Social Question

seawulf575's avatar

Is this an example of cancel culture?

Asked by seawulf575 (13329points) July 22nd, 2020
22 responses
“Great Question” (0points)

I found and article that talks about a Michigan teacher that was recently fired because he tweeted that Donald Trump is the president. The school district denies he was fired for the tweet, but they will not comment on why he was fired. He was a popular teacher, known to be apolitical and did not bring it into the classroom. So why fire him? Another article shows that other teachers not only tweeted bad things about Trump but also urged students to read anti-Trump articles and no disciplinary action was taken. Does this look like censorship or cancel culture?

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canidmajor's avatar

That teacher is the only one saying that that is why he was fired. I could not find anywhere in either article that his claims were corroborated by either the school or the school board.

The actual reason for his firing is probably protected u def a privacy clause in his contract and were they to disclose it, they would open the city up to possible suits.

filmfann's avatar

You cannot judge this without more information.
I am sure the teacher wouldn’t share other reasons why he may have been let go.

ragingloli's avatar

Or he raped a student and the school just wants to avoid a scandal.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
Caravanfan's avatar

It’s standard policy for organizations not to publish why people were fired. So I agree with @filmfann. Not enough information to tell.

chyna's avatar

Not enough info. Seems unlikely, but I wasn’t privy to their closed door discussions.
Note to self: if ever called into a closed door meeting at work, record it.

Response moderated
seawulf575's avatar

The interesting part about this article is the comments from the school superintendent

”“Walled Lake Schools advocates for social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion for all. We believe in the importance of discourse, but we will not stand for speech or actions from those that represent our District that seeks to divide or demean our staff, students, citizens.””

That sounds amazingly like they did take offense at his tweet. Now, how stating a fact can be construed as trying to divide or demean the staff, students, or citizens is beyond me.

janbb's avatar

Something is missing in the story so there’s no point in taking a stand on it.

longgone's avatar

“That sounds amazingly like they did take offense at his tweet. Now, how stating a fact can be construed as trying to divide or demean the staff, students, or citizens is beyond me.”

Unless that quote is referencing additional information we don’t have. Such as speech or actions [...] that seeks to divide or demean [...] staff, students, citizens.

Ironically, a different president might have created effective protection for employees, which could assuage fears of unlawful termination.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@seawulf575 “That sounds amazingly like they did take offense at his tweet.”

That’s a pretty far leap to make based on information presented.

jca2's avatar

I can assure you, having worked for an organization that represents employees facing disciplinary action for the past 9 years, employees will never admit to doing anything wrong unless you press them. Then when you ask specifics like “have you been late recently” or if you ask about their absences, then they may admit, yes, well I was late five times last month or something like that.

As said above, the school can’t comment or specify and we only know one side of the story so why guess.

Lightlyseared's avatar

No. That’s not an example of cancel culture.

stanleybmanly's avatar

There is ample reason to suspect this version of events as reported, particularly if this man’s union is declining to resist his termination. My guess is that there is more to this tale than is being told. In any event, with conservatives now up in arms, we will soon discover whether the accusations of injustice are in fact valid. This is just the sort of case one might expect seized upon by the ACLU. To my mind, much more upsetting than the idea of this teacher being steamrolled by his school district is the notion that anyone living might rise to the position of advanced placement instructor in American History and openly express a positive opinion of the fool. THAT is almost certainly the sort of fact the district would prefer omitted.

jca2's avatar

@stanleybmanly nailed it. If the union isn’t screaming about it, whatever the teacher did must be justified and can’t be defended.

seawulf575's avatar

Not so sure about that. The union rep that attended the meetings with him told him they seemed to be upset that his name had the school district associated with it. In other words, the union was there. But let’s be honest here: most unions are Democrat controlled. And for him to say anything that wasn’t negative about Trump would be enough for them to let him hang.

jca2's avatar

@seawulf575: I just looked at both articles you linked and I didn’t see one comment that stated “The union rep that attended the meetings with him told him they seemed to be upset that his name had the school district associated with it.” I didn’t see anything like that. It’s possible that I missed it and if so, can you please be more specific or cut and paste the comment? In both articles, I saw no comments about the union rep.

Another idea, maybe, since we only know one side of the story, as I like to tell people at work (where my full time job is representing people such as this, for the past 9 years), “we can guess until the cows come home and still be wrong.” So let’s not try to guess.

seawulf575's avatar

@jca2 I may have seen it in a different article on this. Let me see if I can find it for you.

jca2's avatar

OK I see the comment in that article, @seawulf575. I see the reasoning given by the union official. It seems logical. He has the school district in his bio. Does the bio make it look like he represents the school? I don’t know. I didn’t see it.

What I was thinking prior to seeing that detail is maybe he did the tweet while on school (work) time, which can be something to be disciplined for. Where I work, many people are on social media during the day but that still is something that you can be disciplined for, if they want to.

seawulf575's avatar

@jca2 When I was reading this, I saw a couple things that made me really wonder. First, his past performance showed he was well liked as a teacher. He did not push any particular politics on his students…he was very apolitical I believe was the statement. Then I see the statement from the Union rep. So I can assume part of the problem was that he used a school district account or somehow linked his school district to his post…such as listing it in his bio. This seems to align with what the superintendent said about how the school district cannot be associated with negative posts. Normally I wouldn’t think that termination would be the immediate reaction unless the post was particularly egregious. Considering his apparent past performance, I might see a reprimand if it was not too offensive. But then I considered what he posted. Basically all he said was that Donald Trump is the president. It is a simple fact, it was not used in any sort of negative way, it was just a statement of fact. Not as egregious as some of the other posts that were referenced in some of the stories. So I have a hard time resolving this one. I recognize we are hearing one side loud and clear and the other side is being silent, but there are enough clues to make some assumptions.

jca2's avatar

@seawulf575: I learned long ago not to make assumptions. Doing union stuff full time, as I do, there’s often more to the story. I had someone call me today who wants me to represent him next week (or needs a rep, not necessarily me). I asked him for details about what he did. He was not giving up much. I pressed him. I told him I’m not asking to bust his chops, but the questions I am asking are the same questions the attorney is going to ask, so he should think about the details and get his story straight. I told him that the attorney has already heard the other side, and is going to see if he’s being honest. Something was not quite right about his story, and it will come out next week. Same with the story about the teacher’s tweet. Something is not quite right, we’re missing something. So let’s not assume.

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