Jeff Bliss, Duncanville Teen Whose Classroom Rant Went Viral, Escaped Punishment. His Teacher Has Not.

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We learned a little bit more yesterday about Jeff Bliss, the Duncanville High School student whose blistering classroom rant against uninspired teachers seems to have struck a nerve. He's 18, but he's only a high school sophomore, having dropped out of school for a year. He's new to, and not yet very good at, Twitter. His mom is proud.

See also: Watch a Duncanville Teen Deliver a Blistering Classroom Sermon on Lazy Teachers

We also learned something about Duncanville ISD, which has dealt with the situation in a surprisingly measured way. They initially released a statement reading, "We want our students and teachers to be engaged, but the method by which the student expressed his concern could have been handled in a more appropriate way."

Superintendent Alfred Ray reiterated that sentiment in an interview with Fox 4.

"I would tell you that the conversation that Mr. Bliss had is a conversation we love our students to have with their teachers," he said. "I think the setting and the tone could have very well been different. I think that Mr. Bliss probably understands that himself, but I tell you that our core beliefs value all of the individuals in our district and we value the input Jeff has as we would for every student in our district."

And they acted accordingly. The district opted not to punish Bliss. His teacher on the other hand has been placed on paid administrative leave while the district investigates the circumstances that led up to Bliss' diatribe, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Both decisions seem designed to let the Internet's attention quietly drift away. They also seem pretty reasonable.


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247 comments
dranchman
dranchman

...and stop blaming everyone else for your shortcomings and grow up.

jamessavik
jamessavik

Sometimes when you have a kid with far-away eyes, you look into them and there is absolutely NOTHING there.

dranchman
dranchman

ok the self testing packet argument is not valid. its a SELF TESTING packet folks. it teaches you something.... any of you that got the point of it want to take this over from here??? no hope for the human race.

TexMarine
TexMarine

Duncanville ISD is fooling themselves when they say that they want "students and teachers to be engaged, but the method by which the student expressed his concern could have been handled in a more appropriate way."  That is complete and total bullshit. They put this on the student as if your typical public HS kid has any idea how to handle teacher incompetence and laziness.  This is how the school administration covers up their total lack of teacher supervision and review.

KatieD
KatieD

I saw the teacher in the video.  She may have be afraid.  Uncontrollable young men are prone to violence.  Who knows how many times she's been threatened, hit, spit on...  I have an acquaintance who left a 6-figure job to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher.  She quit in just a few years.  The classroom was more than stressful; more than any one person should experience ongoing and the admin did not support her efforts to rein in the students.

sophee
sophee

The sad truth is that the gurus who control education nowadays have decided that students no longer listen to teachers. Therefore, the way to teach them is to have them teach themselves and each other through group work, cooperative learning, worksheets, word finds, puzzles, web  quests, etc. Anything that avoids the teacher addressing the class. Of course, when it blows up like this they are going to blame the teacher, not themselves.

rain392
rain392

Back in the day, he would have had himself blistered for insubordination or something else.   However, his teacher just sitting there like a crumb on toast, not engaging with him at all in any meaningful way.  That just showed more disrespect even though it may have finally de-escalated the situation.  The boy was right!   Self study packets to high school kids is not teaching.   It is a teacher ducking her responsibilities to inspire, communicate and TEACH the lessons of that unit.   

The best way is not always to stand up and lecture but my God, get creative.   I've taught in college for years and the last thing young adults and adults want is to dig everything out by themselves or be spoon fed it all by lecture and  power points!!  Get them involved, excited and interested.  

 My spouse is taking a cultural geography course in college this semester (at the age of 69).  He comes home every day excited about new stuff he has learned from class discussions.  There are people from all over the world in his class.  Having lived overseas himself with us, he knows how important geography is to ongoing world events. 

This smart-ass kid (said lovingly) appears to know a lot about teaching pedagogy and methodology.   His frontal lobe maturity growth just hasn't caught up with his knowledge.  I'd love to teach him any day!

Laura Smith
Laura Smith

He should be punished for his outburst. It was not the right time to have a tantrum in class. He did not handle that situation very well at all.

dranchman
dranchman

Im sure your next question is, how do I know this...

I was that snot nosed kid. I did the same thing, knowing full well that everything I needed was in my reach if I wanted it. If I had only applied more to my work than my point...

dranchman
dranchman

kind of a catch 22. teachers cant teach those who dot want to learn. this kid doesn't want to learn.... look at him, listen to the way he talks. if he wanted to learn all the information is there for him. Any of you think its your bosses responsibility to make your job interesting? All this kid wanted to do is be a hero. He found a loophole and went for it. Its wrong to remove the teacher and not him. when was the last time you humans took responsibility for your actions? Grow up folks, your never going to make it. 

