Fired Wando teacher fighting for his job
The Wando High School teacher fired for showing sexually explicit clips from an R-rated movie is fighting for his job.
Christopher Poston appealed on Thursday his termination and requested a three-day public hearing to present evidence supporting his case.
The Charleston County School Board will decide whether he should keep his job, and the 36-year-old sociology teacher will continue to receive his full pay and benefits in the meantime.
Poston got into trouble while substitute teaching for an absent colleague's class. He showed students part of "Jackass Number Two" that featured a man using his puppet-covered penis to taunt a snake.
Jay Masty, Poston's attorney, offered in the letter a new, more detail-filled description of what happened that day. He wrote that Poston had seen parts of the movie on cable TV but did not know it had sexual content.
"Poston anticipated that Jackass 2 may have instructional value to his sociology students as one of the primary topics then being studied in his class was 'societal norms' and 'expectations of conduct,'" Masty wrote.
The teacher Poston was filling in for taught Latin but had not left a lesson plan, so Poston told students to complete work they had not yet done. When students got bored, they asked Poston about his sociology class, Masty wrote.
"Poston decided to 'convert' his responsibilities in that room from babysitter to teacher," according to the appeal. They talked about societal norms and expectations, and public versus private conduct.
Students asked what Poston was watching, and many said they had seen the movie, according to the appeal. The first few parts of the movie showed bulls chasing people down a street, and then it featured a stop sign with small letters that would hit anyone who came closer to look at it.
The next scene featured the puppet-covered penis, and Poston shut down the computer, according to the appeal.
The appeal asks the district to look at Poston's contributions versus his errors in judgment. Poston founded and directed the Buddy Olympics, which pairs special needs children with students from Wando High, and the Buddy Project, which pairs Wando High students with those from less privileged schools. The latter program has provided more than 6,000 books to local children.
"Oftentimes, defendants with a respectful history and actions that have benefitted society are afforded 'lighter' sentences," Masty wrote. "We ask for this kind of consideration from the school district, a simple weighing of the contributions of Christopher Poston versus his lapse of judgement in showing an inappropriate film clip to a class of students over a two-minute period."
Poston also coached cross country and track and took on roles in student council.
"Lest we not forget that when the principal of Wando High received recognition, it was due, in no small part, to the contributions of Christopher Poston," Masty wrote.
The appeal asks the district to provide more information about why it fired him. The district's letter referenced "other reasons" for his termination, but Poston has not been made aware of what those are.
More than 2,000 students have signed a petition in support of Poston.