Friday, February 2, 2007

Moral Clause?

Harry Potter's new book has a publication date! Saturday, July 21, 2007! WOO HOO! I am so excited! It even has a name - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. You can read more about this announcement on many sites, but I would start with JK Rowling's own official site.

The first article I read this on also pointed to an article about Daniel Radcliff's latest image. I have to admit, the pictures were a little um - well I can see where parents would be concerned. Harry Potter, who so far has only been seen as a flirting young man not entertaining thoughts of the nature those images lead to. You can read more on a fan's site, and even see the images! Just click on the news section, and it's on the page for January 30th.

One of the things mentioned here is that parents are concerned over the suggestive nature of the photos. He's an actor, and while he is an actor in a very popular series, it's not like he signed a moral clause with Warner Brothers. He didn't pose naked, although it seems like it. He is not promoting drug use (which I would be more concerned about), and while he is a role model, he's not directly in contact with our students. We have to choose for him to be.

Which brings me to the next round on the "Moral Clause." I found an article and a blog posting yesterday about two Florida teachers who are under the scope because of immoral acts. In the past, teachers had to be innocent, unmarried, and could not even be dating. They had to be very pure to be in touch with our students. Today, we can't hold those stipulations on a teacher, but what should be expect? Where do we have a right to actually look at a teacher's "free" time as interfering with a school program?

Let's take the first case. He's an educator in his 50's. He's divorced and looking. So this educator heads on over to My Space and posts his own profile with information of the sort. Now this is where it gets tricky. Supposedly on the site there was vulgar language that put the teacher in a sexual light. Parents were upset. He claims someone else hacked into his site, and it has been cleaned up. He was still let go. On this case, my personal feelings were he used poor judgment (as Steve Dembo said, this is your new permanent record). He shouldn't be advertising there for a date. Go to Yahoo Singles or or something like that if you're interested in finding a date. Students shouldn't be on there. Let go? Not unless he was trying to seduce under age girls and refused to take down the information. My Space is too popular with students for a teacher to "hang out" on. I don't agree with educator Dean Moore that a student sees me in the classroom, they don't need to see me on the web. That depends on how you're going to portray yourself.

The second case, well I can understand the uproar. Maybe more so here because the images were not hacked and they were very suggestive. This teacher near Miami posed for pictures for America's Bikini Team. The images are not just of her in a regular bikini, but well - you can take a look for yourself and decide. The first three are okay, the rest of them made the male commenters on the blog excited. While students should not be on a bikini site, and she did not use her real name, they are very suggestive and she does teach high school. Should she have been let go? Here's another person's thoughts.

The bottom line, while there is no legislature that says teachers have to lead a pure life, you do have a moral obligation to live in good character and be a good role model for the students. As Christina DeNardo wrote (Palm Beach Post Writer), teachers are under a microscope. You have to be careful of who, where, and what you do for interaction. While it would be great if all of our role models of today (athletes, entertainers, politicians, and local law enforcement, etc) would behave in good character with moral thoughts - we can't expect it. It's up to us as parents AND teachers to fill in the gap. The difference? You won't get paid well on Earth for your good behavior, but it's worth it in the end.

Looking forward to the next Harry Potter! It's the one time that I will be out of bed super early and at the mall (won't do it for Christmas shopping) to get my copy. No, I don't order it online. I still like the interaction of picking up my own copy, paying for it and conversing with the cashier.

I just hope those images didn't ruin his image for me in the movies.

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