A Florida educator is voicing his concerns after being dismissed from his job for what the school considered an “unsuitable” assignment.
— Gidipoint.com (@officialgidip) April 8, 2023
Jeffrey Keene, a psychology teacher at Dr. Phillips High School in Orange County, informed Fox 35 Orlando that he received a termination notice from the school district after conducting a lesson connected to a school shooting drill. Keene was given the option to resign without breaching his contract, but he insisted he had done nothing wrong and asked for clarification. The school district declined to provide any, prompting Keene to accept termination without cause.
The controversy arose after Keene tried to incorporate a psychology lesson into the school shooting drill by asking students to write their own obituaries as a reflection on their lives. The objective was to encourage students to think about their priorities and what they would change if they only had 24 hours left to live. Keene maintained that the lesson was not intended to cause distress.
a psychology teacher in (florida) fired
after asking students to write their own obituaries, Jeffrey Keene is
fighting his termination… says he did
nothing wrong.. my first day in
journalism class, we had to write our
own obituary…times have changed
school shooting violence.. pic.twitter.com/I8XeFtUzks
— dahnaad ahshaad (@ahshaad) April 8, 2023
Despite having been a teacher since 2008 and joining the school in January, Keene faced issues after a student became upset during the assignment. He had included a disclaimer stating that the task was not meant to be upsetting
Later, a school counselor observed Keene’s class and stopped him from discussing what students should do if they find themselves in the bathroom during a school shooting. Keene expressed his shock, as he was addressing gun safety and active shooter situations.
ORLANDO, Fla. – A psychology teacher at a Florida high school is appealing his termination after being fired over what the district calls an "inappropriate" assignment about school violence. In advance of an active shooter drill, he had students write their own obituaries.
— Neil Sherouse?? (@AnAltarEgo) April 6, 2023
In a statement to Fox News Digital, the school district confirmed that the lesson was deemed “inappropriate” and that Keene’s employment had been terminated. They also stated that the school had informed families of the incident.
Keene, unapologetic for the lesson, said he would “definitely” teach it again despite the consequences. He is currently appealing the termination.
Florida psychology teacher is fired after he asked high school students to write own OBITUARIES pic.twitter.com/gOVIx50bew
— DTN NEWS (@DTNNEWUpdates) April 7, 2023
I think this teacher is brilliant! A teacher in Florida is appealing his termination after being fired over what the district calls an inappropriate assignment about school violence, but the teacher says he was just teaching the students how to stay safe. https://t.co/LAvBClGT6D
— ??Nitro Nurse?? (@NurseNitro) April 6, 2023