For months Phoenix Jones has patrolled the streets of Seattle by night and, as Ben Fodor, taught life skills to autistic children by day. As reported by PubliCola, The Washington Department of Social and Health Services sent Fodor a letter informing him he was barred from working with children. Although the specific reasons for his termination have not been publicized, Fodor was probably disqualified by the DSHS because of his arrest back in October. Although no charges were filed because the case is still under investigation, the court appearance forced him to reveal his secret life as a superhero to the public.
Ben Fodor has been teaching life skills to five autistic minors for the last five years. I do not live in Washington, but I am a credentialed teacher. When you work with children, you have to guard your personal life. The standards of behavior are different when you’re a teacher because you are considered a role model and, for part of the day, are in loco parentis, which is Latin for “in place of a parent.” Because of our status, we have to be very careful of how we conduct ourselves and monitor what we make public.
Fodor was very involved in his students’ lives; he went shopping with them, he showed them how to balance a checkbook, and he accompanied them on walks. When he was arrested, his private persona collided with his public life, and many states do not appreciate it when students know their teachers are humans with lives outside of school. Once Phoenix Jones was unmasked, Fodor’s days of working with children were numbered, especially since his private persona was connected to violence.
The DSHS will probably make the case that his arrest combined with his willingness to put himself in dangerous situations exposes the children to possible harm, so it is unlikely that Fodor will get his job back. Fodor is not sure how he will pay his bills now, but he’s currently entertaining offers from the mixed martial arts organization Strikeforce. In the meantime, he will fight crime during the day as well as continue his night patrols. Ben Fodor might be out of a job, but Phoenix Jones has plenty of work to do.