Monday, September 24, 2007

Teacher Lynching In Guilford

Teaching in Connecticut is a dangerous profession. A teacher in Guilford, a Mr. Fisher, whose name was outed by people arguing his resignation and the circumstances that led to that resignation is the subject of a fiery debate.

In a comics forum called THE BEAT, in an article called Facts emerge in fired teacher/EIGHTBALL case the mother of a 9th grade English class student "explains THE FACTS":
Just so the facts are correct I will post the chain of events leading to the police getting involved and starting an investigation.

My daughter received the comic on the Friday before the long Labor Day weekend.

I discovered it Saturday and on Tuesday morning I called the school and requested to speak with someone about it. I was brushed off. Apparently, the administration felt that I was what almost everyone who doesn’t have the facts think I am, a crazy overprotective mother who has a religious or other agenda.

At this point, I spoke with family members, one of which is a police detective in another town in CT. He, and all of my family members advised me to bring the matter to the attention of the police department. I went there Tuesday morning, and they referred me to the school resource officer, who is a police officer who is stationed at the high school.

I showed the comic, and asked for advice on what I should do. He immediately brought me to see the principal, and an investigation was started through the school administration.

Without my knowledge, the police department also initiated an investigation.

In turn this led to the teacher eventually resigning.

That is the chain of events in the order in which they happened. I am not defending myself or my actions. I did what I felt necessary.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and it does not upset that some people think that I acted irrationally. Most of you, after hearing the facts, believe I acted correctly. Hindsight is 20/20, I had no knowledge of who Daniel Clowes was, or what he is written, I just took what I saw for face value, and took steps to protect my daughter.

I will never know what this teacher’s intentions were, and no one does other than himself. I hope that it was an honest mistake, an incredible irresponsible one, but trusting that everyone has good intentions isn’t realistic.

One look at the the news will tell you that there are some pretty sick individuals out there, and half of them are at some time in there lives responsible for other peoples children. One cannot assume 100% of the time people have the best interest of your children in mind.

I was pretty disappointed that the teacher resigned, because I was willing to hear what his intentions were, and would have considered them.

When we first brought this to the attention of the police and the administration, we stressed that we did not have all the facts, and quite possibly my daughter received this without the teachers knowledge, or that quite possibly, our daughter was not telling the complete truth. We asked that both the administration and the police look into this matter with the utmost scrutiny before making any judgment. Apparently, when confronted by the administration, the teacher collaborated the story that my daughter told, therefor implicating himself.

It is an unfortunate string of events that has led to this media frenzy.

I must stress to you, I am not against the genre that Daniel Clowes writes. I am not against mature reading material used in the course of teaching. I a not opposed to nudity, violence, written or depicted, when it is used as a learning tool. Novels, magizines, newspapers, movies, music, and video games all depict images of violence and mature contect and I believe they all have there place in society.

What I am against is this type of reading material given in private without the knowledge of the school board or any other person in a position of authority to a young adult who is very impressionable and who trusts that their teacher has their best interest in mind.

- Danielle
Let's see. A mom whose daughter managed to ignore her required summer reading "discovers" that her daughter was given a make-up assignment that was a graphic novel involving some unexpected and possibly uncomfortable, complex sexual allusions (just like most adult fiction that students in high school read, dramatize, and are expected to begin dealing with because they are ubiquitous in religious and cultural contexts). And if you'll excuse me for introducing an even more shocking concept - students in high school are being groomed for adulthood among other things.

Nothing about the book is particularly shocking. The stuff on television, the internet, in the social circles of teens is exponentially more sexually sophisticated than silly bunny dialog that these parents wet their pants over.

The real crime is the systematic torture of this teacher and the whisper campaign of false accusations and innuendo of perverse intentions that were perpetrated not only by the accusers but as the mother confesses, independently by the family's ingrown police connections.

