Psychology Teacher Fired over Obituary Assignment


Last Friday, on the 7th of April, a teacher in Orange County Florida was fired for making his students write their own obituaries. Jeffery Greene, one of the school’s psychology teachers, asked his students to act like they were dead, to look back on their accomplishments and what they thought was important in their lives and to write it in their fictious obituaries. Though, the nature of this lesson is immensely controversial, as Greene got this idea after being told of their active shooter drill that occurred later that day (NBC news).  

The psychology teacher told reporters at NBC news that he “wasn’t trying to upset [them] or anything.” His idea was that this would make students reflect on their lives and see what kind of life they wanted to live. “In my mind I did nothing wrong” Greene said, he only did this to open the students’ eyes and “talk real” with them. However, many people, including students and parents at Dr. Phillips High School, think he went about this in the wrong way.  

Greene’s assignment in question, which led to him losing his teaching position.

When students saw the task and listened to Greene explain the obituary assignment, many who were negatively affected went to guidance counselors after the class, which led to him losing his teaching position at the school. In his canvas post for his class, Greene said it was to “reflect on mass shootings.” On one hand, this could be potentially traumatizing to students in relation to school shootings. It could make them fear coming to school and associate it with death. They were only 16-17, but kids that age should be able to handle real world problems… right? 

Greene told NBC that “[he] didn’t think that 16, 17, 18-year-olds would get offended or upset by talking about something we’re already talking about”. Many agree with him, saying that recently kids have gotten more sensitive and firing him was an exaggerated response. Greene’s lesson has gained media traction and the question now being proposed is: was this an okay thing to do?