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Hawaii man’s opinions on sex keep him from becoming teacher

A federal appeals court says the University of Hawaii didn’t violate the First Amendment when it denied a teaching certificate for a Caltech-educated aspiring high school teacher who expressed views condoning adults having sex with minors.

In a ruling Tuesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Mark Oyama’s comments were relevant in determining whether he should be allowed to work as a public school teacher. According to the ruling, Oyama made other comments his professors found concerning, such as disabled students being “fakers.”

Oyama’s attorney, Eric Seitz, says the ruling is troubling because it allows the university to censor someone’s opinions that aren’t acted upon.

Oyama has a bachelor’s degree in math from the California Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in physics from the University of Hawaii.

27 responses to “Hawaii man’s opinions on sex keep him from becoming teacher”

  1. mikethenovice says:

    Book smarts and NO street smarts spells a person with no common sense.

  2. Cellodad says:

    Thank you 9th Circuit for keeping this guy out of classrooms. I can just imagine the two years of documented investigations that would have ensued.

  3. DeltaDag says:

    Better be cautious if you’re an aspiring artist, author or educator. Only if you have the established reputation and stature such as the late Arthur C. Clarke enjoyed, can you broach artistic or literary expressions of incest or sex with minors. You’d think with First Amendment protections there should be no worries in this regard (at least in this country), but you’d be sadly mistaken.

    • HanabataDays says:

      The issue here is only with educators, not with artists or authors. This guy is an “aspiring high school teacher”. His opinions on sex with minors have every bearing on his suitability for that job. With a math degree from CalTech and a master’s in physics, he’s overqualified for that work. It makes folks wonder why he’s looking in that direction when he could be teaching at the college level.

    • TigerEye says:

      Are you sure you don’t mean mean Robert Heinlein?

    • choyd says:

      Um, you don’t see a problem with someone trying to work with minors preaching that it’s okay to have inappropriate relationships with them? Would you argue that a pedophile should not be barred from daycare?

      • TigerEye says:

        It seems he was making a random point about how status makes First Amendment goalposts movable for artists and literary figures — nothing to do with educators, this case or this article. Your question is moot.

  4. marcus says:

    Interesting….so does UH believe that no minor should get married to a person over the age of 18? What was the basis of the teachers comment? This reporter was overly simplistic in his/her research of the case.

    • Cellodad says:

      The point is that when one is a teacher, it becomes a position of relative power and authority over a minor. You just don’t ever abuse it.

      • kuewa says:

        No, that is not the point of this case. Student-teacher sexual relationships are prohibited by most institutions even if the student is not a minor. The issue in this case is that in a UH teacher certification class assignment, Mr. Oyama expressed his opinion that online predation of minors should be legal and that laws regarding age-of-consent should be eliminated. In addition, he expressed the opinion that some disabled students are fakers. His professors found his written opinions to be disturbing and declined to award him a teaching certificate. Mr. Oyama sued based on free speech claims and has lost his case. He has never been accused of any relevant crimes.

    • HanabataDays says:

      Fortunately, the 9th Circuit wasn’t simplistic in its assessment and made the correct decision.

      And if your takeaway from the article was that the UH believes “no minor should get married to a person over 18”, you’re a pretty simplistic reader. Nowhere is that stated or implied.

      • marcus says:

        My takeaway from this article is that it did not give enough background. I learned more from Kuewa’s comment above than I did from this article, and now I learned just how big a jack wagon you are s n o t nose days!

        • DeltaDag says:

          marcus, as you’ve discovered, some posters here have more than a little bit of “Keyboard Kommando” complex in their online personas. Console yourself that these folks likely don’t talk to their spouses, close friends or dogs and cats this way.

      • marcus says:

        Agreed Delta!

  5. den says:

    wait, this guy has a master’s degree in physics and he says things like that.
    he may be missing a screw somewhere.


    • TigerEye says:

      I’d say the two main ingredients of an advanced degree are a work ethic and (then) intelligence — neither of which necessarily requires tight screws, good judgement or what he might put out there passing for morals. But, yes: amazing.

  6. Oahuan says:

    I can see the ACLU talking to Oyama on this. Watch out.

  7. richierich says:

    Him and Ben Cayetano both. Remember when Gov. Ben Cayetano vetoed the bill raising the age of consent from 14 to 16.

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