However, there are two reasons why Burlingame cannot be ignored. The first, and this seems to be occurring less often lately, Burlingame has been a frequent "guest columnist" in the Globe, and when he writes in that capacity, he has a much wider readership.
Recently, the second reason has become equally, if not more, important. Burlingame has acknowledged having many one-to-one conversations with Joplin R-8 Superintendent C. J. Huff and it has become obvious that Huff has used Burlingame's writing, both in the Globe and on Burlingame's blog, to float trial balloons.
It has been in Burlingame's blog, that the idea that I am a pornographer who has no place in the classroom has been pushed numerous times.. He has also echoed C. J. Huff's testimony at my hearing May 23, 2013, that I had to be removed from the classroom because who knows what I might do if I was allowed to remain. At least Burlingame doesn't cry when he says it as.C. J. Huff did.
I have heard from people who tell me that C. J. Huff has continued to make that argument and has insisted, "I knew it would follow me I fired him, but I couldn't allow him to remain in the classroom."
Does anyone really believe that if C. J. Huff knew what was going to happen to him after he forced me into that hearing that he would have done things the same way?
The difference has been that I have used an extensive collection of public documents, e-mails, lawsuits, board minutes and other public records, including most recently, Missouri Ethics Commission documents, to reveal an ever-growing list of problems for the Joplin R-8 School District, something I should never have had to do if the traditional local media was doing their job.
One thing I did not do was to issue any attack on C. J. Huff following the sex scandal that exploded Thursday when the arrest of Joplin High School communication arts teacher Jessica Low became public knowledge.
I see no way that C. J. Huff could have known or predicted this situation, any more than the one that involved former South Middle School teacher Charles Gastel one year earlier (a scandal which had nothing to do with the Joplin schools other than Gastel's status as a teacher whose last job was in the R-8 School District and had only ended a few weeks earlier).
Burlingame took the low route today, and if it did not come as a suggestion from C. J. Huff, it certainly said the things that the superintendent wanted said.
His message- If C. J. Huff hadn't fired me, the school district might be facing two sex scandals now.
If this is not a sign of the desperation that seems to overcome C. J. Huff and his dwindling number of supporters these days, I don't know what is.
The following passage is taken from Burlingame's post:
Are our schools looking hard for the precursors, actions that are not yet “illegal” but are certainly,well what word to use, right. Is “unseemly”, “untoward”, etc. better words? I suggest looking hard for precursors of illegal sexual activity in public schools by teachers are appropriate and needed today. Said another way, teachers should be held to higher standards in such activity, standards above that expected of a “man (or woman) in the streets”.
I know of one very big example of a public school taking action when a “precursor” was revealed. Yep, it was, in my view, the infamous Turner Case. BUT, I do not call Turner a predator either. For sure he stepped across no legal lines. He is free to write and publish whatever he chooses to write and publish as far as I am concerned. And if his written descriptions are a “little quirky”, well that is not illegal.
But the real question, at least in my mind, in that case, the Turner Case, was wondering whether private “sexual quirkiness” is a line that teachers should never cross. OK that is debatable, maybe as well. But when such descriptions of teenage sex are espoused as political satire and thus defended, publically, well that line I see as a big red one and not to be crossed by any teacher anywhere, any time. For such people the next line might well become ……. We can then read all about it in the Globe when that happens.
I knew Randy Turner only by his written words in his long running blog until his termination became a very public matter, at his choosing. While I have long disagreed with his blog, the themes or content of the blog, never did I believe he should have been fired for such views as well. BUT, when I read his book, saw evidence of pushing that book into the awareness of 11, 12 and 13 year old kids, well he went far too far in my view and received just punishment, termination, for his actions and yes his “quirkiness” if you will.
But as well, I am not trying to retry the Turner Case, again. I am also not trying to “pick on” Randy Turner, again, either.
What I am saying however is I’m not sure how many teachers have demonstrated the precursors of being “Crazy Majors”. I do believe that deserves serious discussion and considerations of further actions by administrators and BOEs to minimize the number of teachers that come close or cross the lines of being “untoward, quirky or unseemly” or other words to describe people that fail to meet higher standards to remain as teachers of kids in public schools.
Recently, in another blog post, Burlingame acknowledged that C. J. Huff has continued to take action against me even after he fired me:
As well both men conduct “secret war” against each other trying hard to find as much dirt as possible against the other.
Anson, the only one who is doing anything in secret has been C. J. Huff. Everything I have done is been right here on this blog. I have been completely open.. The same cannot be said about C. J. Huff.
And now, about all C. J. has left is Anson Burlingame.
Talk about poetic justice.