Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Scott McConnell, a grad student at LeMoyne College, was expelled for no particularly good reason. LeMoyne, part of the Syracuse University campus, decided Mr. McConnell, in training to become a teacher, could no longer attend classes there, after he wrote a paper in which he advocated corporal punishment as a means of controlling students in class. Strangely enough, he received an A- on the paper. And what does the school have to say about this?
The issues that this case raises are very complicated, said Joseph Shedd, chair of the teaching and leadership programs in Syracuse University's School of Education.In other words, no comment.
It is about more than just a student's right to express their own opinions, he said.
"There is no clean dividing line between a person's opinions and his or her ability to make responsible professional judgments," Shedd said in an e-mail.
He pointed to change in socially acceptable behavior over time to illustrate that standards change. America has evolved from a society in which different genders and different races have been viewed as having different academic ability, Shedd said.
"SU's teacher preparation faculty - and, I suspect, LeMoyne's - will defend any student's right to assert any position, so long as he or she demonstrates an openness to different points of view and a commitment to and respect for every one of the children he or she teaches," Shedd said.
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