Why, yes, I would like an extra helping of disillusionment today.

My first semester of student teaching, a year and a half ago, I observed in his second period class. Cool guy. Great teacher. Unbelievably good at discipline (never saw a kid get out of control in his class) and building a personal rapport with his students. He was a master of subject matter, and taught me more about poetry with one Powerpoint presentation than I got in high school and college put together.

He wrote a fantastic recommendation letter for me. We stayed in touch over email, and I would occasionally yell for help, which he always provided. I considered him a friend and a mentor.

Today, I learned that a woman he molested twenty-five years ago stepped forward and made her allegation. When the powers that be investigated this, he copped to it. Without contacting a lawyer, stalling for time, or playing bullshit games, he admitted that he had sexually assaulted that student all those years ago. All I can think is that he is either incredibly remorseful or that he’s a smug, egocentric bastard who figured that since it was so long ago, no one could touch him. It could be either.

He was, of course, immediately fired. The union washed its hands of him. His credential will - or has - been yanked, and knowing the current mood regarding sexual predators, I’m sure the DA will pursue charges and jail time if my mentor’s victim is willing to cooperate.

Part of me tried to rationalize it for about three minutes, and then wisely shut up. The rest of me seethes with disgust and anger. My stomach has been churning all day over this. I liked him. I admired him. I wanted to emulate his teaching practice. Now all I want to do is punch him in the stomach with a sledgehammer, and after he’s fallen, kick him several times in the face.

Did she cry, asshole? Did she ask you to stop? Did she have to look at your face for weeks, if not months, after you violated her? Did you give her homework assignments and get on her about not working up to her potential? Did you clap her on the shoulder or pat her head during class the way I saw you do with so many other students?

Was it just her or will others start coming forward now? Was it a terrible mistake with extenuating circumstances or a pattern of predation? Did your wife know, and what about her daughter - the stepdaughter whose looks you were so proud of?

What about all your other kids, dammit? The students who will now look back at your class - the one where they learned so much so well - and wonder if you were scoping them out the whole time? What about the rest of us teachers who have to labor with that kind of black mark against us - the male teachers who can’t risk giving extra attention or time to a girl student because they fear just those kinds of suspicion? What about that woman who is now in her forties, married, and has children? What has she been carrying around all these years while you made out like a pillar of the community?

You should, I think, suffer with everything that’s happened to you since she came forward. You deserve to have your thirty year career yanked out of your hands and tossed in the garbage. You deserve to have to register yourself as a sexual offender with the police. You deserve to live the rest of your life in infamy and shame, because what you did is as close to unforgivable as it comes.

You were my friend. You were someone I respected, trusted, and liked. Now, you are less than nothing.

Take what you learned from him, and use it for good. The skills have no karma, save what you grant them.

I’m sorry that you had to see the evil, ugly side of life, Phouka.

You misjudged his character, but this is a lesson to be learned. Be wary of people!

Try to be the best damn teacher that you can be, 'cause Lord knows we need some good teachers.

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT condoning the actions of the teacher accused of sexual assault…IS THAT CLEAR??

However, you stated that the offence occurred 25 years ago. Now, I’m not sure what the current age of the teacher is, but the chances are that he may have been newly out of teachers college (or whatever) and his student may have been a senior. It has only been in more recent years that the FULL dangers of teacher/student sexual involvement have been raised…back in those days, while there was still a prohibition, it was not viewed with the same abhorence as it is today. And given that the teacher and student may not have been too far apart in age, I think your ‘disgust’ at the events may reflect more the contemporary attitude than the one that may have been prevalent back then.

Thus, accusing him of ‘predatory’ behaviour may be an overreaction, and the use of the term ‘violated her’ imposes an imperative that may NOT have been present at the time the ‘offences’ occurred. The sexual contact may have been consensual…which I KNOW does not absolve him of guilt, but it may not warrant such victim/predator type language.

I do NOT think it is up to you to decide what this guy ‘deserves’. I fully understand and empathise with your feelings of betrayal, but it might be useful to step back a minute and ponder…all sorts of otherwise good people sometimes find themselves in situations (perhaps similar to this) that they would not normally expect and which they later sincerely regret. Given that this bloke is not contesting the charges, it may be safe to assume that he is prepared to fully acknowledge his responsibility and liability for his previous behaviour. IMHO, that makes him an honest man, at least in this circumstance.

I hesitate to say this, for fear of minimising the evil that he has done, but I’d like to point out that this man is more than just the horrible thing he has done (and the horrible motivations that made him do it).

He was still a good teacher and mentor. The assault doesn’t change that. Don’t let this revelation poison all the good things you’ve learned from him, and the memory of all the good experiences you’ve had with him.

He did a monstrous thing, but he’s not a monster. He’s just a man.

Hmmm…well, unless he went back, or took a double major, elementary ed and secondary ed (high school, junior high) are different majors and fields of study.

So it’s unlikely this was a student in an upper grade.

Guin, I’m not familiar with the education structure in the US. Can you explain further why this girl could not have been in a senior class? I’ve re-read the OP, and can’t find any suggestion as to how old the girl may have been at the time.
(Again, this is not meant to minimize the responsibility of the teacher, and I KNOW there is no such thing as consensual sex when there is clearly a power differential (if not an age one), but I’m still curious!!)

All you need to be a highschool teacher is any bachelor degree and a teacher certificaton.

