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Alexandra Lavelle

June 25, 2016


Short Paper 2- Teacher Lifestyle Rights
Teacher Lifestyle Rights
Teacher lifestyle rights may be a topic that is highly debated. Due to the profession,
teachers are held to a very high standard, however, teachers and administrator have the right to
privacy. In the scenario where seven parents are arguing that a teacher be dismissed for working
at a strip club because she is not being a good role model to the students. The teacher argued that
since this secondary job occurs during her personal time and has nothing to do with the
classroom, she should not be dismissed from her position. I do believe that the teacher can be
dismissed. I believe that, in this case, while the teacher has a right to choose her lifestyle, this
right needs to be respected. In this case, because the parents are complaining, there seems to be a
compromise in the teacher/parent relationship. Due to the compromise in the relationships that
the teacher can have with the parents, it is causing her to not be able to effectively perform her
duties.
The first amendment in the U.S. Constitution gives our basic freedoms of speech,
religion, association and freedom of sexual harassment and sex discrimination. While teachers do
have the right to privacy, they should still be respected and not violate the integrity of the
community or rend the teacher or administrator ineffective in performing professional duties
(Essex, p. 215). Being able to communicate with parents is an essential part of becoming an
effective classroom teacher. In this case, the parents are not happy with the teachers choice to
work in a strip club. This issue is now compromising the communication and relationship piece

that the teacher needs to have with the parents. Having parents who are upset about a teachers
lifestyle can also cause the school and district to be looked upon poorly by the community. The
administration is protecting the school, district, and learning environment of the students.
Teachers are held to a high standard and must be positive role models for their students. When
the lifestyle they choose is impeding on any part of their professional duties, then the
administration has the right to dismiss them.
In (Essex, 6th ed.), there is a court case mentioned of an administrator who was dismissed
after his amorous affair with a married woman became a problem. The relationship that the
administrator was involved in took up school time and was having an adverse impact with the
public. The court ruled that the district had a right to dismiss the administrator because his
behavior resulted in gross neglect of duty. Similar to this court case, the teachers job in the strip
club is interfering with her ability to perform her professional duties because she is ruining her
relationships with parents. In the case of Sullivan v. Meade Independent School District No.101,
530 F. 2d 799, a teacher was dismissed for moving in with her boyfriend. This took place in a
small rural community in South Dakota. School officials dismissed the teacher for gross
immorality and incompetence. The teacher responded that this was a violation of her privacy
rights, however, the court ruled with the school board stating that the state is entitled to
maintain a properly moral scholastic environment (Alexander & Alexander, p.509). The court
made this ruling because this teachers choice cause the community to become offended and
violated the integrity of the community. As stated previously, it is important for teachers to
respect the rights to privacy and still maintain integrity.
This particular scenario with the teacher working in the strip club also brings up several
ethical and moral issues. Educators are held to a very high standard and should be good role

models to their students and community. Forming healthy relationship with students and parents
and maintaining good communication is an essential role of being an effective teacher. The
teacher in this case could also be in breach of school and district policies. Although the teachers
actions are not illegal, they are a poor representation of the campus and district. Policies state
that teachers should maintain a positive relationship with parents and students and remain a
positive role model. It can be argued that working in a strip club in not ethically correct when
you are working as an educator. Students look up to their teachers, compromising this could
potentially damage the learning environment in the classroom.
In conclusion, I believe that the teacher can be dismissed by her administration. Had her
actions not caused an issue with the parents then she would still be within her rights. However,
compromising the relationship between teacher and parents does not allow the teacher to fulfill
her professional duties, therefore deeming her ineffective.

Resources
Alexander, K., & Alexander, M.D. (2009). The law of schools, students, and teachers in a
nutshell (Fourth ed.). St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company.
Essex, N.L. (2012). School law and the public schools-A practical guide for Educational
Leaders (Sixth ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.