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:
… 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.”