Case 9.1 Unprofessional Conduct
Facts of the Case
Mrs. Pettit was a Special Education teacher at elementary school for over 13 years
She was a dedicated teacher and she always recieved positive reviews from the school’s principal
Mrs. Pettit was also a swinger; she and her husband believed in nonconventional sexual lifesyles
Because of their beliefs, they were asked to discuss their lifestyle on 2 local television shows
they wore disguises but were recognized by one of Mrs. Pettit’s co-workers
He talked to other colleagues about what he heard
A year later Mrs. Pettit and her husband joined ” The Swingers” a private club that promotes diverse sexual activities amoung its members
At one of those parties Sergant Berk, an undercover police officer, observed Mrs, Pettit preforming oral sex on 3 different men in a 1 hour period
She was arrested and charged with oral copulation, which at the time broke the California Penal Code
She took a plea bargain, pleading guilty to the misdemeanor of outraging public decency and paid a fine
the school renewed her teaching contract for the next year, but 2 years later, disciplinary proceedings were initiated against her
the state board of education found no reason to complain, but the board revoked her license
Ethical Issues Involved
Does a teachers personal sex life affect thier ability to teach students?
Deos being a member of a swingers club make someone a less moral person?
Would you be comfortable with your child being taught by a swinger?
The actions of Mrs. Pettit were consensual and took place amoung willing adults. if people choose to live the swinger lifestyle and want to have parties to exchange partners that is thier business and if someone does not like what is going on they can choose not to attend swinger parties.
during the late 1960’s it was against the law to behave in the manor that Mrs. pettit did, so she should be punished for her behavior.
the Board said Mrs. Pettit demonstrated that she was unfit to teach because she engaged in immoral and unprofessional conduct at the party
Mrs. Pettit took her case to the California Supreme Court where they agreed with the board
3 school administrators had testified that in their opinion, her conduct proved she was unfit to teach
these experts worried she would interject her views of sexual morality into the classroom, and did not think she could act as a moral example to students
the law changed to allow this behavior as long as all parties invoved are 18 and over
Teachers should not be punished for off the clock behavior as long as it does not interfer with their ability to get thier job done
Teachers should have the right to have any type of personal life they choose as long as they do not force their beliefs on others