Big Issue: Nude & Dancing Teachers
This is a rush transcript from "The Big Story With John Gibson and Heather Nauert," October 5, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
HEATHER NAUERT, CO-HOST: The "Big Issue," tonight. A young woman gets up in front of her class with pompons and she does a cheer for the students. So, what's the big deal with that?
JOHN GIBSON, CO-HOST: Well, the young women was the teacher of that class, now she's been placed on leave. Look at that video, and many of her students can't understand why. Others are outraged by her school dance. Did she do anything wrong? "Big Story" correspondent Douglas Kennedy reports, you decide — Douglas.
DOUGLAS KENNEDY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, her school, John and Heather, has already decided, but it's an issue many schools now have to deal with. As more and more images appear on the Internet, school officials have to figure out what's appropriate and where exactly to draw the line:
(voice-over): One Arizona teacher performed a pompon dance in front of her excited students.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You go girl.
KENNEDY: Another from Tennessee struck a provocative pose.
PAT HARDAWAY, PARENT: It's bad. It shouldn't happen. A teacher shouldn't be doing that sort of thing.
KENNEDY: What links them is they both appeared on the Internet and subsequently created scandals at their respective schools.
ANGELA SMALLIN, PARENT: I think that it horrible. I think it's horrible that my daughter is going to this school and there's someone like that that's here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think a teacher would be that dumb to do that in class.
KENNEDY: Christina Mallon is a humanities teacher and placed on paid administrative leave from Williams Field High School in Gilbert, Arizona. Apparently her in-class exhibition was not part of the core curriculum.
But Melinda England in Inskip Elementary in Knox, County is still teaching, though administrators say they are investigating whether the photos of her, which appeared on MySpace, violated any laws.
RUSS OAKES, KNOX CO SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT: We don't have any information at this point that would indicate that she's done anything inappropriate with respect to what she does during the school day or with her relationships with her students.
KENNEDY: The photos and video come on the heels of a number of scandals at schools involving teachers posting material on the Internet, including on involving another Tennessee teacher, Pamela Rogers Turner who did an actual striptease on the World Wide Web.
But the Internet is still relatively new and rules about what's proper are not always clear. Parents at England's school have mixed feelings about what needs to be done.
INDYA KINCANNON, SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER: It would be something that would sort of make me raise my eye brows, but not, you know, call the police or anything. You know, it's not something that would make me freak out as a parent.
KENNEDY: But, on her MySpace page, England also calls her kids out of control and talks about taking prescription drugs. A spokesperson for her school district says some parents are upset, but he say there's not a lot a district can do, particularly he says, John and Heather, when it involves free speech.
GIBSON: Teachers too cool for school, Douglas. Don't they know about YouTube? Don't they know that this stuff gets out?
KENNEDY: You know, a lot — you know, so many people are using YouTube now that, you know, these are young teachers, these are teachers in their 20s, they've been using it for four or five years and are used to posting and you know, is it free speech or is it over the line?
NAUERT: Douglas, in the business world we have standards of business conduct, we have to bide to or we get canned! Anything for teachers?
KENNEDY: You know, there's a lot of rules for teachers, but they are public officials. They go by public rules and, you know, when it comes to free speech, you can't kick somebody out just for...
NAUERT: So basically no.
GIBSON: Douglas Kennedy. Douglas, thank you.
KENNEDY: Thank you.
NAUERT: Thanks, Douglas.
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