Bullying | California | Education

Nine Seventh-Graders Suspended Over Porny English Class 'Gay Test'

On Thursday, media outlets around San Diego reported a weird controversy involving a teacher, some porn, and a bunch of masturbating 7th graders. Deal was: One day last April, in an all-male English class at Bell Middle School in Paradise Hills, nine students began semi-surreptitiously streaming porn on their cell phones and masturbating beneath their desks. Other students say they complained to the attendant teacher, a Mr. Ed Johnson (pictured below), and Mr. Ed Johnson did nothing. He remained at his desk, reading a book. The students' complaints eventually made it to the school administration, and the masturbateurs were suspended. Curiously, Ed Johnson was not disciplined for allowing his class to devolve into Johnson Ed. Some school administrators, it seems, wished to discipline him, but the teacher's union was adamantly against it. They didn't wish to see a teacher disciplined based on hearsay -- even when the hearsay came in the form of 22 written statements from students who claimed to witness the incident.

But there was more to the story. Yesterday, the U-T San Diego reported that the porn-streaming was part of a kind of gayness-test designed by the students:

Johnson_t220Multiple students reported being asked if they had passed the “gay test” in watching particular videos on their cell phones.

... The Watchdog reviewed written testimonials from 22 students. Their accounts said students in the all-boys English class wore gym shorts and watched certain videos in class. Whoever became aroused was labeled gay. Children masturbated openly in class, according to the statements, and peers complained of inaction by the teacher.

Although no action has yet been taken against Mr. Ed Johnson, the teacher's union is swiftly moving to ensure none is. From the U-T San Diego's initial report:

“Some of us are collecting signatures of support for Ed Johnson,” Bill Daniel, special education teacher and school site union representative, wrote in an email to colleagues on Friday. “We only want to support him as a friend and colleague. We are making no judgments. Our petition only states that there appears to be rush to judgment based on questionable statements made by very young children.

Vice Principal Kathleen Gallagher replied by email, “The statements submitted by students should not be discounted based on their age. The process of collecting statements and interviewing students was conducted consistent with district procedures, each one independently of every other one. Because nine of our students were suspended as a result of this incident, it is difficult for me to swallow the statement about not making judgments. Students were held accountable for their part of this problem.”

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  1. Have that on your school record

    Posted by: GeorgeM | Jun 16, 2012 10:53:36 AM

  2. OK, now what?!

    So the nine suspended 7th graders were looking at gay porn and masturbating? Because that's what it sounds like based on the excerpts, and that seems.... unlikely. If there was a "gay test" involved then jerking off to it would be an admission that you're gay, generally not a popular thing to be in 7th grade. It sounds like two events have been conflated, the gay test and the jerk-a-thon, when they were actually separate.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jun 16, 2012 10:54:17 AM

  3. Get ride of the cell phones- they are in school to attend classes.

    All cell phones IF they must be had- are given to the Home Room teacher at the beginning of the day and returned at the end of the day.

    Posted by: anthony | Jun 16, 2012 11:04:08 AM

  4. I agree with Anthony, cell phones shouldn't be allowed in class at all. Also, was it really necessary to repeat the name of the teacher so many times in this article? We get it, his name is Ed Johnson, and Brandon K. Thorp obviously thinks he was in the wrong here. He may have been, but this account is so confusingly written that I really have no idea what actually happened or what MR. ED JOHNSON did or didn't do. Thumbs down on this article.

    Posted by: Zell | Jun 16, 2012 11:17:13 AM

  5. This is good example of the kind of utterly modern situation that no teacher working today is qualified or empowered to deal with. There is no policy or classroom strategy for this kind of hyper-modernist, group discipline problem.

    Posted by: Steerpike | Jun 16, 2012 11:24:13 AM

  6. Just a general heads up: be wary when quoting the U-T, it's Doug Manchester's mouthpiece.

    Posted by: John | Jun 16, 2012 11:24:19 AM

  7. I don't think I'm stupid, but I've read this article twice and i still neither get it nor believe it.

    Posted by: Ben in Oakland | Jun 16, 2012 11:25:25 AM

  8. No idea where to even start with this except to agree that cell phones should be handed in to the teacher at the beginning of class. As for the rest......

    Posted by: Michaelandfred | Jun 16, 2012 11:30:13 AM

  9. I'm with Ben in Oakland, and I'm a teacher!

    Posted by: Joseph | Jun 16, 2012 11:32:11 AM

  10. I agree with Ben - what!?!

    And I agree with John - the U-T is the fox news of newspapers, very biased.

    Posted by: Craig | Jun 16, 2012 11:38:50 AM

  11. What is the story being reported? Is it that teenage boys were jerking off in class and the teacher didn't stop them? Or is the story that they had they were doing some sick "gay challenge" using their cell phones to watch presumably gay porn? Or is the story that these boys had cell phones in class and had illegally downloaded porn? Or is the story that the teacher's union is preventing the accused teacher of being disciplined?

    There are too many facets to know for sure.

    Posted by: Phoenix Justice | Jun 16, 2012 11:55:39 AM

  12. Seems like the vice-principal is in on it too..."it is difficult for her to swallow...", indeed. Maybe if she tried a different position.

    Sometimes I wonder who is in charge of these schools.

    Posted by: Fahd | Jun 16, 2012 12:08:04 PM

  13. What is possibly so hard to understand about this post.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jun 16, 2012 12:42:44 PM

  14. This is a bit from Tosh.0, and people jerking off in class is not a tough problem to solve if you're a teacher who knows how to say "stop jerking off.".

