A social studies teacher in Batavia, Illinois has found himself in trouble for informing his students of their constitutional rights before taking out a school survey that might require them to incriminate themselves. He had just finished teaching about the Bill of Rights.
Dryden, a social studies teacher, told some of his students April 18 that they had a 5th Amendment right to not incriminate themselves by answering questions on the survey, which had each student’s name printed on it.
The survey is part of measuring how students meet the social-emotional learning standards set by the state. It is the first year Batavia has administered such a survey…
The survey asked about drug, alcohol and tobacco use, and emotions, according to Brad Newkirk, chief academic officer.
The results were to be reviewed by school officials, including social workers, counselors and psychologists.
The survey was not a diagnostic tool, but a “screener” to figure out which students might need specific help, Newkirk said.
The teacher is right, of course. They don’t have to admit to a criminal act and either drinking or taking drugs would be criminal. For that, he faces potentially serious consequences:
Dryden faces having a “letter of remedy” placed in his employment file. He said this week he is negotiating the matter with district authorities.
Only a school board can issue a letter of remedy, which informs teachers their conduct was improper and could have consequences up to dismissal, according to state law.
Sounds like a great teacher to me.