Teacher Robert Duncan Fired For Obama Cartoons Fights For His Job Back

teacher robert duncan fired for violent obama cartoons

Political cartoons can spark furies, like the Danish cartoon controversy of 2005, or the Bangladesh cartoon controversy of 2007, or the Trayvon Martin cartoon controversy of early 2012. The latest is ripping apart the small town of Slidell, La., and the controversial cartoonists are in junior high.

Their teacher, Robert Duncan, was fired earlier this month from Boyet Junior High School in Slidell for displaying the students' depictions of President Barack Obama, which some found violent and racially charged. But during his appeal, other teachers in the southeast Louisiana city have stepped up to passionately defend their former colleague.

Duncan hung up his student's pictures in late January in the hallway outside his classroom. But some of the cartoons, like one depicting a bullet hole in Obama's temple (pictured above) and another implying that it was Obama hunting season, disturbed a passing parent. The parent snapped photos of the cartoons on her cellphone and sent them to the media, according to Duncan's attorneys. Then the firestorm began.

Secret Service agents went to the homes of two of the students, reports The Times-Picayune, and questioned the children and their parents to see if they posed a real threat to the president. Duncan was placed on paid administrative leave, and on Aug 6., Superintendent Trey Folse officially ended Duncan's 13-year career at Boyet.

Folse testified on Wednesday that Duncan was fired for "making a bad, incompetent" decision by posting the "violent" pictures, as well as for dishonesty.

More: 8 Bizarre Teacher Scandals You Won't Believe

But during Duncan's appeal last week, two of his former colleagues testified that the political cartoons were a completely appropriate assignment. "Not only is it an appropriate assignment, but it's recommended," said Mark Selzer, the school's social studies chair.

"I did not see the element of racism," he also told CNN. "I saw political points of view being expressed, whether pro-Obama or anti-Obama, and that's what the lesson was designed to do."

Duncan also claimed that the apparent bullet hole in what many consider to be the most worrisome image wasn't there when he first hung up the cartoon. That story is disputed, however, by the student illustrator herself, who claimed that the bullet hole was the result of a marker that had been dropped accidentally.

But the final decision of the appeals panel -- which can only issue a recommendation, not a reversal -- is indefinitely on hold as another storm sweeps through the region. The hearing will resume when Tropical Storm Isaac blows over, reports The Times-Picayne. And then the media can shift from its damage-and-evacuation coverage and back to the battle of the former eighth grade teacher.

Whenever a teacher is fired for seemingly political behavior, the media tends to be on hand, as when a Michigan teacher was dismissed for encouraging her students to raise money for Trayvon Martin's family, or when an Oregon State professor was fired for expressing skepticism of climate change. Boyet Supervisor of Administration Michael Cosse even admitted during the hearing that if the story hadn't been all over the news, Duncan would probably still have his job.

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I used to be a cop in Louisiana, a state of ingrained racism, violent hatred of Jews, Yankees, LGBT folks and "Furriners." It's no surprise that a Louisiana teacher is an ignorant, racist redneck peckerwood. I hope the visit from the Secret Service put the fear of God in that school, Slidell kids have little chance of ever amounting to anything as it is, they don't need ignorant crackers like this making it even worse, y'heah?

March 12 2015 at 10:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The teacher who posted those pictures should be fired. There are no saving graces to his actions. Whatever your political views, the Office of the Presidency, or any individual for that matter who is the object of violent suggestions, especially from young people, is wrong and harmful to us all. You can try to justify it in your own mind, but when you condone a picture of anyone with a bullet hole in theri head, you are condoning the act.

May 08 2013 at 8:34 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rrusso2454's comment

oook, now supposing that "bullet hole" was meant to be a huge wart on the side of his head???? the student said she dropped a marker that made the fateful "bullet hole" and it wasn't intentional. everyone however is entitled to their opinions whether it be daily life or political but the pc police (pc being nothing more than the gubment and the media hammering at you trying to convince you that you can pick up fecal matter by the "clean" end!!) always taking sides in something that is innocent and twisting it around to the point that it is bad to even have an opinion. that my friend is called dumbing down our kids and has been going on since the 50's for sure. they don't want kids to think for themselves what so ever and will fire any teacher that tries to teach them to do so!!

July 24 2013 at 11:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like the big lips on the "obama cartoon". very appropiate and sets him off from the rest. LOL

October 09 2012 at 7:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This @sshole has no business teaching impressionable students if he has no more common sense than to post something so vile and reprehensible. He needs to be fired and then flogged. He now wants a second chance. I would not let my child sit in a classroom under him.

October 08 2012 at 8:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am so sad that freedom of speech can lead people to exercise such poor judgement, and what happened to having a gentleman's position on differing viewpoints? You are not teaching children the right conduct, was there discourse on the reason or just a few chuckles?

October 08 2012 at 4:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Would he have done the same thing for Bush. If there was a Student Cartoon with Bush SUffering a self Inflicted Bullet would at the War memorial in Iraq, with the Caption :"I needed IRAQ , like need a hole in my head."

September 17 2012 at 6:43 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

j/k about the fox and fools comment...however, in all seriousness he should be fired, and maybe even prosecuted..because what did he really mean by that.?? it could be misconstrued as a terroristic threat.

September 17 2012 at 2:44 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

j/k about the fox and fools comment...however, in all seriousness he should be fired, and maybe even prosecuted..because what did he really mean by that.?? it could be misconstrued as a teroristic threat.

September 17 2012 at 2:41 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

maybe he can get a job on fox an fools..

September 17 2012 at 2:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i was ok to do treat W any way they wanted,hypocrites

September 04 2012 at 6:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to alscotti57's comment

It's total stupidity on the teacher's part. It doesn't matter who the president is, allowing something like this is inciting violence. The teacher should have been fired. I would have been as upset regardless of whether I had voted for the candidate or not. This type of behavior is inexcusable.

September 17 2012 at 2:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to alleensmail's comment

You are talking but I don;t hear you. I bet you would have just laughed it it were Bush being depicted in the toon.

October 09 2012 at 4:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

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