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Unit 1: Case Studies

In the following fictional case studies, consider whether the action is unethical, illegal and/or unprofessional.  Use  the Professional Educator Discipline Act, the PA Code of Professional Practices and Conduct and the PSPC bylaws and statement of policy as resources for your decision-making.   

Case 1

Jane S. was a second grade teacher who took a sick day to compete in a bikini contest on the Howard Stern show.  In addition to appearing in a bikini on the show, Mrs. S. also discussed her sexual relationship with her husband.  While she won the contest, she was also forced to resign from her teaching position after school administrators were informed of the incident.

Case 2

Matt G. was a high school Social Studies teacher and the school wrestling coach.  Although Mr. G. was well liked by his students, his classroom disciplinary procedures were questionable.  Students who were tardy to his class were required to do 10 push-ups for each minute they were late.  Students who refused to complete the push-ups were required to wrestle Mr. G. until they were pinned.  Mr. G. was suspended from his position after a student covertly recorded one of the wrestling matches and posted it online.

Case 3

In addition to working as a fifth grade teacher, Michael P. was a silent partner in a business that sold adult videos and sexual paraphernalia.  The majority owner of the business was Mr. P’s college roommate, Robert, who managed the store without Mr. P’s assistance.  After Robert’s mother became ill, Mr. P. offered to temporarily manage the day-to-day operations of the business.  One evening, as Mr. P. was stocking shelves, a district administrator stopped into the store to buy a “gag gift” for a retirement party.  After confronting Mr. P. at the store, the administrator reported the incident to the district superintendent who suspended Mr. P. while conducting a full investigation.

Case 4

Robert M. was a middle school science teacher who uses the Internet for instruction when students begin researching their science fair projects.  Due to the small number of computers in his classroom, Mr. M. allowed one of the students to use his desk computer to complete her research.  While using Mr. M’s computer, the student encountered several sexually explicit sites that Mr. M. had bookmarked in his Favorites.  When the student told her parents of the incident, Mr. M. was suspended while a full investigation was conducted.

Case 5:

Melissa S. was a 23-year-old high school music teacher who also supervised the production of the school musical.  After months of practices, Miss S. became very close to several seniors including David, the male lead in the musical.  Miss S. and David began sharing emails and texts with one another.  Most of the communication was playfully flirtatious but not overtly sexual.  Immediately after graduation, however, Miss S. and David began dating and became sexually intimate.  After discovering the relationship, David’s parents filed a complaint against Miss S. with the district superintendent.

While these cases are fictional, real cases that have been adjudicated by the Pennsylvania Standards and Practices Commission and their opinions can be accessed by visiting the PSPC site.