Jennifer was an English teacher who knew too much. She got in trouble for explaining that a line in Merchant of Venice was referring to a Bible verse.
Next day I get called into the principal’s office; some parents were FURIOUS that I had told their kids that Jesus said anyone who says ‘fool,’ will go to Hell.
“But he did,” I pointed out.
“It doesn’t matter, Jennifer. You can’t insult kids’ religions.”
“Well, the kid asked me what that line from the play meant! What was I supposed to do?”
“Just tell him you don’t know.”
Jennifer was denied tenure and her teaching contract was not renewed.
Matt Welch‘s brother had a similar experience as an untenured public school history teacher in California.
At one post six or seven years ago, he was asked in class about how the Germans could have possibly supported Adolf Hitler. He explained, best as he could, about the Versailles Treaty, hyperinflation, the wounded German national psyche, how the Nazi twerp made some people feel better, how Germans are weird; the usual stuff (I’m, uh, paraphrasing from memory; at any rate, he spoke of the plausible reasons why the Little Dictator originally became popular). A kid in his class, who was Jewish, told her mom that night that the history teacher was Defending Hitler. Mom called the principal. Principal called my bro into the office for a dressing-down or three. At the end of the year, he was not asked to return; he remains convinced that this was the biggest single reason.
Knowledge is no excuse.
Update: Citizen Smash talks to a California teacher who teaches Revolutionary History at a Los Angeles high school. The American Revolution is not included.