Thursday, October 04, 2007

Moral Panic in Connecticut!

The Region 19 BOE Gazette, in its role as The Scourge of Hypocrisy and Moral Cowardice in Eastern Connecticut, has been all over the Nate "not the one from Six Feet Under" Fisher story. for the past two weeks, wherein a well-regarded ninth grade English teacher resigns under pressure after giving a female student a copy of Dan Clowes' Eightball #22.

It is very much a "There But the Grace of God go I" situation for me. My Connecticut sojourn ended when I came to Providence to become an English teacher, but I subbed and worked in the library in Coventry, CT, and if I had stayed there it would only have been a matter of time until I found myself in a similar mess. Eastern Connecticut is tricky, you've got a mix of very savvy, erudite kids (e.g., I knew one student who was a huge Legendary Pink Dots fan) and self-consciously willful provincials. In Providence, the cultural distance gives the Anglo teacher a safe buffer in this regard. A student is unlikely to tell you they like Ghost World, so one is unlikely to go to one's comic collection and pull out another work by Mr. Clowes to further encourage the reluctant reader.

If Mr. Fisher is guilty of anything, it is of second-order bad judgment. Not of doing something potentially harmful to a student, but of doing something that someone else may perceive as bad judgment. Holding teachers to the first is an administrator's job; holding someone to the second is to keep a knife at their throat every day.

1 comment:

Mr. Chase said...

Very well put. Thanks for making me think.