Annie Bynum and Erin Dobias are two middle school counselors at Mountain View Middle School in Oregon. As part of the Newberg Public School District, their ability to provide professional services for children in the public education system has been pushed aside to pander personal politics. Instead of focusing on the needs of students, these two counselors posted a disrespectful TikTok video, and have been put on administrative leave.
This was in direct response to the district’s decision to ban all biased flags. Last summer the school board voted to prohibit flying anything other than the American flag and that of Oregon State. It goes for all classes, from elementary to middle school, and high school. This measure was passed in light of divisive politics entering classrooms at an alarming rate. Instead of cherry-picking which ideological flags are allowed to be flown in public classrooms, these public schools chose to allow only the flag of United States citizens and that of the people of Oregon in an effort to unify students instead of furthering divides. A new policy was drafted which would additionally go so far as, “prohibiting the display of political signs, flags, apparel, buttons, and placards, and all other modes of display from District facilities, with the sole exception of the American Flag and Oregon state flag, with exemptions as it sees proper.”
Progressive teachers were outraged by the measure. Especially these middle school counselors. They wished to overturn the new policy, and even filed a lawsuit against the district. The superintendent was fired back in November without explanation, but the public school year continued on and the ban remained in place.
In retaliation for not being allowed to force their politics onto other people’s children, counselors Annie Bynum and Erin Dobias posted a TikTok video dancing and shouting F U to school board officials over the policy. These two middle school staff members have posted numerous Tik Toc videos, seeking the limelight. Erin Dobia posted a video cursing about someone taking her parking space, there is another one sharing a confidential student incident, and an additional video of them pretending to beat each other up in the classroom. Whether these are meant to be a fun way to connect with students or a poor attempt at becoming famous, they were made in the school. Whether or not these women utilized actual work hours for this purpose is undetermined, but they are making headlines now.
The F U video has gone viral. All over social media, the response is mixed. Some people are praising these middle school employees’ behavior, while others are pointing to it as an example of why public schools are facing record enrollment drops and staffing shortages.
Regardless of whether or not anyone agrees with their message, the question of what is acceptable behavior from education professionals is now being debated. Many parents do not wish for their children to throw tantrums when they do not get their way, so when two grown women act out because their employer does not support their wish to push personal ideologies onto their students, it does nothing to help the middle school’s image or encourage students to act their age. If and when these counselors will be allowed back to work has yet to be announced, but whether or not they should be is also now in the spotlight.