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"I keep making up these sex rules for myself, and then I break them right away."
February 18, 2012 4:28 AM   Subscribe

Arizona SB-1467 would require all instructors in public schools to adhere to (notoriously vague) FCC decency guidelines. The bill gives three-strikes-style punishments (One week unpaid suspension/Two week unpaid suspension/Termination) for anyone who
provides classroom instruction in a public school engages in speech or conduct that would violate the standards adopted by the federal communications commission concerning obscenity, indecency and profanity if that speech or conduct were broadcast on television or radio...

The bill makes no differentiation between in-classroom and out-of-classroom behavior, and explicitly applies to all levels of education from primary to University-level instruction. Greg Lukianoff of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education argues that it is unconstitutional. First amendment specialist Eugene Volokh disagrees (but thinks it is a bad law anyway). Angus Johnston points out that it may even ban teachers from teaching literature or history, urinating, or having sex.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike (35 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Seems like another silly stunt bill built for outrage; maybe we can revisit this if it actually gains any traction? -- taz



 
The bill is sponsored by Senators Klein (R), Biggs (R), Melvin (R), Shooter (R), and Smith (R).
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 4:38 AM on February 18, 2012


Even if limited to classroom conduct, there are situations where it is appropriate for the teacher to get naked and start cursing (e.g. chem lab emergency shower).
posted by ryanrs at 4:39 AM on February 18, 2012 [8 favorites]


Who raises the issue that an FCC rule might have been violated? Students.
Allowing students to tell on teachers. Giving 12 year old kids the ability to monitor the behavior of their adult teachers.

The kids get to be the guardians of good behavior, and they all get a trophy too.
posted by Flood at 4:47 AM on February 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Arizona hates your freedom.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:50 AM on February 18, 2012


Shit!
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:53 AM on February 18, 2012


Yup. We're consistently ranked right at the bottom of the barrel on quality of education, but what really matters is those darn teachers using cusswords, dagnabit.

Oh, and making sure everyone can carry guns to class.

There are times when I think this state is being run as an illustration of how bizarre Republican views are when they all get put into practice at once.
posted by MrVisible at 4:57 AM on February 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


The thing about AZ SBs in regard to education -- hell, AZ SBs in general -- is that so many crazy ones are floated in every legislative session, that I can't get my ire up for ones that haven't passed through yet.

At different times during my years in AZ, state legislators thought I should spend my time in the classroom: 1)among armed students; 2) armed myself (so there is no trouble with the armed students); 3) saying the pledge of allegiance with my college students at the start of every class; 4) actively searching for undocumented students; 5) making sure that any critical historical perspectives, including histories of minority populations, remained beyond the pale of classroom discussion; and now (were I still there), 6) capping the limits of my behavior to mirror Fred MacMurray on My Three Sons. There are others that I'm doubtlessly forgetting. Eventually one gets inured to all the crazy. If you don't save your outrage for the bills that gain traction, you'd be too exhausted to do anything.

The amazing thing is that there are educators in that state who manage to keep the business of teaching students going, when they're being hamstrung every step of the way by the legislature that ought to be empowering them in their mission.

Of course, some things do pass. The pledge & immigration cops legislation somehow morphed into something that did get passed: A large poster of the US Constitution was displayed prominently in every classroom. Also, in the late 90s, before I became a T.A. at Arizona State, I had to sign two documents. One confirmed that I was not now, and had never been a member of the communist party. In the other pledged my support to the state of Arizona, and promised to rally to Arizona's defense, were it threatened by any enemies. The great state of Arizona, ladies and gentlemen!
posted by .kobayashi. at 5:00 AM on February 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Dear America-
Please stop being so demonstrably insane.
Sincerely,
The Rest of the World
posted by ironjelly at 5:13 AM on February 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


Dear World,
You first.
-America
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:17 AM on February 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Of course, some things do pass.

I guess that's the problem, right? I imagine more of this stuff would get passed if someone didn't get mad. Perhaps to avoid stupidity exhaustion, we need to take turns.

