[MenTeach: We receive e-mails from readers about issues that they are facing. Can anyone provide him with advice? We’ve removed any identifying information to protect his privacy.]
I am a male para-educator, and I currently work for the X County Public School District, in [a state in the United States], assisting developmentally disabled young post high school students in becoming more independent as young adults.
In May 2012, shortly before the school year ended, our transitional program was shut down, and all of us paras were being farmed out to the high schools, and any students (from here on out) graduating from high school will be remaining in their high schools for another three years, until they reach the age of 21, according to state law.
I was supposed to be transferred to Y High School, which was my first choice, but I found out that I was going to be REQUIRED by the school district to transport one male student in the morning and one female student in the afternoon, alone in MY personal vehicle, for the next year. When I told my union rep of this, she took the entire summer to answer me, and she basically said that I would have to talk with my supervisors to see if they could somehow resolve this issue. I found out this week that since I wasn’t willing to transport, I would HAVE to take another position much farther from my home.
When I spoke with the Risk Management division, I was accused of “extrapolating.” I am aware of two other male teachers here in [the State] who were wrongfully accused of sexual misconduct, and were both proven innocent in two separate jury trials. Their students had, in both situations, been attempting to get their teachers in trouble, and BOTH of these teachers lost their jobs, their reputations and will probably never work for another school in [this State].
Why would I want to place myself in such a precarious situation? Should I put myself in such a situation? And what is going to happen to the next para who steps into that situation? I feel that it is my responsibility to make this flawed method of administration known to those who matter in our state government. Am I taking on more than I should, or should I just drop the issue and accept the alternative position?