A Batavia High School teacher is under fire from school administrators after he reportedly told his students they did not have to answer questions about their behavior, which included their use of drugs and alcohol, on a survey designed to ferret out Batavia students' mental acumen.
Teacher John Dryden, whose actions have garnered support from students, parents and some Batavia officials, told his students they had a constitutional 5th Amendment right to not incriminate themselves with answers to the school survey that was given out on April 18. The individual surveys had each student’s name printed on it, according to a report by the Daily Herald.
Students had the option to not participate in the Behavior Intervention Monitoring Assessment System survey, but needed to notify the district before April 17, according to the school's website.
"It is a systematic process of detecting students who are struggling behaviorally and are at-risk for experiencing a range of negative short- and long-term outcomes," an announcement from the school's website reads.
The survey, which asked about drug, alcohol and tobacco use, and emotion, was intended to be a “screener” to find out which students might need specific help, the Daily Herald reported.
According to a community petition rallying to support the social studies teacher, John Dryden faces disciplinary action for “unprofessional conduct” after administrators learned of his actions.
Batavia community members, current and previous students, and parents joined in on the petition, which now has more than 5,000 signatures, to defend the educator.
Dryden reportedly faces having a “letter of remedy” placed in his employment file, which can only be issued by a school board and could have consequences up to dismissal. According to the petition, however, Dryden is not in danger of being terminated.
“For the administration of Batavia High School to pursue disciplinary action against a dedicated educator, whose instruction is solely student centered is, in our opinion, an extreme lapse of professional competence,” the petition reads.
The School Board is scheduled to discuss the matter in a closed session Tuesday.
Dryden told the Daily Herald he doesn’t want the issue to be seen as him vs. the administrators, but would rather focus on the discussion of the survey, saying it was “rushed and not vetted.”