Crossing the Line: Homophobic Speech and Public School Teachers
William Hare & John P. Portelli, eds., Philosophy of Education: Introductory Readings, 4th ed. (Edmonton: Brush Education, 2013 ) 339-357
Posted: 26 Oct 2013
Date Written: 2013
The chapter examines the legal position of a teacher who publicly disseminates homophobic ideas, specifically identifying himself as a public school teacher. The issue arose in the 2004 British Columbia case of Kempling. The individual there was a guidance counselor as well as a teacher. The authors argue that in such a case the equality and educational rights of students outweigh the speech rights of the teacher and therefore such a teacher is appropriately subject to professional discipline. The students passively implicated in such contexts are both highly impressionable and have no practical alternative to being in the school environment. Gay and lesbian students in particular will feel marginalized by such teacher expression, even when made outside the school context. Teachers on the other hand have alternatives both in terms of where they work and speak and also how they identify when they speak.
Keywords: Education, Teachers, Public schools, Homophobia, Speech, Equality Rights
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