Joni Espinoza
Joni Espinoza

I can't believe they let him wear long hair to school. Is he even grateful for that or takes it for granted?

stanmiklis
stanmiklis

If and when the conventional systems fail.... the public MUST take a stand.

stanmiklis
stanmiklis

If and when the conventional systems fail.... the public MUST take a stand.

Nearly.normal Jim
Nearly.normal Jim

lol.. only in Texas can a 18 year old former drop out Sophomore in high school be labeled a 'Hero' for staging a BS "rant" against a teacher in a class he should have passed 3 years ago. Bigger and better in Texas yee haw!!!

sampeters82
sampeters82

This is long, but I hope that it will be worth it for some, & particularly teachers. 

I don't need to know that much about the teacher or her situation to know that she is probably not passionate about what she does, & that being an excellent teacher is probably quite low on her list of priorities. Regardless of her state of mind, you just don't handle that situation in that way when student engagement & learning within an environment that is safe to learn from mistakes & share ideas is your main priority. You just don't. Period. I know this for 3 reasons.

1) If there is something going on in her life that is so powerful that it temporarily affects your teaching ability to that degree, then you don't come in because you know that you won't be in a good place to teach others. Sometimes you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others, & great teachers know when it is that kind of time.

2) IF this were an isolated incident & the teacher was going through something very difficult that was out of the ordinary engaging, safe environment, then her students would certainly not have acted out to that degree assuming that she had set up proper procedures & expectations for classroom behavior.

3) IF there isn't anything out of the ordinary going on in her life, then it's inexcusable on all counts.

I work at a school for children who learn differently. All our faculty & staff must, necessarily, think outside the box in order to engage students in meaningful instruction. It is built into our culture on a fundamental level. I think all of you are right in different ways, & it is my opinion that that's the problem. Teachers, politicians, parents, students, & taxpayers alike are all falling into the trap of the blame game. We're all so focused on the cause of the problem & why it is someone else's job to solve it, & let's use our most basic problem solving skills to realize that neither one matters because at the end of the day we all know & agree on what the solution is, & acknowledge that, in passing the responsibility to implement round & round the circle, we are only hurting ourselves & the children that we love. This is the theme song that I wrote for teachers everywhere at the beginning of this school year, & I think that it is particularly relevant in light of the Duncanville High Teacher/Jeff Bliss exchange. I hope that it can encourage any educators who hear it, so please feel free to share it if you like, or if you don't like it, well, they can't all be hits now can they? http://youtu.be/RelL-PdcCSk

So what is this solution we all agree on? The research, & common sense, have been shouting the solution at us for years while we stand around & pass the buck around the circle. That solution being; excellent, engaging, multi-sensory, relevant training & instruction. We all know it & no one will argue it, but instead of doing something about it, we start talking about why we can't or why it isn't "our job." I have thoughts for parents & politicians, but since I'm not now, nor have I been either, I'll differ to others who's knowledge goes deeper than my untested theories in those areas. However, I am quite experienced as a student, teacher, & taxpayer, so here's my two cents for those groups:

Students- Be proactive about finding out how your brain processes, remembers, & stores information & leverage that knowledge to your advantage. A teacher's differing style (or lack of passion in this case) won't stop you from learning anything that your heart desires. Just knowing & using this one simple thing about yourself will put you WAY out in front of most people that have ever lived. The majority of folks are perfectly content to just let their brain work when it works & scratch their heads & say, "Oh Well!" when it fails. Your mind is far & away the most awesomely complex & powerful thing that you will ever have the ability to wield. You can either focus that power & let it work to open doors for you that even it can't even imagine. Or you can be content to just let it steer you about for the duration of it's life & go wherever it likes. So my advice to students is to follow your heart & take control of your brain.

Taxpayers- Pay your taxes. They'll put you in prison if you don't, & I've heard that prison sucks! 