"Arizona SB-9999 requires all toddlers to carry concealed weapons. I think it's your turn to get angry. I was outraged last time, when they were suggesting every financial transaction be accompanied by a Loyalty Oath."

"I'm still tired from the bill requiring students to wear American flag uniforms saying 'In God We Trust' at all Universities. Can't you take this one?"

"Oh, all right. You owe me though."
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 5:17 AM on February 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can't wait until Arizona runs dry.
posted by spitbull at 5:22 AM on February 18, 2012


> The great state of Arizona, ladies and gentlemen!

And what a state it's in.

I'm working on a large civil project in AZ, and — absent the usual hilarity of working in the US where contractors can't even agree on what length a foot is — it seems to be some legislative bizarro world. Funding for schools comes from state land leases, yet the leases are so cheap. It's so bad that we joke about our travel expenses as being priced in acres: "Cost me five acres to fly in, and another two for the hotel."
posted by scruss at 5:25 AM on February 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Will they be holding students to the same standards?
And awarding the same punishments?
One week suspension/Two week suspension/Expulsion?

The schools would be empty in late September.
posted by sciencegeek at 5:35 AM on February 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I guess that's the problem, right? I imagine more of this stuff would get passed if someone didn't get mad.

I'm not sure. I never quite understood all the performative bits of the AZ legislature. Some of these bills seemed designed quite deliberately by the state reps as more social theater than public policy. Something was going in the state house rather akin to a medieval morality play. Much of the crazy seemed borderline-designed to fail, but to get folks good and riled first.

It's awful stuff, even as theater, if you ask me. It takes capacities away that could be used toward good governance. And it drives people -- like me -- out of the state.

But, at the same time, I do feel like that the outrage gets a little old, and that it plays into the social drama that these state legislators seem to want. Sometimes, I'm suggesting, a reasonable strategy is to shake your head sadly, to remember that not everyone in AZ is a lunatic, and to get on with things.
posted by .kobayashi. at 5:36 AM on February 18, 2012


On the positive side, if they get tired of satellite radio, Opie and Anthony now have a teaching gig waiting for them.
posted by delfin at 5:52 AM on February 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Will they be holding students to the same standards?

It would be entertaining if they made it so that a student can't report the crime without falling under the same law.
posted by gimonca at 5:55 AM on February 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dear America-
Please stop being so demonstrably insane.
Sincerely,
The Rest of the World


Dear the rest of the world:
Drop the holier-than-thou bs, please.
Love,
America
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 5:58 AM on February 18, 2012


"Dear" Guinea Conakry,

Stop trying to pretend you're the ONLY Guinea, you fucking hosers.

Love,

Guinea Bissau.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 6:01 AM on February 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Mr. Carlin, this is your third "strike", and I'm afraid we'll have to terminate your contract with this school. We were suspicious with your usage of "pussy" and "dick", but couldn't counter an argument to your contention that you were discussing your cat and former President Nixon. However, your social studies lesson on "fucking assholes" broke two obscenity rules just in the title alone, and you were already on probation for talking about "shitheads" and reporting to the senior class that some of the girls had "nice tits". I wish you luck in your standup comedy act.
posted by zardoz at 6:01 AM on February 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dear Equatorial Guinea,

Oh, you want some of this too? You want some, do you? Huh? HUH???

Yours,

Guinea Bissau
posted by the quidnunc kid at 6:02 AM on February 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I swear in class. How the hell else are you supposed to get their attention on a Friday afternoon in the middle of a lecture on concomittant variation?
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:03 AM on February 18, 2012


Dear Guinea Bissau,

You are sooo last century, you old tosspot.

Sincerely,

Papua NEW Guinea
posted by the quidnunc kid at 6:04 AM on February 18, 2012


We have a saying in Indiana: "Thank God for Arizona"
posted by double block and bleed at 6:04 AM on February 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Goodbye Catcher In The Rye.
posted by tommasz at 6:06 AM on February 18, 2012


Dear Indiana --

Stop stealing our sayings!

