The ACLU Gets "Behind" Civil Liberties


ACRU Staff


March 10, 2008

The ACLU has applauded as a “civil rights victory” a

$65,000 settlement for a small-town art teacher who was fired from his job

for painting paintings on the Internet with his butt. Yes, you read that

right. It says what you thought it says.

* * *

The facts for this Outrage come from an article in the Danville, Va.,

Register & Bee for 10 March, 2008.

Stephen Murmer was fired last year as an art teacher at Monacan High School

in Chesterfield County, after students discovered a video of him in

disguise, calling himself Stan Murmur, and painting paintings with his

buttocks. Although the article says that Murmer is the “pioneer of butt

painting” according to Ripley’s Believe It or Not, the article is unclear as

to how this is done. Whether brushes are involved, and if so, how they are

“held” is unclear from the article.

The only clue as to technique that the article offers is this: in the video,

Mr. Murmer “wore a thong and was disguised with a turban and Groucho Marx


In any event, Mr. Murmer’s tendency to get a little behind in his work,

publicly, came to the attention of school officials. They decided this was

“conduct unbecoming” to a school teacher, and fired him. The ACLU then

entered the picture, claiming this was discrimination against a certain form

of freedom of speech.

This paragraph from the article deserves to be quoted in full and as is: “‘I

think this lawsuit has sent a message to school administrators that teachers

have a right to express themselves outside the classroom,’ said ACLU of

Virginia Legal Director Rebecca K. Glenburg, who was one of the attorneys

representing Murmer.”

This is not just a message. This is threat to all school boards in the

nation, especially those in small districts who can ill afford a judgment

against them, or an award of attorneys fees, or both, when they fire a

teacher for conduct that they disapprove of, but the ACLU applauds.

Here is the comment of the School Board on this $65,000 settlement: ” ‘The

School Board strongly believes that its decision was justified based on its

core values and the disruption in the classrooms,’ Chairwoman Dianne E.

Pettitt said in the statement. The decision to settle was based on the cost

of continuing with the litigation and ‘the risks, however remote, that the

court would reinstate the teacher to the classroom.’ “

The subject matter of this Outrage is funny to the point of ridiculous. But

the bottom line, if you will excuse that expression, is quite serious. The

ACLU is not in the civil liberties business. It is in the legal extortion

business. It will extract money especially from small towns and small

school boards, whenever it catches them enforcing “community values” which

the ACLU does not like. That is what just happened in Danville. That can

happen in any community in America.

Source for original story on the Net:



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