Responding to the ridicule of teachers and the teaching profession by politicians and self proclaimed "experts"!
"Where is Albert Shanker now that we need him?" - Walt Sautter

Monday, November 14, 2011

"Have You Hugged a Child Today?" I hope not!

   The recent accusations and firings at Penn State got me to thinking. During my teaching career I served as Grievance Chairman and was involved in several cases were teachers were accused of inappropriate behavior with students. None of the accusations where ever proven but the consequences of the accusations impacted the careers and lives of each of the accused.
  In one case a teacher was forced to resign from a position he had held for over five years. Two years after the incident the children who had accused him admitted to another teacher of having fabricated the entire event.
In another instance the accused teacher was given the choice of facing a thirty year prison term and losing all pension benefits for his family or admit guilt and resign. Obviously, he selected the later. Was he really guilty? We will never know.
   Let me also mention the Kelly Micheals case in South Orange. She was accused, prosecuted, convicted and jailed. Later all charges were recanted!
How about the McMartin Preschool incident in California, a similar situation.
I am not saying that all accused persons (teachers included) are innocent and I am not saying that these incidents should not be investigated thoroughly. What I am saying is that we must avoid assuming that once an accusation is made it must be true.
  All this brings me to my point relating to the Penn State situation. Based on the overwhelming media coverage I won't be surprised if a "witch hunt mentality" will soon rear its ugly head (if it hasn't already).
   It is truly unfortunate that in this environment it is vital for all teachers to be aware that a pat on the head, a facial expression or even a mere word can result in devastating consequences. The days of "have you hugged your children today" are long gone. They have been replaced by "have you done or said anything today that could be misinterpreted" and "I hope no child will accuse me today because of a bad grade or a discipline measure I might have taken".
   Teaching (and coaching) have become high risk jobs.  I don't  think much of the public appreciates that fact.  We are fortunate to still have people  willing to suffer those extreme exposures in order to educate our children.

2 comments:

  1. In regards to your blog on Nov. 14 commenting about the Penn State situation I think is a little off base. The real shame is how the president of the college, head football coach, assistant football coaches and athletic director handled the whole situation. They did nothing for almost 10 years and sat on their hands while young children were being molested in the college locker room showers. Even the college students cared little about the victims and more about their precious football team. Why was a pedophile allowed to continue to have privileges at University when they knew his previous offenses. I believe in due process, but at least let's do an investigation to see if any of the allegations are true or not. People are clamoring for a independent investigation who have no ties to the University. Let's see what happens with that request. Jack Parish

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  2. I do appreciate your efforts on behalf of alerting the education community to the robberies perpetrated by fatso and all the government types who lie and who are totally ignorant of what to do. No one can say you haven't tried, but I think right now that school districts at least should make sure that who they hire are worthy of getting the job, regardless of the tenure issue. The starting salaries up there are pretty good, if jobs exist. I wonder if anyone really knows what to do. I personally think all that standardized testing to evaluate teachers crap is, well, crap ... the usual stupidity that hides the reality that someone (administrators, Boards, teachers, and, of course, parents) are just not doing their job ... which needs to be defined for 2012 and redefined every so often. Times have changed, you know. I am struck by one thing surrounding this Penn State business. Remember J.B.? The coach is screwing two juniors, he's given a "recommendation" then does the same thing at the next school, if I recall. And G. K. is banished to an elementary school.

    Ron B.

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What do you think?