Teachers- Change it up! Don't be afraid to try new things. "But I can't! I'm forced to focus on benchmarks, common core, testing results, etc..." All these excuses have one simple solution: Engage students in a fresh ways & show them a love for learning. Model for & teach them how to think critically & be problem solvers, & most of them would fly through any test you put in front of them. If you'll do those things well every day, care enough to monitor progress & adjust as you go, & your student's scores don't show consistent, impressive growth, I'll give you $1,000,000. (Disclaimer 1: I don't actually have $1,000,000. As I said, I am a teacher) (Disclaimer 2: Students with dyslexia, ADHD, & other learning differences will continue to struggle, however, they will still show much greater improvement when engaged & taught using multi-sensory instruction vs. the WAY outdated, "Remediate, Lecture, Model, Practice, Repeat until mastered," strategy used by many traditional special ed pull out programs, special remediation focused schools, & cavemen. Unfortunately, this will always be true until more valid & accurate ways to test the knowledge of these students are embraced. It's also important to note here that the laws of statistics predict that almost any kind of leveled achievement data that you gather on large groups will fall into a curve with the majority in the middle & outliers on both ends.)  Step up teachers & give it all you've got when you are with the students. Still need a reason? It's the right thing to do. Period. We cannot expect students to carry themselves with character all the while showing them that it isn't really that important. Argue with administration about pay, time off, responsibilities, & what not on your time, but don't punish the children (& incidentally your own future) in order to make a point with parents, politicians, "the man," or whoever else you have beef with. Take pride in what you do & step up to the plate. I promise you, it is honestly so much fun once you allow yourself to take the risk & it feels AMAZING!

If you made it this far, then congratulations! Your language based intelligence is probably off the charts! If you have a high level of musical intelligence you probably bolted after the music video, & just skipped to the end. You folks with high bodily/kinesthetic intelligence should feel free to create some choreography to go with the music for me 'cause I wanna make a music video, but I'm not so sharp in the dance dept. Have a wonderful day everyone!

David Pope
David Pope

15 min of fame over get a job punk 18 and a sophomore and get a hair cut

David Duffield
David Duffield

He's an 18yo Sophmore! He doesn't belong in HS he belongs in Community College. Sorry but he should get his GED and move on from such a school.

waggoner51338
waggoner51338

THIS YOUNG MAN DESERVES PRAISE FOR SPEAKING OUT FOR HIMSELF AND ALL STUDENTS. A LAZY TEACHER WILL NOT GIVE THEM THAT.      THEY NEED A GOOD EDUCATION IF THEY ARE GOING TO MAKE IT IN THIS LIFE.    HOORAY FOR HIM!!!!!!!11

BY THE WAY, I  AM A 75 YEAR OLD WOMAN AND I HAVE LEARNED A LOT IN MY LIFETIME.   THIS BOY IS RIGHT!!!!

Vaun Norwood
Vaun Norwood

If u want change speak up! im glad he did it and put it out for the rest of us to see how bad DISD really is.

Sarah Seymour
Sarah Seymour

I love this! He is right! Her poor attitude needs to be evaluated by the district!

kody246
kody246

@dranchman The point is that the teacher is not keeping her classroom engaged not that she's not educating them. He wants to push his teacher to teach with a deep passion and make the kids actually WANT to learn it. That is what is flying over your head.

dranchman
dranchman

@TexMarine I suppose that's a good point. Problem is that almost everything has come down to the lowest common denominator. The teachers have to pick the worst situation in a group, or any profession or situation, and make that work for everyone. All it really takes is for one guy to spill McDonalds coffee in his lap, us for not questioning why the hell he thought his no no spot was a good cup holder, and award him money for being stupid. should we punish the teacher for blanketing and making them work for themselves? or should we punish the kid for fighting for what he believed was right the way he saw it? Not sure about anyone else but I saw a lot of things wrong at 20 that at 30 weren't as wrong as  it thought they were.

dranchman
dranchman

@KatieD too bad they cant teach common sense and observational skills. but its true. the administration is the same relationship as a ceo or manager to the workers. people have become so specialized in one area that they skipped over basic comprehension or are so far removed from the environment that their ideas seem completely retarded.

MIAINDC
MIAINDC

@rain392 I wasn't sure if the "teacher" was one of the students the way she was responding to him!! "ahuh...hmmm..okay....yeah....you can leave now....ahuh....."

MAKES YOU WANT TO KICK SOME LIFE INTO HER!! 


dranchman
dranchman

@rain392 it sucked at the time, but looking back I don't recall ever getting a whoopin I didn't deserve.

