Obama Controversy Teacher to Keep Job

The teacher who shot to national infamy when a 10 minute video of her telling a student he could face criminal charges for speaking ill of President Obama went viral is to keep her job with the Rowan-Salisbury School system, reports Sarah Campbell of the Salisbury Post.

Tanya Dixon-Neely has been suspended without pay for the rest of the year, but will return next school year for retraining and a mandated monitored growth plan, said Superintendent Dr Judy Grissom. During the heated exchange she insisted that people have been prosecuted in the past for insulting President George W. Bush.

“As I have stated to our entire school system staff, I expect all teachers to be professional during class discussion and not to force their personal or political views on students, demean students, or instruct students on what to believe,” Grissom said in the release. “Teachers must create a positive instructional environment conducive to learning within the guidelines of our state curriculum.

“Ms. Dixon-Neely’s failure to meet these standards during the recorded portion of class is the basis for my disciplinary action against her.”

Ms Dixon-Neely wasn’t supposed to be in the classroom at all. She was assigned as a teacher in the district’s Alternative to Suspension program but was transferred to a regular classroom during the second semester to alleviate staging shortages. This, combined with two previous positive formal classroom observations before the May recording took place, convinced Dr Grissom that retraining was the best option, as the video was unlikely to be representative of Dixon-Neely’s usual performance.

“While I remain deeply concerned about the performance documented in the recording of Ms. Dixon-Neely’s classroom, I have concluded that she should have a chance to improve her teaching skills,” Grissom said. “Under these circumstances, suspension without pay for 10 work days and a requirement that Ms. Dixon-Neely complete a monitored growth plan is an appropriate resolution.

“Ms. Dixon-Neely also will be reassigned to her position in the Alternative to Suspension Program.”

With cellphone video footage of classroom missteps by teachers coming to light every couple of weeks, from teachers abusing special needs students to spitting on students, every teacher should now realize that the world has changed. If they lose their temper, or say something absurd, they have a chance of getting caught on camera and having the incident broadcast to millions of people online. As accountability increases, an even temperament and knowledge of their subject have never been more important skills for a teacher to possess.

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