(Magic Valley) - A Dietrich science teacher is being investigated by the state’s professional standards commission after a complaint from parents over his teaching methods.
Tim McDaniel is being investigated after a complaint was filed by a handful of parents who objected to how McDaniel taught the reproductive system, Dietrich Superintendent Neil Hollingshead said.
“It is highly unlikely it would end with his dismissal,” Hollingshead said. “Maybe a letter of reprimand from the school board.”
According to McDaniel, four parents were offended that he explained the biology of an orgasm and included the word “vagina” during his lesson on the human reproductive system in a tenth-grade biology course.
According to a letter from the Idaho State Department of Education to McDaniel, the allegations also include that he shared confidential student files with an individual other than their parents, showed a video clip in class depicting an infection of genital herpes, taught different forms of birth control and told inappropriate jokes in class.
“I teach straight out of the textbook, I don’t include anything that the textbook doesn’t mention,” McDaniel 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.”
The science teacher said he has taught Dietrich’s science classes for the past 18 years without receiving a complaint from parents or students.
According to McDaniel, the commission is also investigating a complaint that accuses him of using school property to promote a political candidate. The complaint was because he showed the climate change film “An Inconvenient Truth,” also in his science class.
McDaniel said he includes the film to spark a discussion on climate change among the students. After watching the film, he asks students to write a response paper explaining their thoughts on climate change.
“I’m not looking for one answer, I just want them to be able to explain what they believe,” he said.
McDaniel declined to name the parents who filed the complaint. They could not be reached in time for this report.
The investigation prompted a Facebook group titled “SAVE THE SCIENCE TEACHER!!”, dedicated to supporting McDaniel.
McDaniel is hoping group members will write to the state commission supporting his teaching content and methods.
“This sort of thing makes you worry about what you teach,” he said. “That’s not right.”
Along with the standards commission, the issue is also being brought before the Dietrich school board, Hollingshead said.
Hollingshead said the board is reviewing the situation but no decision has been made.
While McDaniel feels confident he won’t be fired, he said he doesn’t think it’s fair if he has to sign a letter of reprimand.
“I’ve done nothing wrong,” he said. “I told them I won’t sign it.”
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