North Rowan High School Teacher Who Degrades Student’s First Amendment Rights Gets to Keep Job
In May of this year, a YouTube video (open at your own discretion) of a teacher and student debating President Obama and Mitt Romney’s younger years went viral on YouTube. In case you were wondering who was debating on which side, the teachers “Fact of the Day” was that Mitt Romney was a bully. The North Rowan High School teacher, Mrs. Tanya Dixon-Neely, went on to make audacious claims about the Constitution and Candidate Romney. After a student (rudely) said, “I’ll say what I want,” Mrs. Neely was quick to curtail his First Amendment right to free speech by letting him know that in her classroom criticism of Barack Obama was prohibited speech, “Not about him you won’t.” Additional constitutional conundrums took place, as Mrs. Neely told students as a teacher, “I’m not supposed to allow you to disrespect the President” and that when a citizen is arrested, “they don’t read your rights to you every time you’re arrested.”
Although these remarks are incorrect, leaving her students with a misconception of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, the most shocking remark centers around President Bush. Mrs. Neely goes on to tell students in her class that, “People were arrested for saying things bad about Bush” and that “Bush was shi**y.” Telling students that they could possibly be arrested for saying bad things about a President is very damaging. If Mrs. Neely’s students are ever in a situation to engage in a debate with a public official, will they with the false knowledge that they could possibly be arrested?
After this video went viral, Mrs. Neely was placed on administrative leave with pay (standard procedure). After an investigation took place, her status was moved to administrative leave without pay. Sarah Campbell of the Salisbury Post reports on the latest developments on Mrs. Neely employment with Rowan-Salisbury Schools, “Although Tanya Dixon-Neely has been suspended without pay, she will return next school year, when she will be required to start a monitored growth plan, Superintendent Dr. Judy Grissom said in a press release.” It has also been noted by Sarah Campbell that Mrs. Neely received two positive results from her classroom observations earlier in May.
Teachers are pegged with an extremely important task, educating future minds in an environment that fosters learning, curiosity, and respectful discourse on topics, among other things. In May, Mrs. Neely failed to deliver on her end of the bargain. We hope that Mrs. Neely, and other politically motivated teachers, take a step back to provide an objective educational experience and if needed, a refresher course for themselves on the Constitution.