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Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Jun 23, 2006

Responding to another post by Miguel Guhlin.

My perspective on this particular case is simply that posting naked photos of yourself on the internet is not wrong.

Yes, there are some moral perspectives that hold that it is wrong - though interestingly these same voices have no particular problem with nudity on film, in magazines, at fashion shows, and so on.

But it does not follow that teachers should have to follow a particular moral code, much less that particular moral code. Morality is a personal choice, and a society that values freedom should respect the personal choices of all of its citizens, yes, including teachers.

Indeed, from my own perspective, I am much more concerned about children being exposed to McDonalds commercials, being exposed to the brutality of shows like CSI, and seeing cities firebombed on the evening news (to name but a few things).

But I also recognize that I cannot protect children by removing all of these from the air - and I would point out that probably the only protection of children from nudity in today's media environment is a blindfold.

Singling out the teacher as the carrier of a special brand of morality (one often not even respected by her accusers) is in my view a disturbing form of hypocrisy. I have much more respect for people who say, "These are my values, this is what I live by" than by people who seek to impose their particular morality (as they understand it) on others.

You may think that the lesson the teacher is teaching her student is to "live naked." But it is not, and the current opposition and sanctions makes that perfectly clear.

No, the lesson she is teaching her students is, "live honestly."

That's why they fear her, and that's why they want to see her fired.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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