest of the teachers at his school look bad. Maybe the teacher who reported him did so because of that.

    I got tired just looking at his schedule.

  66. James Pollock June 25, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

    “I have his book and had to listen to a program about his teaching methods at a teacher’s workshop. He does seem to be a very good teacher, but it seems to me like the man does nothing else. He eats, sleeps and drinks his job, and that must make the rest of the teachers at his school look bad. Maybe the teacher who reported him did so because of that. ”

    My daughter was fortunate enough to have a teacher who was that dedicated (besides teaching his class, he ran fund-raising for the end-of-the-year trip… and heavily involved the students in the operations. So, for example, every play or concert, he’d be there with the videocamera, with sales of recordings of the event available for a modest contribution to the fund-raiser.)

    He also offered, free of charge, an advanced math class for 4th and 5th grade students who were ready to tackle 7th and 8th grade pre-algebra, before school.