Appeal: Wando teacher should not be judged by 'Jackass' incident
By Brian Troutmanbtroutman@abcnews4.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) - A Wando High School teacher placed under the microscope by the Charleston County School District after showing portions of Jackass 2 to a class has appealed his recommended termination.
The appeal, dated on Thursday and managed by the law offices of DeLuca & Maucher, LLP, shares detail of the incident -- detail the firm argues is in several ways different from the story told by district administrators.
Attorneys representing former sociology teacher Christopher Poston wasted no time in the seven page appeal submitted and signed by attorney Jay S. Masty. The first paragraph addresses a dispute over when Poston's recommendation for termination was submitted. It goes on to argue that many things presented as fact in that recommendation for termination are incorrect.
The appeal tells the story from the point of view of the teacher it describes as a "babysitter." Poston, along with other teachers, was approached by school administrators and asked about serving as a substitute for a Latin class. According to the appeal, Poston volunteered.
According to the appeal, Poston could not find a lesson plan, but assigned two lessons from the course workbook. Many of the students appeared to already have the work completed.
"Poston does not know Latin. His attendance at this class was designed to mirror a "baby-sitter," wrote Masty. "After a couple of minutes, Poston downloaded Jackass 2 from Amazon to his school-issued laptop. Poston anticipated that Jackass 2 may have instructional value to his sociology students as one of the primary topics then being studied in his class was 'societal norms' and 'expectations of conduct.'"
The appeal argues Poston had viewed portions of Jackass on cable television, but he had not viewed the movies and had not previously seen anything sexual in nature related to the movie.
Poston began watching the movie on his laptop. The opening scenes show bulls chasing people down a street. At that moment, according to the appeal, students in the Latin class began to ask Poston about what he taught and about sociology.
"Mr. Poston decided to 'convert' his responsibilities in that room from baby-sitter to teacher," Masty wrote in the appeal. "Poston began discussing societal norms and expectations and where behavior 'fits' in society. Poston explained that sociology would investigate normal and 'abnormal' behaviors in society, conformity and non-conformity in behavior patterns. They talked about public conduct and how it varies from private conduct."
At that moment, according to the appeal, students asked Poston what he was watching on the laptop. He then is said to have put the movie on the smart screen.
"For the first minute, it continued to show scenes of bulls chasing peopled down a street and then it changed to a stop sign which contained very small letters. When a person approached that sign, the sign would pop out of the wall and hit the person viewing the sign. The next scene in the movie began to show a male with a stocking type cover over his genitalia. When Poston noticed that the content had become sexual in nature, he shut the screen down. He did not again show any additional content from the Jackass 2 movie."
Poston then began to show presentation slides from the website People of Walmart. He showed the slides for 10 minutes and then opened discussion on behavior in the community setting.
"These slides have been shown over the years by numerous teachers at Wando High School," the attorney wrote.
"When confronted with the complaint of the student about the content of the Jackass 2 movie, Mr. Poston immediately confirmed his behavior, acknowledged that his actions were in violation of school policy and apologized to the administrators, the school, teachers and students."
While the appeal admits Poston did not dispute his actions. It argues he should not be terminated by what it describes as an "honest lapse in judgment." It brings to note Poston's history at the school and his contribution to Wando and the community.
"Christopher Poston made a mistake. He chose to change a 'baby-sitting' session into a learning session and chose the wrong method of instructing the students. No question, a mistake," the attorney wrote. "But, does it warrant the ending of a career that has thus far so nobly advanced the ideas of teaching and learning and commitment to the community, the entire community?"
The appeal requests a public hearing in the matter, which would allow witnesses, students, parents and etc. to speak on Poston's behalf.