‘Hot For Teacher’ Journal Entry Gets Student Suspended — Now He’s Suing
Writing essays is often difficult, maybe even a bit boring when the subject isn’t something the writer necessarily finds interesting.
In 2011, mature student and home builder, Joe Corlett, enrolled in Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, due to the downturn in the economy. He was in English 380: Advanced Critical Writing and, after being “repeatedly told there were no topics that were out of bounds”, submitted a journal entry entitled Hot For Teacher, obviously inspired by the 1984 hit by Van Halen. In the entry he revealed his attraction to several of his teachers, including this gem about his writing instructor:
Then there’s Ms. Mitzelfeld, English 380. She walks in and I say to myself “Drop, motherfucker, drop.” Kee-rist, I’ll never learn a thing. Tall, blond, stacked, skirt, heels, fingernails, smart, articulate, smile. I’m toast but I stay, I’ll fuck up my whole Tuesday-Thursday class thing if I drop. I’ll search for something unattractive about her. No luck yet. Shit.”
Ms Mitzelfield informed the Dean of the entry who decided Corlett had violated their policy against intimidation or harassment and barred him for three terms and required him to undergo counseling if he wanted to return.
Corlett insists he’s fighting for his civil rights as well as the $2.2million and four credits he lost as a result of the suspension and he’s probably got a point. I like what his lawyer, Alari Adams, had to say, “…he just ended up getting suspended from school for completing a homework assignment.”
Was Corlett wrong to write this or was his right to freedom of speech violated here? Sure, it’s not going to win a Pulitzer (or provide competition for E.L. James), but I guess the question for me is where do we draw the line?
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