MIAINDC
MIAINDC

What you are describing is acceptable if the teacher were actually teaching. But she sat there imitating the bored students. Not to mention, this "control" of students to sit and obey and take in everything given to them is not teaching. It's brainwashing. 


dmays260
dmays260

I'm calling bullshit on that. He swore one time and it wasn't even directed at her. If a student is failing at the educational system that we have in play, then the problem needs to be assessed. Some students learn in different ways than others do. He had every right to outburst in the non respectful manner that he did. If you feel strongly about something, then address it. He did that in the best possible way. Also, for a teacher to make a statement by saying "this is my paycheck," then for god sakes that's not a class I would myself, or my future kids to be in. Teaching should be something that a teacher WANTS to do, not for the money, but for the job experience and the main goal of getting your students to get that gleam in their eye and be excited for the next lesson in your classroom. That lady is a poor excuse for a teacher and she be fired for making a statement such as that.

MIAINDC
MIAINDC

hahaha! funniest response.


MIAINDC
MIAINDC

You're only replying because you didn't see how the "teacher" was acting. View and listen to her throughout the video. You will notice, she wasn't much of an educator. It's her responsibility to engage her students and find a way. The fact that he quoted her "paycheck" comment *(and that alone) is enough to know where her mindset was.

dranchman
dranchman

@David Pope well said. while this isn't always true ( exceptions to every rule ) basic observation dictates it.

sylvanus93
sylvanus93

@David Pope Fuck you. you got jowls like porky pig. lose some weight, them maybe he will get a hair cut

NightSand
NightSand

@David Duffield What do you think he is trying to do?  

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@waggoner51338 

Time to learn where the CAPS LOCK button on your keyboard is located.

You're never too old to learn!

KatieD
KatieD

@waggoner51338  You don't know the whole story.  The poor teacher has put up with idiot students and parents her entire career. 

KatieD
KatieD

@Sarah Seymour You saw what, 30 seconds.  You don't know what you are talking about.  She was hoping the kid would leave.  She doesn't need a loser idiot like him in her classroom.  I'm sticking up for the teacher.

dranchman
dranchman

None of us really know what led up to this or has happened since. Don't bring some personal vendetta into it cause you think you've seen it before. Are you spending enough time with your children or sending them off to school to be babysat just so you have someone else to blame. You don't know what happened, neither do I really, just pointing out that you brain deads may not be asking the questions you should be. If you read the rest of the posts your would realize this.

dranchman
dranchman

And you're the politically correct solution.

dranchman
dranchman

Not over my head. The point is most of you have forgotten how or never knew how these kids think. He didn't just do it cause he really wants to learn. It was an opportunity plain and simple.

TexMarine
TexMarine

@dranchman @TexMarine On the hot coffee - you're premise is flawed I'm afraid. There never was "some dude" who thought his "no no spot" was a good place for his coffee. It was an elderly lady, who suffered 3rd degree burns as the PUBLIC SCHOOL EDUCATED McDonald's associate made coffee 20 degrees hotter than the coffee should have been made. She was sitting in the passenger seat in a parked car with her son when the lid popped off, most likely due to her squeezing the cup with her thighs; check out the documentary HOT COFFEE on Netflix and then maybe you'll see my point. 

We attempt to educate those without ears, and we still put teacher on a pedestal for some reason, when they share just as much as the blame for our societies demise as parents of bad students. Good teachers, whatever that is today, are in an ever shrinking minority.  Mr. Bliss shouldn't see a day of punishment, mostly because he's an adult and can walk out of that joke of a school at any time; the sad part is the 16 and 17 year olds who snicker and sneer, wanting him to shut up so that they can get back to their worksheets and fool themselves into thinking that they're getting a good education. Once they finally settle for a career of low opportunity (McDonalds, BK, TSA, or public service) they'll see Mr. Bliss again, he'll be their supervisor.

MIAINDC
MIAINDC

@dmays260 The fact that he quoted her on "her paycheck", matches her energy level sitting there all slumped.

NightSand
NightSand

@KatieD He asked her why they didn't get as much time as the other classes with the same packet (other classes were longer periods) and she told him to quit bitching.  

dranchman
dranchman

@TexMarine @dranchman and not really to nitpick but when was the last time you found a coffee machine with an adjustable temp control? just sayin

dranchman
dranchman

@TexMarine @dranchman I find this amusing. my premise was flawed though you reiterated it. sorry I didn't remember it was an old lady, but if it was 20 degrees cooler is it still a good idea to put hot coffee between your legs? no, and we award those darwins for being stupid. Im sure its semantics but by your statement of educating those without ears, shouldn't those teachers trying to do just that be held in high standards for attempting just that? It's not that I disagree, not that Im saying the teacher isn't lazy, not that the kid shouldn't stand up for what he believes. but much like your response, there is an emotional response that must be removed from the action. even you skipped over what was being said, and attacked what you didn't completely comprehend. how do we teach the young to make "educated" decisions when we do this?

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