Yesterday in our 705 class we had an informative, yet shocking discussion of Preventing Educator Sexual Misconduct. The topic of discussion reminded me of a regrettable situation that happened not too long ago to someone I know. He was a young teacher who was becoming a valuable part of our school family. We were aware that some of the girls in school liked him, so I (and others) told him to be careful regarding his relationship with the female students. There are some lines that should never be crossed . . . not even approached . . . not even contemplated!!
I told him directly that when it comes to sexual misconduct, we do not have to “be” guilty – we just have to “appear” guilty. To make a long story short, he sadly did not take the advice given and was swiftly terminated for violating Policy 5-1.2. The School Board shall maintain for all its employees a working and learning environment that provides for fair and equitable treatment, including freedom from sexual harassment. It is prohibited for any employee or student, male or female, to harass another employee or student by making unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, or engaging in other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: (1) submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment or academic decisions affecting the employee or student; (2) such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or learning environment; or (3) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of the individual’s employment or participation in school programs. As used elsewhere in this policy, the term “harassment” specifically includes sexual harassment.
Gratefully, I cannot say that I learned anything from his actions and subsequent termination. The wrongdoing on his part was black & white; there was no gray area in what he was found guilty of doing. I was told early in my career that the two quickest ways to lose your job in education is to engage in unlawful teacher-student relations and to steal. One would think this is a very rare occurrence, but according to today’s MSN report, teacher sex crimes are on the rise. When will they learn??