Love,

Alabama
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:06 AM on February 18, 2012


We have a saying in Indiana: "Thank God for Arizona"

I dunno. Lately it seems our Hoosier legislators are using AZ as a role model.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:06 AM on February 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


We have a saying in Kentucky: "Thank God for Mississippi". If only the foolishness could be restricted to one state we could build a wall around.
posted by Mcable at 6:07 AM on February 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


We have a saying in Kentucky: "Thank God for Mississippi". If only the foolishness could be restricted to one state we could build a wall around.

My Tar Heel wife always says, "Thank God for *South* Carolina." And I always add, "Those goddamn mustard-eaters!"
posted by NoMich at 6:10 AM on February 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Always a pleasure to see AZ in the news... we've been groundbreaking so many issues as of late.
posted by ph00dz at 6:11 AM on February 18, 2012


Following up on kobayashi's comment, crazy stuff gets introduced all of the time in every state legislature. Remember that Schoolhouse Rock episode on "I'm only a bill..."? Each state legislature operates a little differently, but they approximately follow that model. So after a bill like this gets introduced, it has to get assigned to a committee, have a hearing, get a favorable recommendation out of the committee, get to the floor, get a general vote, pass over to the other chamber, repeat the process on *that* side, go to the governor and not get vetoed. So for this particular bill -- which looks to only have been introduced -- there are another five or six steps it will have to go through to make it into statute.

Legislation gets introduced for all kinds of reasons besides "it oughta be a law": sometimes the elected officials are trying to stake out a position for their constituents in an election year; embarrass the other party or a political rival by forcing an issue to get discussed; because the Governor's office or another member asked them to introduce the legislation and carry itbecause an industry or group wants it and asked the member to sponsor it; because the legislator wants to at least pass one law that he or she authored. Proposed legislation can be completely crazy and unworkable and still serve its intended purpose, if the purpose is something besides a change to statute. Also, a common tactic to defeat a bill is to amend crazier provisions on to it until it does become unworkable.

So how do you know when to get outraged? You can handicap the probability of the bill getting traction by looking at who sponsored it. I'm not familiar with Arizona politics, but generally what you are looking for as indicators: multiple sponsors, sponsors who hold leadership positions in their chamber, a large industry or consortium with a lot of lobbying muscle behind the bill, and sponsorship by the majority party or bi-partisan support.
posted by kovacs at 6:17 AM on February 18, 2012


I remember an interview with Charles Barkley on ESPN when he floated the idea of running for governor of Alabama. They asked him whether he really thought he was qualified and he said something like "Well, we're 49th in everything and Mississippi isn't going anywhere soon, so I can't make things much worse, can I?"
posted by hoyland at 6:17 AM on February 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well at least torture and mild gore will be acceptable!
posted by Artw at 6:22 AM on February 18, 2012


Why are they using federal guidelines for a law? I thought Arizona was all about states' rights? That bold governor wagging her finger in the face of the Feds!
posted by narcoleptic at 6:28 AM on February 18, 2012


Having once worked for a state legislature, I would heartily echo what kovacs just said. Introducing a bill takes a shockingly small amount of a legislator's time, and not only is it often the case that there is no intention to even give it a committee hearing, but it is often the case that even the person who introduces it has no intention of attempting to get it a hearing.

This isn't a comment on a particular bill at all or its wisdom or the need to pay attention to it, but I drafted a lot of legislation in my life, and only some was ever introduced, and only some of that ever got a hearing, and only some of that got out of committee, and only some of that ever came up on the floor, blah blah blah, the ultimate point being that of everything I drafted for members, very very little of it ever became law. During the time I had that job, legislation you drafted could run aground all the way up to having a pig stamped on it by Jesse Ventura. (That was how he communicated vetoes of finance bill provisions. It is a pork joke. True story.)
posted by Linda_Holmes at 6:33 AM on February 18, 2012


Regardless of intent, legislators should still be excoriated for introducing idiotic legislation.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 6:49 AM on February 18, 2012


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