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Old 12-05-2007, 07:01 PM   #1
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Wisconsin Teacher Arrested For Blog Comment

By RYAN J. FOLEY, Associated Press WriterTue Dec 4

Bloggers and free speech advocates are calling on prosecutors not to file charges against a teacher arrested for allegedly posting an anonymous comment online praising the Columbine shooters.

Some were disturbed by the post police say James Buss left on a conservative blog, but other observers said it was a sarcastic attempt to discredit critics of education spending.

The suburban Milwaukee high school chemistry teacher was arrested last week for the Nov. 16 comment left on http://www.bootsandsabers.com, a blog on Wisconsin politics. The comment, left under the name "Observer," came during a discussion over teacher salaries after some commenters complained teachers were underworked and overpaid.

Buss, a former president of the teacher's union, allegedly wrote that teacher salaries made him sick because they are lazy and work only five hours a day. He praised the teen gunmen who killed 12 students and a teacher before committing suicide in the April 1999 attack at Columbine High School.

"They knew how to deal with the overpaid teacher union thugs. One shot at a time!" he wrote, adding they should be remembered as heroes.

The comment disturbed at least one teacher, who called police in West Bend, 40 miles north of Milwaukee and home of the blog's administrator. Police traveled to arrest Buss at his home in Cudahy, south of Milwaukee, last week after the blogger gave them the anonymous poster's IP address.

After his arrest, Buss spent an hour in the Washington County jail before he was released on $350 bail. He did not return phone messages and e-mails seeking comment, and it was unclear whether he had a lawyer.

Washington County District Attorney Todd Martens is considering whether to charge Buss with disorderly conduct and unlawful use of computerized communication systems.

"If you look at all the factors in this case, it's pretty clear it would be a mistake to charge," said Larry Dupuis, legal director of The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin. "At worst, it was somebody expressing admiration for somebody who did something reprehensible. But the more reasonable explanation is this is somebody who is trying to mock the conservative view of teacher salaries."

Police Capt. Toby Netko defended the arrest. He said the teacher who complained was disturbed by the reference to "one shot at a time" and other educators agreed it was a threat.

"What happens when you say bomb in an airport? That's free speech, isn't it?" he said. "And people are taken into custody for that all the time."

Donald Downs, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor and expert in free speech, said that "all sorts of unsavory, controversial speech" are protected by the First Amendment.

"It has to be intended to incite violence" to be illegal, Downs said. "If it's tongue-in-cheek, there's virtually no way they can claim that."

Downs added, however, that the school district might have legal grounds to discipline Buss. The teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave while his school district considers what action to take.

Sara Larsen, superintendent of the Oak Creek school district where Buss has worked since 1994, said she was "dismayed, disappointed and discouraged" by the posting. She had worked closely with Buss when he was president of the teacher's union for three years ending in 2006.

"It's not something that I would have expected any teacher to do. As much as teachers understand the whole situation in Columbine, to reference that is certainly inappropriate," she said.
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Old 12-05-2007, 11:39 PM   #2
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This guy knows teachers that only work five hours a day?

Where the hell are those?
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Old 12-06-2007, 12:28 AM   #3
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Originally posted by martha
This guy knows teachers that only work five hours a day?

Where the hell are those?
Oh, I had a couple of those in high school. Everyone knew who they were. They sat on their binders of lesson plans and did squat. First to pull out of the parking lot at 3 pm, never saw them coach a team or anything. They were a tiny minority to be sure, but they existed. Just like every profession has its duds.
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:07 AM   #4
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It seems pretty obvious to me that if a teacher is saying teacher's should be shot, it's sarcastic.

His reference to Columbine showed poor judgement and poor taste but I don't think he should be charged nor does it seem likely that he's a threat.
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:17 AM   #5
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It seems pretty obvious to me that if a teacher is saying teacher's should be shot, it's sarcastic.

His reference to Columbine showed poor judgement and poor taste but I don't think he should be charged nor does it seem likely that he's a threat.
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:33 AM   #6
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I think what he said or was trying to say was a bit stupid, but no reason to be arrested

If that were the case, all of us here would be on death row
(Or is that one of those stupid things I shouldn't say?)
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Old 12-06-2007, 09:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by maycocksean
It seems pretty obvious to me that if a teacher is saying teacher's should be shot, it's sarcastic.

His reference to Columbine showed poor judgement and poor taste but I don't think he should be charged nor does it seem likely that he's a threat.
I agree, it's pretty obviously sarcasm.

But this ought to be a lesson to people who use sarcasm in writing, on the internet...if Buss had said this to somebody you'd probably be able to hear the sarcasm in his voice, but as a stranger typing anonymously who can tell if he's being sarcastic or serious? If I didn't know the guy was a teacher and read the comments, I might think he was serious...
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:14 PM   #8
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but as a stranger typing anonymously who can tell if he's being sarcastic or serious? If I didn't know the guy was a teacher and read the comments, I might think he was serious...
Yeah, I think, when posting in a public place where you don't "know" people or people don't know you, you should use better judgement. I think in here, most people know who the smart-asses are and when to take them seriously and when not to.

As a teacher I think there are better ways to make an argument against the crummy salaries we make.

But what law was broken? Why the arrest?
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Old 12-06-2007, 01:20 PM   #9
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you shouldn't be arrested for being a moron. fired, yes. arrested, no.
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