Florida

The student skit featured a talking penis. It became a drama for the high school teacher.

Choctawatchee High School
Choctawatchee High School

Stephen Henry Rushing, a former drama teacher at a Florida Panhandle school, was tired of seeing other schools' drama departments win competitions. He felt his "Disney-type skits" just weren't competitive with the other edgier entries.

So he got creative at one district competition two years ago by putting together a three-skit reality-show-styled routine.

The skit involving a dead body with an erection and its effect on an anatomy class didn't quite do him in. A skit that featured an art teacher recruiting a student as a model didn't quite do him in. A skit in which students read metaphors that described their sexual organs to an audience didn't quite do him in.

That three-part act just got him a reprimand from Choctawatchee High School administrators and the Okaloosa County School District.

It was the skit, two months later, that finally proved too much. That one involved a talking penis by which a male student sat on a stool and a female student sat on the floor "at the right height" and featured a monologue.

After 16 years as a drama teacher and 29 in the classroom, Rushing, now 66, retired after writing a letter to the Okaloosa district defending his actions, apologizing to any students who felt uncomfortable by the talking penis scene. In his letter to administrators he explained that a student conceived the skit and that "it seemed funny and harmless at the time," reported the NWF Daily News.

His last day at the Fort Walton Beach school was on April 13, 2016. A month later a complaint was submitted to the state ethics commission.

On Friday, the State of Florida Educational Practices Commission revoked Rushing's teaching certificate.

The five-member board in Altamonte Springs and its Senior Assistant Attorney General Lee Ann Gustafson ruled that Rushing violated Florida's principles of professional conduct. They decided he didn't protect his students from harmful conditions, suppressed and distorted subject matter and intentionally exposed a student to embarrassment or disparagement.

The commission said Rushing could reapply for a new teaching certificate after 10 years.

He'd be at least 76 if he chose to do so.

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