Another blogger in the same comments section writes,
I am also the mother of a daughter at Guilford High School. I appreciate the teacher’s effort to encourage teens to get interested in reading by using material that would appeal to them. We don’t know the circumestances or conversations that lead to Mr. Fisher choosing this specific item to give the girl to read. We have heard that she did nto complete her summer readign assignment, so he gave her this comic book to do so. It sounds to me like she does not enjoy reading and through some conversation, Fisher may have found out she liked the movie based on another of the author’s books, so he thought this was a good tool to inspire a love of reading in her. Maybe he shold have asked her parents if it would be ok first, as it was borderline objectionable in content, but I think his motives were what great teachers are made of. I can’t believe he would lose his career over this. It’s obvious that people are afraid of the dad - he is intimidating people into submission.

So this is about small town CT intimidation, eh? It doesn't seem to be a secret.

Yet, this teacher thanks to compounded innuendo is being treated as a pervert because the content of a book he tried to get a student hooked on reading had words describing sex in it! That's right, the student who didn't do her summer readings was counseled as to what she liked in movies and interests and was handed a book.

A mom who couldn't intimidate the school found a willing police officer who could. Let's examine these statements again,
I just took what I saw for face value, and took steps to protect my daughter.

I will never know what this teacher’s intentions were, and no one does other than himself. I hope that it was an honest mistake, an incredible irresponsible one, but trusting that everyone has good intentions isn’t realistic.
Look, if you don't like a book then pick another, no? How does being upset with the content of a book suddenly become an issue of a teacher's intentions? HOW?

In my opinion, this is a malicious character assassination of the teacher. Since when does honest disagreement on curriculum issues become blood sport. Accusing anyone of sexual misconduct is this decades form of lynching - it is nothing less.

In my opinion, the FBI should investigate the behavior of the police in this incident as profoundly suspicious and I hope this teacher seeks legal remedy. His reputation is destroyed for caring that a student learns to read.

As a Board member we are eternally grateful that teachers stay late, engage students in challenging objectives, and care. The day that schools, teacher's unions, and citizens allow our teachers to be used as pinatas for every sick speculation of disgruntled interests then American public education will die. Hint: That last sentence is to remind the teacher's unions that maybe they should wake up.


Anonymous said...

I'm a student (or was a student) in Mr. Fisher's class. I want to say a few things. First, the girl in question is new to the district this year, which is why she hadn't done the summer reading. She is also rather attention-seeking (im sorry k if you are reading this) but she is not a bad person seeking to get our teacher fired... but Mr. Fisher is NOT a bad teacher either. In fact, i know (after talking to older students and based on my first impression) that he was and is a great teacher who gave a girl a book that he warned her would contain "PG-13 material," and asked her if she was ok with that. Of course she said yes.So, here's the facts:
-Mr Fisher should not have been forced into resignation based on the accusations of parents (who say they are not opposed to the reading material, and then hypocritically call the police)
-Everyone loved Mr. Fisher (including me. We all thought he was a funny, intelligent man who is not perverted)
-The girl showed her parents the book, her mom didn't "discover" it. I know. I heard her telling people.

Frank Krasicki said...

Thank you. Please encourage others to share what they know here.

I have to approve all posted comments so mark anything private if you are willing to be contacted and I will not print anything so identified but I will pass it along to people who can help Nate and who will honor your privacy.

This is tiny blog with an interesting reader list. The honest observations of fact you and others bring here will not fall on deaf ears.

You can also contact me directly using my last name followed by

Anonymous said...

From my understanding the book was a graphic novel, the controvery isn't that the book described sexual encounters, it depicted them, things such as a man masterbating as a peeping tom. Now what is concerning is that this book was not on the reading list of the school, there was no reason for the teacher to choose a graphic novel which shows nudity. You should also know that the student went through hell after words, things such as a facebook group which as now been removed that had, for example a youtube video (which also as been removed) saying things such as "Don't hesitate to kill the snitch" with a picture of the student in question. Also the teacher was not fired, he chose to resign rather than defend himself and go through the investigation. By the way i'd like to point out you cam off as a complete Jackass in your blog