    Posted by: Cameron Johnson | Jun 16, 2012 1:13:54 PM

  15. I'm sorry, but I have no idea what is being described here. So the point was to watch "certain videos" (meaning gay ones? why is everything in the original article and this one so damn vague?)and NOT get aroused, so as not to be labelled gay? But they were masturbating, so they were trying to become aroused? So confused.

    Posted by: ruh roh | Jun 16, 2012 1:41:50 PM

  16. "…utterly modern situation that no teacher working today is qualified or empowered to deal with?" Horse shat. It's a bunch of kids doing something insanely inappropriate at the same time, the "modernity" of its media engine has nothing to do with it.

    Pull the cell phones (which should be a school-wide rule anyway), tell the jerk-offs to put their cocks away and get out of the classroom for immediate suspension.

    However, this article was genius for a single line: "Curiously, Ed Johnson was not disciplined for allowing his class to devolve into Johnson Ed."

    Posted by: Jeff Kurtti | Jun 16, 2012 1:45:01 PM

  17. This has nothing to do with cell phones... I did this this in high school with my buddies too (without cell phones). It's teenagers being horny. Everyone needs to calm down.

    Posted by: hartzprod | Jun 16, 2012 2:04:57 PM

  18. She bop, he bop, I bop, we all bop...not a big deal.

    Posted by: Thomas | Jun 16, 2012 2:12:12 PM

  19. I agree with the teachers' union on this. It's irresponsible of the Union-Tribune to try to ruin a man's life and career over a rumor heard from a bunch of kids. All kids find it fun to exaggerate and sometimes make up things, and it's a part of maturing to eventually grow out of that.
    The story as told by the kids COULD be true, but it does sound very suspiciously full of holes.
    It is very likely an exaggeration (did two boys making a "sexy" groaning noise to annoy the girl beside them somehow turn into half the class "masturbating" when the story got spiced up and retold?)
    And were the kids telling the story perhaps agry about the amount of homework they'd been assigned that week?
    And what is those particular kids' record in regards to maturity, hoesty and integrity?
    Many of the commenters at the Union-Tribue are asking for the teacher's head on a platter, all based on a story they have heard second-hand that was apparently told by randm kids they don't know.
    What if they had told the principal that the Tooth Fairy flew in the classroom window and stole all their homework? Would these same commeters insist that the police get all their forces out looking for that Tooth Fairy?
    Note that I'm not saying that these kids DID make up or exaggerate the story. I'm just saying that that's what kids do ALL THE TIME.

    Posted by: Gregv | Jun 16, 2012 2:12:52 PM

  20. Oh, I'm not sure there are many holes here. I'm guessing the students probably knew that their teacher just sat there all day doing nothing so that they could get away with their little stunt. Since their classmates "ratted" them out, there are a lot of witnesses to the whole thing. Sounds like the union is just defending a useless, do nothing teacher. It would be easy to verify the basic facts of how many witnesses there were and what they claimed to have seen.

    Posted by: anon | Jun 16, 2012 2:55:53 PM

  21. Hartzprod you jerked off in class?
    Wow my new hero

    Posted by: GeorgeM | Jun 16, 2012 3:05:36 PM

  22. Zell, what Mr. Johnson did do was to remain seated at his desk, supposedly reading a book, while he was being paid to be in charge of a classroom of male students. What Mr. Johnson did not do was be an active instructor, on his feet, walking around in the classroom and maintaining order and discipline in a classroom of all male students. Anyone that has taught for more than a week knows that you do not leave a group of 7th grade males to their own devices while sitting at a desk and reading a book. As for the cell phones being in class, this is a different time and age than when each of us were in school. Children grow up with cell phones in their hands. Look around you when you are in the grocery story. See just how many very young kids have a cell in their possession. The kids having a cell phone is not their problem, some supposedly adult parent type figure had to sign for and pay the bill for that phone. It comes right back to the basic problem with education in this country. Children are one of the few things that do not have an instruction manual with them. If a PARENT gives a cell phone to a child, that child is going to use that cell phone where it is most inappropriate. As if teachers did not have enough to do, now they need to have a plan for taking up and re-distributing cell phones every day. I don't know if the teacher will be disciplined in this case, but he most certainly does need a refresher course in classroom management skills with a bit of emphasis on "You will never stop 7th grade boys from whipping it, but you can certainly make them postpone it until a more appropriate time."

    Posted by: vanndean | Jun 16, 2012 4:24:45 PM

  23. I'm not sure I believe this story, as stated in the paper. I can remember too many (completely untrue) 'rumors' and 'stories' that were 'confirmed by dozens' to believe something so, well, beyond believable. I'd go so far as to say none of those kids should have been suspended, unless they admitted to it... and even if one did, it shouldn't be assumed that the others were also guilty (ie someone could have 'ratted' an innocent person out, to make sure they got in trouble, too, just because they held some kind of grudge).

    Posted by: P | Jun 16, 2012 5:35:06 PM

  24. @Vandean: Relax. My point was that the article itself was ambiguous and poorly-written, not that the teacher is a paragon of virtue or completely innocent. As written, I'm simply not sure we should jump to either condemn or exonerate him. Your rush to criticize him without any solid evidence of wrongdoing would go over really well at Fox News, though. Think of the children!

    Posted by: Zell | Jun 16, 2012 5:53:28 PM

  25. Why pic a black guy!?

    Posted by: Gordon | Jun 16, 2012 9:36:35 PM

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