Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Tale of Two Teachers

One worked as the host of "The Good Night Show" on the PBS Kids Sprout network. The network fired Melanie Martinez when it learned of her earlier work. In 1999, Martinez had starred in two 30-second videos (see them here and here) spoofing teen abstinence public service announcements. The videos were directed by David Mack and produced by John Ordover, and were hosted on the website

"PBS Kids Sprout has determined that the dialogue in this video is inappropriate for her role as a preschool program host and may undermine her character's credibility with our audience," said Sandy Wax, network president.

The network learned of the videos because Ms. Martinez alerted officials to the internet posting of them.

The second teacher taught high school science in Paducah, Kentucky. The school board fired Tericka Dye for appearing in a pornographic film over a decade ago.
McCracken County school superintendent Tim Heller says Dye was fired because her presence in the classroom would have been a distraction to students.

Similar stories, correct? So, was it correct to fire either teacher? Both?

One huge difference in the two cases: some Kentucky Christians want Ms. Dye to be reinstated. She says she has become a Christian and deserves a second chance.
Now Dye's attorney, Mark Blankenship, has filed a lawsuit seeking her reinstatement.

"It seems to me you're punishing a teacher because of [potential] student misbehavior," he says. "You know, it's like [saying] 'the students won't be able to handle this, so we're going to have to let the teacher go.'"

That rationale, says the attorney, is causing the school district to miss out on an opportunity to allow Dye to share "truly an American success story" in her classroom.

"She grew up in a very poor family [and had] an alcoholic father; she was abused sexually by an uncle when she was from six to thirteen. I mean, she got off to such a horrible start in life and then made something of herself," Blankenship notes. "And now, a public school system, which is really part of our government, sort of throws her away."

There are indications Ms. Dye appeared in at least 12 films using the screen name Rikki Anderson. One was titled "Ass Whores 12." (NOT WORK SAFE) Another was titled "Tight Ass."

No one has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Ms. Martinez. She has not invoked her Christianity in her own defense.

Some people might argue that the situations are different because of the age groups with which each teacher dealt.

Ms. Martinez made a mock PSA in which she used the words "anal sex." Ms. Dye made a pornographic movie in which there may have been actual anal sex.