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A teacher at Batavia High School in Illinois is in trouble for telling his students their constitutional rights before they took a survey. The teacher faces disciplinary action for telling students that they have the right to plead the fifth before taking an exam. Since his remarks got him into trouble, the teacher has been the beneficiary of petitions and Facebook posts backing him during the turmoil the incident has caused.
John Dryden says that his situation is not the most important part of the struggle. Instead, he says that it was fine for him to let students know that they could be incriminating themselves by giving honest answers to a survey on the use of drugs and alcohol. The survey had each student’s name on it, violating the privacy of the questions and answers.
The survey is part of measuring how students meet the social-emotional learning standards set by the state. It is the first year Batavia has administered such a survey.
School district officials declined to provide a copy of the survey to the Daily Herald, saying the district bought the survey from a private company, Multi-Health Systems Inc., and the contents are proprietary business information.
They did provide the script teachers were to read to students before the test.
It does not tell students whether participation is mandatory or optional.
An April email communication to parents said their children could choose not to take the survey, but they had to notify the district by April 17.
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