OAKLAND, Calif. – Parents in Oakland are reportedly outraged because the Roman Catholic diocese is asking teachers to sign a morality agreement before returning to work in church schools next fall.
Those parents must be out of their minds. With everything that’s been going on in all types of K-12 schools in recent years, a dose of morality is definitely a good idea.
Every day we read about teachers – including many women – sexually molesting students in schools throughout the U.S.
And it doesn’t always happen at school. Just today we read about one teacher being arrested for possession of child pornography, and another busted for arranging sex over the Internet with an underage child.
Just about every week brings new reports of teachers physically abusing and humiliating students, particularly those with special needs who are most vulnerable and least able to communicate.
In recent months we’ve heard about teachers assigning books with pornographic chapters to middle school students. We heard of a teacher who left school grounds with two students and provided them with alcohol. We heard of a teacher who gave a student a very suggestive lap dance for his birthday, in front of other students.
We’ve heard of several states where hundreds of teachers are suspected of cheating for their students on state tests, to make it seem like they’ve learned more than what they have.
And of course we have thousands of teachers across the nation openly abusing their positions by bringing their personal political philosophies into the classroom (usually socialism) and convincing naïve youngsters that they are absolutely correct.
And in just about every instance of teacher misconduct (at least in public schools), the teachers unions are there to protect the guilty.
Just yesterday there was a story in the Huffington Post about a teacher caught on video pushing children off their skateboards and claimed God told him to do it. He was reinstated by his school district to a job where he supposedly will have no contact with children – at least for now.
Of course there are hundreds of thousands of great teachers out there who set terrific examples for kids. But there is a significant percentage that don’t.
One could argue that many of today’s teachers are simply living by today’s morals – or lack thereof. That’s absolutely correct, and completely unacceptable.
People who work with children need to be a cut above, and parents and schools should demand as much. These people are hired to do more than just teach reading, writing and arithmetic. They are rightfully expected to set a positive example for students, in school and in their personal lives.
There’s no doubt that being a teacher is hard work. It takes a great deal of patience, dedication and self-discipline. Teachers are teachers 24 hours a day, seven days per week. They are public figures whose conduct, on and off the job, reflects directly on the school. They are role models whose behavior will be copied by innocent students who assume they are right about everything.
Yet in Oakland, teachers and parents are in an uproar because instructors who work in the area’s Catholic schools are being asked to sign a morality clause, according to NBCBayArea.com.
The simple text calls for teachers “to model and promote behavior in conformity with the teachings of the Roman Catholic faith in matters of faith and morality … and to do nothing that tends to bring discredit to the school or to the Diocese of Oakland.”
The diocese has more than 1,200 teachers, and all but five agreed to sign the document, according to the news report.
Kathleen Purcell, a teacher who refused to sign, said “People’s private lives have no place in an employment contract.”
Perhaps that’s the case if you work in a factory, Ms. Purcell. But you are dead wrong if you work on a daily basis with children.
Many parents also expressed outrage.
“It just makes me so sad that good teachers will choose to leave,” parent Annette Tumolo said.
If anything, these parents should be happy that their schools are still free to impose a moral code on teachers. That type of demand would never fly in public schools these days. The unions would have it struck down by some politically-friendly judge before any teacher had a chance to sign the document.
It’s a privilege to teach in any school, public or private. If there are teachers who can’t live up to the moral demands of the position, they should go sell shoes.