Monday, November 5, 2007

Teachers Accused of Sex Crimes

Court Papers Reveal Teacher’s Relationship With Students
Teacher Sex Scandal on Dr. Phil
About 1 in 4 disciplined teachers accused of sex-related offenses

Maybe I live in a bubble but I was unaware of how bad this has gotten. Or is the media just reporting more of this? It feels like every day I read or hear on the news about another teacher who is accused of a sex crime. This has got to stop but I don’t know what it is going to take to stop it. I am frustrated because I have racked my brains trying to think of some way that the government could prevent this. These sexual predators are giving teachers a bad name so no wonder no one wants to go into teaching! Of course my husband told me to calm down and keep in mind that many teachers are accused who aren’t guilty so I felt like I needed to come up with a list that could help good teachers from being accused of this. All it takes is one student to be mad at you and they can accuse you of anything. Even if you are innocent, these accusations can ruin your reputation and career.

1. Never be alone with a student in a room with the door closed. I talk to students out in the hallway if there is a problem. If a student comes to my room during my planning period, I always leave the door open. If I hold any student for detention, I usually join up with another teacher and we hold our students together in one room.
2. Never drive a student anywhere in your personal car. I have seen teachers offering rides to students who are waiting for parents or can’t reach anyone at home. Let an administrator handle this situation.
3. Never be in a vehicle alone with a student. On field trips, I have seen teachers take a discipline problem to the bus to wait on the class. I would not suggest this.
4. Be very wary of touching a student. My special ed students got a light pat on the shoulder (I used to give hugs but in this day and time you have to be careful).
5. Do not tolerate any sexual jokes or comments in your presence. If a student acts inappropriate by talking about sex, drawing pictures about sex, joking about sex or anything like this, immediate tell them to stop it. Report it the next time it happens. If you don’t, you could be accused of encouraging it or not doing anything about it.
6. Be very careful about the clothes you wear. I see too many young female teachers wearing low cut blouses and tight pants. It may pass the teacher dress code but is this really the message you want to send to your students?
7. Be very aware of any student who may show signs of having a crush on you. When this happened, I mentioned my husband and family a lot and encouraged them to visit and meet my class. This usually helped.
8. Last, don’t put yourself in any position where a student could accuse you of something.

It’s sad that we have to even think this way but unfortunately it is the way the world is. We can rant and rage that this isn’t fair and teachers shouldn’t have to do these things, but is it worth the risk to your career?

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