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Old 01-10-2007, 03:55 AM   #1
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'Butt-Printing' Teacher Fired

I could have sworn we discussed this when the story of the teacher's suspension came up, but I couldn't find the thread if we did. Anyway...

What do you think -- should he have been fired? Apparently the teacher didn't bring up his paintings at school and marketed them under a bit of a pseudonym (Stan Murmur instead of Stephen Murmer) to keep them seperate from his work as a teacher (this is what I remember from an earlier article which I can't find right now and I need to get to bed, so I can't look too much). To me the firing seems a bit over the top. If he was a good teacher -- and his subject is art after all -- I really don't see the problem.

Oh and the Butt-Art Gallery (link below) is a hoot!


Quote:
RICHMOND, Va. - A high school art teacher who sparked controversy when his off-hours work as a so-called "butt-printing artist" became known has been fired.

The Chesterfield County School Board, in a unanimous voice vote, decided to terminate Stephen Murmer at a meeting Tuesday night, spokeswoman Debra Marlow said.

The vote came during a nearly three-hour meeting during which the board heard Chesterfield superintendent Marcus J. Newsome's recommendation that Murmer be fired during a portion of the meeting closed to the public. Murmer and his lawyer, Jason Anthony, also had an opportunity to present their case in closed session, she said.

The voice vote came after the meeting was opened to the public.

In its decision, the board reasoned that students have a right to receive their education in a positive learning environment free from distractions and disruptions, Marlow said. The decision also is in keeping with court rulings that hold that teachers are expected to lead by example, be role models and honor core values, she said.

The school system operates under an ideal that holds respect, responsibility, honesty and accountability as core values for all students and employees to abide, and the board clearly felt that Murmer had gone outside those parameters with his art.

Afterward, Anthony called the vote "a bad day for the First Amendment."

"Chesterfield lost a tremendous asset today," he said.

Murmer, a teacher at Monacan High School, was suspended in December after objections were raised about his private abstract artwork, much of which includes smearing his posterior and genitals with paint and pressing them against canvas.

His paintings sell for as much as $900 each on his Web site.

The unique approach to art became a topic when a clip showing Murmer, wearing a fake nose and glasses, a towel on his head and black thong, turned up on YouTube.com.

That video inevitably made its way to the high school.

Murmer contacted the American Civil Liberties Union after he was suspended, and ACLU executive director Kent Willis said Tuesday night the case is far from simple.

"A public employee such as a school teacher has a right to free expression outside the work place so long as that free expression doesn't go beyond his ability to do his job," Willis said after learning of the board's vote to dismiss Murmer.

"The question is, 'Does his art interfere with his ability to teach?'"

Willis noted that it wasn't until the county decided to suspend Murmer a month ago that the video illustrating his unusual approach to art became a topic of discussion.

He said the county has overreacted with its decision to fire Murmer.

link here

Link to Butt Print art site
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Old 01-10-2007, 06:52 AM   #2
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The other thread was regarding a female teacher who'd posed topless and had the photos up on the internet somewhere posted by her ex who was the photographer??? Or not, lol.


Either way, this is ridiculous. The art is extremely tame, and utterly unoffensive. what I find very odd about these kinds of uproars is that the art world has many a kook with unique and risque ways of 'expressing' themselves. Students who study art in high school examine these, they look at the various modern art schools which are brimming with the sexually explicit, implicit and downright blushworthy. It's art. It's there. Students are taught this. However, when the art is brought that much closer to the students, by them being taught by someone who is practising in that field we then find an uproar. It's like when you see a snake; you can prod it with a stick but not your hand.


There should be no problem without a doubt. His firing was the only shameful thing about this story.
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Old 01-10-2007, 08:28 AM   #3
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its interesting to me how drastically art changes from high school to college. if this guy were a college professor, his work wouldn't even be brought into question. hell, he'd have his own gallery show right on campus.

i can't believe he was fired. his outside work didn't involve anyone from that school. thats just over the top. if he has an MFA, he should just march his ass straight over to VCU. they'd gladly hire him.
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Old 01-10-2007, 08:44 AM   #4
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It's quickly getting to the point where teachers will not be allowed to have any private life whatsoever, of course that's due in large part to the internet. The internet by definition makes private life public, whether we like it or not.

