A group of parents is not happy about how Idaho biology teacher Tim McDaniel is teaching the reproductive system in his classroom.
Parents took offense that McDaniel, a tenth-grade teacher at Dietrich School, used the word “vagina” when explaining the biology of an organism during a biology lesson on the human reproductive system.
McDaniel is now being investigated by Idaho’s professional standards commission as a result of the allegations. A letter from the Idaho Department of Education says the allegations include that he shared confidential student files with someone other than a parent, taught various forms of birth control, showed a video depicting a genital herpes infection, and told inappropriate jokes in class.
McDaniel is denying any wrongdoing in the matter, claiming that he is teaching no differently now than he has for the last 18 years.
“I teach straight out of the textbook, I don’t include anything that the textbook doesn’t mention,” he said. “But I give every student the option not attend this class when I teach on the reproductive system if they don’t feel comfortable with the material.”
McDaniel also revealed that the school commission is investigating allegations that he improperly used his position at the school to promote a political candidate. The complaint came from parents who were unhappy that McDaniel showed Al Gore’s 2006 film “An Inconvenient Truth” during class.
In his defense, McDaniel said he only showed the film to his biology class in order to create a discussion on the topic of climate change. After showing the film, McDaniel asked students to write a paper explaining and defending their thoughts on the issue.
“I’m not looking for one answer, I just want them to be able to explain what they believe,” McDaniel said.
Dietrich School Superintendant Neil Hollingshead said it is unlikely that McDaniel will be forced to resign as a result of the investigation.
“It is highly unlikely it would end with his dismissal. Maybe a letter of reprimand from the school board,” Hollingshead said.
Supporters of McDaniel have rallied behind him throughout the investigation. A Facebook group named “SAVE THE SCIENCE TEACHER!!” has been created in support. McDaniel is hoping his supporters will write the school board on his behalf.
McDaniel doubts he will be fired because of the investigation. On top of that, he is so adamant that he has not done anything wrong that he refuses to sign a letter of reprimand as well.
“I’ve done nothing wrong. I told them I won’t sign it,” he said.
Along with the Idaho state standards commission, the Dietrich school board is reviewing the allegations as well.
Superintendant Hollingshead said the investigation is ongoing and no rulings have been made at this time.