Home Forum General disscusions Do I have recourse

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 0 reply threads
  • Author
    • #7441

      Here’s a story about why it’s hard being a male teacher. I had been subbing in a science classroom, giving tests and dealing with the teacher’s inadequate preparations. (Suspension & Brake repair handouts in with the Biology worksheets, balky web sites.) In the last 15 minutes of the day the principal came into the room and took me to his office. As we walked I hoped that he was going to offer me a long-term sub job. In his office he told me that one of the girls had accused me of taking her picture with my cell phone. I was stunned. I’ve tried so hard to keep myself above reproach, and now here it was, an abuse allegation. He asked to see my phone. I showed him, twice, that it had no pictures on it other than the ones that came with it. (I’ve no interest in using the camera.) I tried to send one of the stock photos off my phone, and proved to him that I couldn’t do it. Later, to prove to him I’d not sent a photo from my camera I sent him a copy of my itemized bill, which clearly showed that no photo had been transmitted from my phone that day, or any day. No proof of my innocence satisfied him, I was still punished with banishment from his building, and later from the entire district.

      What made the student think I’d taken her picture? I was in a room that had no clock, the other teacher that shared the room with me had logged off the computer so that I could not see its clock, and I’d forgotten my watch that day. The only clock I had was my cell phone. Due to glare from the lights I had to raise the phone up, then, because I see with one eye I tend to turn my good eye towards what I’m looking at. The teacher had asked me to monitor the test closely, so I was standing at the front of the class. Each time I raised the phone the lens, whose cover was closed, faced where she sat, an action that could be misinterpret by a young mind. I don’t like that I was not given due process in this matter, just summarily banished. How can I deal with this? Do I have any recourse to clear my name? Another innocent incident occurred three years ago when during a late in the day planning period I got a call on my cell that my Father had had a heart attack, but was doing well. (He was in Michigan, me in Oregon.) After dismissal the principal intercepted me in the hall, saying he’d had a complaint that I’d been staring at a female student. I had been distracted during that last period, perhaps staring into space too long in one direction, but I wasn’t staring at anyone. He understood.

      Unproven allegations such as these could end my teaching career, especially if the district informs other districts of these unproven allegations of unacceptable behavior towards female students. Were they to do that I could be dropped by all districts I work in. I am not sure how I’ll fight this should that happen. This shows that even a student’s misperception of an action can seriously hurt a male teachers life and livelihood. What also rankles me is that there is no due process with appeal in the system. This incident especially pains me because after my divorce, my Ex married a convicted sex/physical abuser of young girls and boys. I tried to take my daughter away from them by going to court, but the court told me if I didn’t stop they’d recommend my Ex charge me with harassment! The sad part of all this is that now, to protect myself, I have to consider all my students, especially my female students, as a potential threat to my livelihood. Every day in class I have to think about how my every action and word may be interpreted or misinterpreted by students or staff. I think that this is worse for subs than building teachers because we are strangers in the building. An example; during my first assignment in an unfamiliar building I picked up some hall trash. I saw a trash can, but it was just inside the entrance of a girls’ bathroom. Throwing that trash away may have appeared to someone else that I was exiting a girls’ bathroom. As a result of lessons I’ve learned, and what I’ve read of others’ lessons learned, there are things I do and don’t do in, and outside of, my classroom. I no longer take my cell phone into my classroom. I don’t go into my classroom if only female students are present. If female students sit in a part of my room that is hard to see, I don’t go there unless I must. When I help a female student, I kneel down beside her so I can’t be accused of looking down their fronts. I no longer close my classroom door, nor do I turn all the lights out when showing a video. I don’t make extended eye contact with female students while talking to them. I won’t touch, or hug a student (but when one rushes up and hugs me I’m not going to shove the child away because they likely won’t understand why, but I do look around to see who saw it). I never, ever, ever comment on a students’ appearance. When it is raining, snowing or cold I never pick up one of my students, male or female, unless they are in direct threat of a weather injury. I do not communicate with any students outside of school hours in any way. I hate having to live as if half my students are a threat to my livelihood. I can hear some of you thinking that I go too far, but you won’t think so if these things happen to you.

      Even outside of school there are potential problems of others misinterpreting what they see. I was driving three middle school girls, the daughter and her friends of a long-time-friend of mine to a modeling party in her mothers car. The girls were all dressed up, full make-up and everything. My friend’s daughter commented on odd behavior she noticed in a woman passenger in a passing car. As the car passed I saw the woman twisting back in her seat, an angry look on her face, looking down as if trying to read the license plate of the car I was driving, her cell phone to her ear. I thought, great, am I’m going to see the State Police in my rear view mirror soon. Nothing happened, but it did make me sweat a bit. Is there any resource that I can use to defend myself from the allegations and clear my name? Do I have any recourse if the district tells other districts and I get dropped? What have been some other teachers experiences, and how did they deal with them?

Viewing 0 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.