I never knew what my teachers were doing in their private lives and I never cared, of course there was gossip about teachers but that was about it.

If he was showing students his butt and his genitals, obviously it would be an issue. And I care if teachers are doing very immoral things and making them public (and word usually gets around anyway), because I think they are supposed to be role models. But I see nothing wrong with these paintings. Respect, responsibility, honesty and accountability are all acceptable virtues to expect from teachers, but it can be tricky to define what violates that.
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Old 01-10-2007, 09:19 AM   #5
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Ridiculous. He shouldn't have even been suspended, much less fired.

"The board reasoned that students have a right to receive their education in a positive learning environment free from distractions and disruptions." Yeah, that's nice and vague...basically teachers had better not be moonlighting as anything, or they're in danger. What a joke.

Can burning books be far behind?
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Old 01-10-2007, 10:37 AM   #6
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"Willis noted that it wasn't until the county decided to suspend Murmer a month ago that the video illustrating his unusual approach to art became a topic of discussion."

That's the best sentence of all.

Stupid how society more and more tries to control the private life of people.
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Old 01-10-2007, 12:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by redhotswami
its interesting to me how drastically art changes from high school to college. if this guy were a college professor, his work wouldn't even be brought into question. hell, he'd have his own gallery show right on campus.

No kidding! I went to a small, religious, and somewhat conservative college and my friends made a giant paper machet penis that doubled as a sculpture assignment (passed) and a pinata for my bachlorette party.
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Old 01-10-2007, 05:53 PM   #8
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This is ridiculous. This guy got fired for doing artwork. I'm an artist. I can't believe what they fire people for these days. It's a sad day for that school.
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Old 01-10-2007, 05:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Liesje


No kidding! I went to a small, religious, and somewhat conservative college and my friends made a giant paper machet penis that doubled as a sculpture assignment (passed) and a pinata for my bachlorette party.
was there candy inside?
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Old 01-11-2007, 09:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by redhotswami


was there candy inside?
Yes, Mia, it was full of Blow Pops
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Old 01-11-2007, 09:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Liesje


Yes, Mia, it was full of Blow Pops
your friends are AWESOME! sounds like something i'd do.
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Old 01-12-2007, 07:04 AM   #12
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wow, its a penis, its not like 50% of the world has one. What is this continuing stupidity in shaming and hating our genitals and acting like this teacher is one step away from peadophila so better fire him because obviously if he does this in his private life, he's going to get all the guys in the class to do it too and then soon you know everyone will be having mass orgies in class and we're all going to hell.

wow.

Pathetic.
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Old 01-12-2007, 08:50 AM   #13
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I wonder if this teacher will be fired

DALLAS (AP) - A high school teacher was charged under Texas' peeping-tom law with videotaping girls' wrestling matches for his sexual enjoyment.

Police said David Ware, 28, often zoomed in for close-up shots of the girls' crotches.

The first-year speech and drama teacher planned to turn himself in to Grand Prairie police this week on charges of improper visual recording, which carries up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Ware shot about two hours of videotape at an all-day tournament Saturday but drew suspicion from a coach, Grand Prairie Sgt. John Brimmer said. A police officer reviewed Ware's tape.

"This was more than accidental footage of the genital areas," Brimmer said. "It appeared to be a purposeful act of zooming in."

Ware was charged under a 2001 law meant to protect people from ultra-small cameras that can be used to peek into dressing rooms or up women's skirts. Under the law, filming a person without consent for sexual arousal is a felony.

Ware's school, Garland Lakeview Centennial High School, was not entered the wrestling tournament.

His attorney, Scott Palmer, said Ware was simply interested in wrestling. And the lawyer complained that the law is so broad that could be used to jail Dallas Cowboys fans for taking pictures of the team's sultry cheerleaders from the stands.

"How do you draw the line?" Palmer said. "If you go to a Cowboys game and take a close-up shot of their cleavage, are you committing the same offense because you think that has sex appeal?"

School officials said Ware has been placed on paid leave.
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