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field trips

High School Teacher Banned From Teaching After Taking Students to Cuba to Meet Prostitutes

The New York City special investigator for schools has concluded that Nathan Turner, an already-retired Beacon high school teacher, can never work in city schools again because, three years ago, he took his students on a stealth trip to Cuba, saying he wanted "to see Mr. Castro one more time before he died." Apparently, after the trip was nixed by school administration, Turner, who identifies as a Communist and whose classroom walls sported posters of Castro and Che Guevara, organized the trip through a local religious center. He got permission from parents of 30 students by telling them that it was not an official Department of Education excursion.

However, aside from being kind of creepy, the trip violated federal restrictions: Educational trips are permitted between the United States and Cuba only for students of college age or older. Still, it sounds like it was really fun:

Students, among other things, interviewed a 15-year-old prostitute and a homeless man in Havana and jammed with musicians at a renowned Afro-Cuban jazz club.


The students and teacher were briefly detained in the Bahamas on the return trip, but all's well that ends with an extra-credit report on Cuban prostitutes.

'Communist Teacher Blamed for Improper Cuba Trip' [City Room/NYT]

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Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images