A Florida teacher was fired after he asked his class to write their own obituaries ahead of an active shooter drill on campus — an assignment which the Orange County School District called “inappropriate,” according to several news sites.
Psychology teacher Jeffrey Keene told Fox 35 Orlando that he wanted to tie an upcoming active shooter drill at Dr. Phillips High School into a psychology lesson, and came up with the idea of having his 11th and 12th graders write their own obituaries.
“If they died 24 hours from now, what would they do differently than they did yesterday? And that’s to get them to get rid of all the fluff and show them what’s important in the world,” Keene, 63, explained to the news station.
“It wasn’t to say, ‘You’re going to die, and let’s stress you out,'” he added, noting that he put a disclaimer at the bottom of the lesson saying that it was not meant to upset them.
Keene, who had been working as a teacher since 2008 and was hired by the high school in January, said he received a notice to end his employment by the Orange County School District soon after the assignment.
“When they said you have the option to resign without violating your contract, I said, ‘I didn’t do anything wrong,'” he told the outlet. “I said, ‘If I did, tell me what it is.’ They said, ‘We can’t do that.’ I said, ‘In that case, since I don’t know what I did wrong, you can go ahead and terminate me without cause.’ “
However, he told NBC News that he doesn’t regret setting up the assignment.
“If you can’t talk real to [the students], then what’s happening in this environment?” Keene said. “In my mind, I’ve done nothing wrong.”
The Orange County School District released a statement, per NBC News, that said: “Dr. Phillips High School families were informed that a teacher gave an inappropriate assignment about school violence. Administration immediately investigated and the probationary employee has been terminated.”
Keene told Fox 35 Orlando that he is planning to appeal the termination. He said that if he had the choice, he would do it all again.
“I don’t think I did anything incorrectly,” Keene told NBC News. “I know hindsight is 20/20, but I honestly didn’t think a 16-, 17-, 18-year-old would be offended or upset by talking about something we’re already talking about.”
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maybe we need to write his obituaries.