Popular teacher suspended after porn movie joke

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - A popular high school government teacher known for his rapport with students and his sometimes edgy humor was suspended from his position at Shawnee Mission North last week after a joke posted on his desk drew administrative attention.

A source familiar with details of the incident, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, said someone objected to a joke written on teacher Ben Keech's quote board-- a section of his desk where students often write down his funniest one-liners.

Keech made the joke several weeks ago to a classroom full of seniors during a discussion about obscenity and the courts.

According to the source and students present at the time, Keech was discussing how pornography remains a constant in obscenity cases and joked about how someone renting "101 Dalmatians" from a video rental store might run into someone renting a fictional "101 Ways to do your mom."

That movie title made the quote board and weeks later someone lodged a complaint.

Keech was pulled from his classroom last Wednesday and faces a preliminary hearing on Monday with SMSD officials.

Students 41 Action News spoke to on Tuesday, an admittedly small and activist sample, supported Keech-- who also sponsors a Christian club and bible study for students.

"He knows he has seniors. It's government. Not too exciting. He knows how to get your attention by saying some edgy humor," Madison McLenon said, a senior student of Keech and a member of the Christian 121 Club.

Madeleine Layton took Keech's senior-level government class last semester and remembered him making the same joke then.

"You could categorize almost all of his jokes as ‘inappropriate,’ but if you're a student in his class... it was kind of an inside joke. No one took it offensively," she said. "I hear stuff like that in the hallways all the time."

Other students defended Keech on Facebook and Twitter, some using the hashtag #freeKeech.

A change.org petition asking SMSD to reinstate Keech had more than 600 signatures and counting on Tuesday night.

A district spokesperson had no comment Tuesday, other than to confirm Keech's employment. 

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