School Board: Teacher'sPersonal Web Site is Grounds for Dismissal

“A high school teacher could be out of a job in a dispute over a personal web site he created before he was hired by a western Pennsylvania school district…The Grove City Area School District placed music teacher and assistant band director Dan Konnen, 24, of Hermitage, Pa., on an unpaid suspension in March when students found his personal web site, which contains jokes about genitalia and scatological references extracted from the controversial Comedy Central cartoon series South Park, as well as other sources.” —School Board: Teacher‘sPersonal Web Site is Grounds for Dismissal  (eSchool News)

The teacher created the site in 1997, when he would have been — what, about 19? I did plenty of stupid things when I was 19, but I didn’t publish them on the Internet. I think Konnen showed extremely poor judgement leaving this content on his website — if I were him I’d have removed it during his job-search phase, or at the very least posted it under an alias.

Konnen was incredibly naive to think that 1) nobody would ever find his material, or 2) that it wouldn’t matter if it was found. The teacher’s union is defending his right to freedom of speech, and there is no indication that he spent his workday fiddling with his website (ahem… that stack of papers is calling me…). The offensive material appears to be mostly quotations taken from the South Park TV show, which means the teacher wasn’t even creative enough to get himself fired by inventing his own offensive material. That’s gotta hurt.

Usability note: on the eSchoolNews website, half the screen is taken up with an annoying and distracting plea to register. I suppose that’s better than forcing you to register before showing you the story.