I recently read your article on MSN News. I am a late middle aged male middle school teacher (2nd career) with tenure in a large Urban district; 7 years experience; husband of a veteran teacher; I lead my middle school in TVASS test gains for subjects taught; also a Union member. Impeccable employment record and without any blemishes or criminal history.
Last spring, after mildly disciplining two female students (calls to parents and office referrals) a small group of female students, falsely alleged I had touched them inappropriately. The nightmare that ensued was horrific. Though I immediately asked my principal for a thorough investigation by the authorities, my principal deemed it unnecessary and told me that she would write me a letter exonerating me, since she nor their parents (of the girls) believed the students.
Instead, the principal writes me a poorly written, letter of reprimand one month later, as she was directed by Human Resources (HR). Only by the grace of our school resource police officer coming to my aid and alerting her superiors of my plight, and then the police decision to launch a proper investigation, was I cleared of any wrong doing. Deeming the matter…”completely unfounded.” The police determined quickly the female students lied to get back at me and my principal failed to follow proper procedure. The principal was transferred and I returned to my old school.
I now am active with my union and am trying to make sure this nightmare doesn’t happen again to me or any other teacher. A good friend, a powerful Attorney and Councilman in our city, came to my aid to make sure my rights were protected. Additionally, I was mistreated by a human resource director, who believed I was guilty.
In fact, she insulted me in front of my union rep., who accompanied me to my meeting where my suspension was discussed (this suspension occurred once the police began their investigation). I was thoroughly humiliated by this individual in our Human Resources.
Three weeks ago…ten months after the girls made their false allegations, I recently had a meeting with this HR person’s superior to inform them of her abuse of my fundamental rights to due process. I have yet to hear back if any action was taken to prevent this from happening again. I am letting the union deal with this matter.
But I am writing you at the suggestion from one of our school board members who is very alarmed at what happened to me. Both he and several board members desire more male teachers, as does our recently elected mayor. Yet, if my experience isn’t addressed, then what male would want to place themselves in such a precarious situation? I myself am looking at other options.
Do you know of any school systems who have a policy in place to discourage these kind of vindictive acts by students against teachers? Simply, are you aware of any written codes in student handbooks in any school systems that spell out disciplinary action for students who have been determined to be lying, to get back at a teacher?
Read some tips to deal with false accusations.