I’m saying, with education fields-you have to have a degree in elementary (kindergarten through fifth/sixth grades, and high school/junior high, which would be sixth/seventh-twelth).

Basically, kids under ages 11-and under are considered elementary school-for which you would need a separate degree.

It’s a different field of study.

-former education major

The OP says that the abuse happened 25 years ago, and the woman is now in her forties. So she would have had to be over fifteen, unless there’s some rounding-up going on in the figures there.

Not that that makes it AT ALL right what this teacher did. Or any less of a kick in the guts for phouka to find out that a person s/he respected was abusing students in his care like this.


Um, not to make light of the situation - if this man raped this girl, I hope they throw the book at him; however…

A few years ago, a man was arrested for sexual assult in Edmonton. He was accused of assulting a number of women he worked with. He pled guilty. He was sentenced to community service. COMMUNITY SERVICE?!?!?!? you say? FOR A VISCIOUS SEXUAL PREDATOR you say? WITH MULTIPLE VICTIMS you say?

Well yah. Basically the guy pled guilty to pinching women’s butts. “Sexual Assult” does not necessarily mean what you think it means.

To anyone who has had their butt pinched and felt violated, I appologize; however, I just find the idea of a man who made a poor decision, lost his job, and is going to have a perminant criminal record and is now going to have to register as a “sexual offender” all for pinching butts a bit hard to take.

Or, just speculating and not wanting to diminish his actions or discount them, he could have learned from the situation and vowed never to do it again and be a better teacher. He may have realized the disgust in what he did, and that’s why he openly admitted it when questioned.

**alice_in_wonderland, ** just wanted to point out that “butt-pinching” may have been a first step up to more touching, patting, etc. Could have eventually led to a greater sexual assault. “But officer, I pinched her butt one time and she didn’t make a complaint!” Kind of like abusers who start, as small children, by hurting animals, then move on to people as they get older. Any unasked for touching has to be looked on as potentially problematic.

True. True.

However, I just feel in this particular case the man a) should have been fired; b) should have had a sexual harrasment charge on his record; c) should not work with women.

Being written up as a “dangerous sexual predator” which is pretty much what happens in Canada if a person is convicted on “Sexual Assult” seems completely inappropriate in this situation.

Guinastasia, I don’t see anything about elementary ed in the OP.

phouka, that really sucks. Considering your close relationship, maybe eventually, at the right time and place, you’ll have the opportunity to ask him about it. Maybe he’ll be able to tell you what he did, and how he feels about it.

God, I hope she was the only one. :frowning:

I think kambuckta and kamandi have said it pretty well. Put me in thier camp on this issue.

I was trying to explain how someone who is a high school teacher wouldn’t switch to elementary very easily.

That’s all.

Either way, this guy’s a jerk.


Why, exactly?

I thought he said the teacher was an elementary school teacher.

That’s all.

Guys-I screwed up. You’re right. I was just confused.

I wonder if streaking my hair blond is responsible for my brain lapses…

My first chance to check back in.

On Friday, I ran into another teacher in the department, and her response was much more tempered. Here’s what it boils down to:

  • no info has been given out on what the allegation was, although it fell into the broad camp of “sexual assault”. It was, however, serious enough for a notoriously spineless administration to fire him on the spot (and these are the same people who took years to “retire out” a teacher who made comments like “I’d like to fuck her” about a student in front of his class).

  • no one else has come out with any allegations, but then, this hasn’t gotten any publicity. So.

  • the original teacher who told me had some sort of personality conflict/professional rivalry thing going on.

  • 25 years ago, my mentor was in his late twenties and had been teaching for 6 or 7 years. He was not just out of Teacher School. He was probably (from my memory of discussions we had) in the middle or at the end of his first marriage, which he described as being pretty miserable.

  • the fact that he admitted to it immediately and didn’t go to a lawyer to cover his ass makes me think that he was remorseful. Maybe. I hope.

  • when he started teaching, he had underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) classes. When I observed his classes, he was teaching English 10 Honors and English 11.

  • his wife works in the department as well. She’s coping, I guess. Teachers don’t really keep up with each other over the summer, and the allegations came out in June.

  • probably all the other older male teachers (and maybe even a few of the females) are shaking in their boots over this. Twenty-five years ago. It’s a lifetime. Mores were different back then, and it was probably much easier to rationalize.

kambukta, I’d like you to review my post and point out where I set myself up as this man’s judge and jury. I talked about my reactions, my emotions, not what I thought should happen to him at the hands of the criminal justice system or his employers.

The reason why I leaned more towards considering this to be some sort of predatory behavior is that the school would not have instantly fired him over butt pinching. They probably wouldn’t have done it over a consensual sexual relationship. A woman isn’t going to report a twenty five year old offense if it’s something lightweight, and even if she had, he wouldn’t have given up his career over it. Even if he would have, the school district wouldn’t have immediately fired him. It’s not their MO.

My anger stems in part from the assumption that he (an adult) hurt a child (the victim). It also is there because he took a fantastic educator out of the system - himself. He hurt that one student, maybe others. He also helped thousands of other ones. It’s impossible for me to weigh the good separate from the bad. That makes me even angrier.

I considered him a friend. Part of me wants me to reach out and offer support. Part of me wants to hand him over to his victim. God only knows what his wife is going through.