Batavia HS teacher disciplined for ‘teachable moment’

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A high school teacher is being disciplined for some advice he gave to students who were taking a survey about drug use and other risky behavior.

The teacher, John Dryden, characterized all of this as a “teachable moment.”

The school board disciplined him for advising students they could plead the Fifth Amendment instead of taking the survey.

Last night, the community showed it’s support for the social studies teacher.

On April 18th, students were given a 34 question social emotional learning survey.  It included questions about drug and alcohol use. Students were also instructed to put their names on the surveys.

School officials say the questions were intended to identify teens who may need counseling or other help.

But Dryden told his class they had a Fifth Amendment right to not give any answers.

“We ask students to think critically full-time, all the time and this instance was no different than that,” Dryden told WGN.  “This was a critical thinking exercise in which apparently what was asked for instead was reflexive for obedience.”

School officials say the teacher “mischaracterized” the intentions of the survey.

But many at the meeting thought the survey was handled the wrong way.

Dryden said he was simply doing his job.

Students created an online petition to support Dryden and they have more than 7,000 signatures.

School board members voted to give Dryden a letter of remedy outlining certain things Dryden must complete or face further discipline.

However school officials would detail what those things were.

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