Mike Kueber's Blog

June 6, 2012

Sex and e-mails

Filed under: Culture,Education,Law/justice — Mike Kueber @ 11:35 am
Tags: ,

USA Today yesterday contained a scandalous article reporting on some innocuous behavior that caused the ruination of a leading Midwestern educator.  According to the article, the married superintendent of the Des Moines school system, Nancy Sebring, exchanged sexually explicit emails with her married lover, sometimes using her school IPAD and sometimes while at work.  The problem is that the Des Moines district forbade the use of school computers or e-mail accounts for personal correspondence and prohibited the exchange of sexually explicit materials. 

This situation reminds me of a Texas county judge who was forced from office because he was arrested at an out-of-town convention for using marijuana.  Although the judge was using the drug for medicinal purposes, such conduct is illegal in Texas, and many believed the violation, albeit minor, of a drug law precluded the judge from further public service.

My position is that the problem in both situations is not the public servant, but rather the law.  Companies and schools should lighten up regarding their employees’ use of computers and email accounts and sex.  Just because computers leave a trail of documentation doesn’t mean that employers have to take advantage of that documentation to invade the privacy and personal lives of their employees.  Similarly, we don’t need laws that fail to authorize the medicinal use of marijuana.  (Actually, we don’t need laws that criminalize any marijuana use.)

The superintendent and the judge should be evaluated on whether they are good at their job, not whether they committed a petty violation of a petty law.  Removing them is hurting ourselves.  (Aphorism – cut off our nose to spite our face.) 

The article on Superintendent Sebring was particularly poignant when it closed with her lament, “This was a situation involving two lonely people.”

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