As journalists, it is important to make sure personal views are not included in stories written for publications, except for editorials.
This is a part of the Society of Professional Journalists’ ethics code. Just as journalists have to adhere to ethics, so do other professionals within their fields.
Accountants have the responsibility to be honest when they balance the books. Psychologists and doctors have to obey patient confidentiality. In the Florida ethics code for teachers, it says they must, “Strive for professional growth and will seek to exercise the best professional judgement and integrity.”
Basically, teachers should be especially cautious in what they say and do. But last month an incident of unprofessional behavior from a teacher crossed the ethics line and hit media outlet across the state.
A Marianna teacher, Greg Howard, wrote, “C.H.A.N.G.E. on the dry-erase board in his social studies classroom of 24 students. That acronym stood for “Come Help A N**** Get Elected.”
This acronym was how he referred to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
After a 10-day suspension, Howard may have to face the ultimate consequences. Parents and prominent local attorney urged the Franklin School board to fire Howard last night.
It’s understandable. It is a matter of responsibility. Just like journalists, Howard was given the job to teach without bias. This is a powerful position. A teacher has the ability to mold the minds of these pupils, minds that are very impressionable. Howard’s statement will leave a mental imprint in of these seventh graders, forever.
A’sia Horne-Smith for the editorial board.