Censorship in the Classroom? Teacher Allegedly Fired for Committing the Most Heinous Crime — Encouraging His Students to Think Critically

Credit: Warren Smith/Secret Scholar Society

Warren Smith, a high school teacher and YouTuber renowned for his channel dedicated to critical thinking has been fired.

Smith believes his dismissal is tied to his YouTube content, specifically a viral video that Elon Musk retweeted. The video showcases Smith’s commitment to critical thinking in the face of baseless accusations against “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling.

Smith’s YouTube channel, called Secret Scholar Society, which promotes critical thinking and challenges conventional narratives, has evidently ruffled some feathers at his institution.

The incident in question revolves around a classroom discussion earlier this year, during which Smith gently challenged a student who accused J.K. Rowling of being “bigoted.”

Smith’s methodical approach encouraged the student to define what constitutes a bigoted opinion without imposing his own judgments, effectively teaching the student how to think, not what to think.

“Do you still like [J.K. Rowling’s] work, despite her bigoted opinions?” the students asked.

Smith responded, “So, let’s get specific though. Let’s define bigoted opinions. What opinions are bigoted? We’re going to treat this as a thought experiment. I’m not going to say what’s right or wrong or which way to think. The whole point is to learn how to think – not what to think.”

Smith broke down the accusation, step by step, questioning the basis and validity of labeling Rowling’s views as transphobic. By the end of the discussion, it appeared the student had completely changed his stance.

Watch the incredible exchange below:

Elon Musk, recognizing the value of such an educational approach, shared the video with his millions of followers, commending the need for critical thinking skills among the youth.

Musk wrote, “Critical thinking should be the first thing taught to kids.” The post was viewed 33 million times.

However, three months after the video went viral, Smith found himself fired from his job.

“Seven days ago, I was fired from my school after four years of teaching. I recorded this the following day to share my perspective – honestly & in good faith – to move forward and put this experience behind me. I have no desire to cause complications or bring unwanted attention to the school, so I will not divulge anything beyond that,” Smith wrote on X.

“It is important to me to be able to speak truthfully and honestly about one of the most challenging periods in the story of my life, in order to move onto a new chapter. I hope all can respect one another’s privacy, freedom of speech, & treat each other with dignity – especially during such times,” he added.

In a heartfelt video statement, Smith detailed his abrupt termination, expressing his shock and dismay at how swiftly and decisively it was executed.

“It happened so quick. It happened like five minutes. There was really no conversation, so they clearly knew what they wanted to do,” he said.

He also lamented the loss of his digital assets, including a book he had been writing for two years, as well as personal and financial information stored on his school computer.

“I have devoted four years of my life to this school, and yesterday, it was like being a character in a video game and just being deleted,” he said.

His removal was allegedly due to a breach of trust—yet Smith asserts that he has never once divulged confidential information or overstepped any legal boundaries set by the school.

“The reason was, ‘We don’t trust you not to divulge information online or upload online.’ Well, I’ve never divulged anything. Dave Rubin, Dr. Drew, hours of podcasts, and not once did I ever cross any of the parameters that you laid out, that your lawyers laid out,” said Smith.

However, Smith speculated that his termination might have been precipitated by the attention his video received after Musk’s retweet.

“I understand if you disagree with me voicing opinions on YouTube or feeling like It’s easier just to get rid of that; I understand to get rid of a teacher like that. And I accept that,” said Smith.

Elon Musk commented on this new development, saying, “Critical thinking inhibits indoctrination and schools have become indoctrination centers.”

As more teachers face repercussions for fostering critical thinking and open dialogue, the future of education looks increasingly bleak. In today’s climate, encouraging people to think for themselves may just be the most radical act of all.


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