Saturday, April 18, 2009

Inappropriate Field Trips

Sometimes I think it'd be kind of nice if those who were morons had to wear a sign letting others know that they're morons. It saves others the trouble of having to find it out through some sort of unfortunate event orchestrated by said moron. Even if that were the case, I don't think that there would be enough of the signs to go around to everyone in this story who deserves them. And there are several. Where to begin, where to begin?

I guess we could start in Dayton, Ohio where, according to WCPO-9 reports that a first year high school marketing teacher has resigned after taking four female students on a rather inappropriate field trip. To a gay male strip bar called Club Masque. Oh, yeah, and they managed to get served alcohol while they were there. (Happy Hour is from 5-7.) Um, what was that?

Holy crap! When I was in high school, I kind of remember that we went to a museum once. I definitely remember we did not go to a gay male strip club. That did not happen during my high school years. (Now that I think about things, it might be one of the very few things that didn't happen during high school. What can I say? I spent a lot of time venturing outside the confines of the institutional learning environment. Future, shmuture, it was totally worth it.)

Who does this? Well, let's start with the students. Can you blame them for getting to go to a bar? WITH their teacher? I don't think you can. There were four of them and 3 were 18 and the other one was 17. Nope. Can't blame them at all for wanting to go to a bar. Wanting to go to a gay men's strip club? That might be one worth looking into. But I suppose if they just wanted to check out some slippery young guys who weren't going to be hitting on them, a gay men's strip club is just the place for that.

Now, the teacher is a 47-year old (and definitely old enough to know better) one Lori Epperson. (I have looked all through the tubes that make up the Internets and I could not find a picture of this chick. Thanks, mainstream media. Thanks for that.) She resigned on Thursday after being placed on paid leave. (Paid leave. One of the strangest punishments of all time. "We're not making you come to work, rather, we're making you not come to work AND we're still going to pay you! I hope you've learned a lesson!" I'd say! I've learned to do things that get me paid leave more often! How cool is that?!) She fully admits that she took the students to the club and she also fully admits that, in hindsight, it was not the most brilliant move of her brand new academic career.

In a letter that she wrote to her supervisors, she explained that it was the students who had wanted to go to the bar. She wrote "...that she didn't agree with the girls wanting to go to the gay establishment, but if they were to go, she thought she should go with them." I see. That seems like an odd choice to make, being as how Epperson was supposed to be the adult in this scenario.

Oh, but I shouldn't get all judgmental on her and just assume that she's irresponsible or mentally challenged or anything like that. She took precautions before chaperoning this escapade. She wrote in her letter, "I talked with their parents to get permission which they did give. I assured them there would not be any drinking. I also made it very clear to the girls there would not be any drinking. They agreed." Oh, for cryin' out loud? Really?

Really. Good thing that you made it clear with the girls that they weren't to drink. Sure. That's going to happen. Yeah, it didn't. But there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for how the girls, one of whom was Epperson's daughter ( ::::sigh:::: ), managed to consume shots and cosmopolitans. (Were they playing 'Sex in the City'? Cosmos?) She wrote that "...the girls asked to go to a different part of the bar and when she went to look for them they had run into someone they knew...that person gave the girls shots and cosmopolitans. When she learned what happened she immediately took the teenagers home."

So, you take four students to a gay male strip club that serves alcohol because you feel if they're going to go there anyway, that you should go with them to...what? Keep them in line? Look out for them? Whichever or whatever it was, letting them roam freely about the bar was not going to accomplish your goal or whatever you call it. Because as we all know, any teenager who says that they're not going to drink alcohol when they've just been taken to a bar isn't going to drink alcohol.
As long as you're looking.

But enough about the Teacher of the Year for a moment. Can we just go back to the part about how she talked to their parents and got permission? I'm having a hard time believing that really occurred unless she was speaking strictly about herself. After all, one of the girls was her daughter! She could have had a full blown conversation with herself and gave herself permission to take her own daughter to a gay male strip club. Yeah, that's it. That counts (in her world) as "talking with their parents". Sure it does.

But at least she gets it right in her letter where she says, "I accept the consequences and believe I should not be in the environment where I make a negative impression on kids." And you are correct. You should definitely not be in that environment. And I'd like to commend her for figuring this out before she had even completed her first full year of teaching. No sense in wasting everyone's time. Get it over with and get out at the beginning. Perfect.

I've never really understood it when teacher (or just adults) want to be "friends" with their students, or with kids in general. Friendly, I get. Friends? Not so much. (Those of you who know me personally can just pipe down. I can hear you laughing from here, so knock it off!) Students, kids, they both have plenty of friends. They don't need any more friends. What they need are people who can set a decent example for them and who can be someone that they can trust if they need someone to talk to or if they need someone to not take them to a gay male strip club.

But you know, with all of the other stories that you tend to hear in the news these days, I guess I should just be thankful that she didn't have sex with any of them.

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grannyann said...

Whats with all these teachers today who are doing things like this or have affairs with students in grade school? I can't imagine most of my teachers doing things like this. Boy how things change from generation to generation.

Anonymous said...

The icing on the cake would have been if she had taken them to a gay woman's strip club with amateur night.

Mare said...

You know, I can't explain it either. It's like a weird underground subculture of those kind of folks.

As far as the amateur night, SURE! They could have said that they were gathering data in order to help them choose a career path in life. Classic.

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