Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The surreal world of discipline within an American public school Part II

This kid, who had a D or so, was now a TA for some teacher. He could spend the rest of the trimester (about 3 weeks) sitting on his duff, stapling papers, for an A. 
Despite covering my bases,  I was the one being blamed for this debacle.  I had made my classroom rules clear, given warnings, taken abuse from this kid.  I had let the parents know, hoping to head off any escalation in the conflict, and they had continued to go after me.   I had contacted the principal and let her know that I had been on top of this and despite that, this "child" had continued to disrupt the class and misbehave.  Furthermore, he seemed hellbent on creating issues for me.

I emailed the principal that summer and asked what her protocol was for complaints.  Normally, the first person parents should talk to is the teacher.  That's exactly what she told me and I let her know AGAIN; that the parents had gone straight to her and never spoke to me.  When the Summer ended, I sent copies of this jerk's papers to the parents.  These were the papers where he bragged about misbehaving and was unnecessarily critical of me.  It was addressed to the father.  I wrote "If this was my child, I would want to know what was going on."  Approximately a month later, I received an envelope in my classroom from the parents.  The writing was so poor, I presumed that the kid might have written it.  Nope.  Mommy, the reading teacher, was no scholar.  Now she was telling me that I had waited too long to send their child's "work," and that this now constituted harassment of their child.

Let's see.  She was telling me that she would have actually responded to any indication that her angel was misbehaving.  Well.  I assume she knew he was working on the yearbook.  Wouldn't she have wanted to see the pages he contributed to?  Hmmmm......no 8th grade boy's basketball pics.  God.  The hypocrisy of it all. This letter indicated the parents would go to the school district's board meeting to attempt to have me removed as I "didn't belong in a classroom with children." If you care to see this teenager in action, google "mr. jingles goes boom."  It shows this young man blowing up a frog with a fire cracker.  They are real pillars of the community.


It was disgusting to me, after all I had been through. I contacted Karen Horwitz, from NAPTA.  She asked if she could use the story for her book, White Chalk Crime.  It's there on page 166 or so.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Bait and film

bait the teacher and put it on youtube

The surreal world of discipline within an American public school Part I

I knew the kid disliked me.  He told me to get out of his chair one morning after walking into the computer lab while I worked on the school's yearbook.  I asked him to go outside to discuss his rude behavior where he told me his mother "didn't even like me."  I emailed his mother, an elementary school teacher in the district.  I never heard back from her.  This young man was on the 8th grade basketball team and had chosen to get photographs of the team for the yearbook.  Since he had sprained an ankle or something of that nature.  He should have had plenty of opportunity to comply.  But he was disruptive and almost sadistic in flaunting his disdain for me or the rules of the computer lab.  One day he sat there and took apart a keyboard right next to me as if daring me to take action.  His behavior deteriorated even more as the year began to wind down.  I called his father who told me he would "ask one of Michael's classmates whether I was accurate in my assessment or not."

I received an apology letter from him saying he would try and improve his behavior.  I knew it did not jive with his earlier behavior and waited for the next attack.  A week later I heard "M is on the warpath" from a colleague of mine.  His mother was after me. Yep....should have known.  The kid was well behaved for about 3 more days.  I could see these people thought they could do whatever they wanted with impunity by the actions I had seen so far.  The boy had never completed his pictures of the 8th grade boys basketball team. As a matter of fact, he had not submitted a single picture. He had not showed up for detention due to his poor behavior and been given As despite not showing much work. ( He was given credit for work he said he did that he claimed had been lost due to computer difficulties).  By the time we finished the yearbook, I asked students to include everything they had done in a small booklet.  He had nothing to enter but went so far as to blame me for the class when asked what particular projects he had worked on.  He mentioned spending time texting on his cell phone and playing video games online in this resume as well.  He wrote an essay blaming me for issues that arose in the class and was quite vindictive.  I had inherited a computer lab that was basically dysfunctional for 3 months and we still managed to put out an improved yearbook over the previous year's product.

Now he was being held accountable and still behaving poorly.  His grade was a C- or D and moving towards an F very quickly.  I handed out a worksheet students were supposed to work on one day and found that he claimed I had never given him one on collecting this homework.  I knew this was an attempt to bait me.  If a student is paying attention and something like this happened, they would let the teacher know.  This was ridiculous to believe.  I had a talk with him outside and left him out there.  My class moved to the computer lab and instead of following us, he stayed outside of my regular classroom, attempting to do whatever he could to not comply with feigned lack of understanding.  I sent someone to get him and had a heart to heart.  When I walked out of the lab, seeing his face bout 3 week from the opening, I felt his foot under mine as I stepped towards him.  He was now going to play the physical abuse game.  "Get your foot out from under mine." I said.  I told him he had not done his work and had been doing whatever he could to get under my skin.  He told me he wasn't responsible for the basketball pictures because I hadn't "written it down."  When he asked how coud he have taken the pictures when he was in the games, I replied he probably sat on the bench, referring to his injury.  He gave me an F-U and I sent him with a referral.  He never went there.

What do you know?  His mother had scheduled an appointment with the principal that morning. I sent the principal information stating I had never spoken to the mother and had been trying to resolve the issue for some time.  A week later I was asked to show up for a meeting with union rep.  God.....it figured I was in hot water after putting up with this bully.  I brought all the paperwork I had trying to defend my behavior.  It was futile.  The mother claimed I had kicked her kid and when I told the administrators that he baited me the way he had I got a sarcastic "yeah right" from the principal.  The principal told me she wanted to put me in the program improvement which is a euphemism for the teacher exit door.  "You have never even watched me teach I retorted."  She said she was unimpressed with the way kids just threw down their backpacks as they entered the lab, on a day when she covered for me.  I was incensed by the injustice in this.

That summer I found a site called NAPTA (National Association for the Prevention of Teacher Abuse). I bought the book on principal mistreatment of teachers and joined.  Little did I know that this travesty of justice was only the beginning of my nightmare in this snake bit district.

(to be continued)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What planet is RiShawn Biddle from?


I had to post this because it underscores the sentiment that these children are simply little reservoirs of hope and learning that can come from terribly dysfunctional households and if teachers have subject matter competence, etc. they will learn.  I wish Mr. Biddle would go teach in a high poverty school for a year or two before he makes statements as ludicrous as "there are no unmotivated children."  Why do you think there is such a high teacher burnout rate?  It isn't because they find they don't like teaching.  IT IS BECAUSE THEY DON'T GET TO TEACH ENOUGH AND INSTEAD ARE dealing with disrespectful, unmotivated students who suck their energy and time.  My take is that he plays into the right wing's attempt to dismantle public education as a rep for the black community.

As for parent choice....?  Why not?  The dixon unified school district where I taught makes a great example of what choice would do.  The community's most pressing concern after the budget shortfall of 2008 was for their sports teams- not for academics.  One set of parents came to visit on a back to school night I had.  Out of the approximately 120 students I taught, less than 20 cared enough to check the web site to see how their children were doing in my class.  About 10 to 20 percent of the students did their homework on any given night.  I was available for after school tutoring almost any day.  Only one student ever came on any given year.  The last thing noted is telling.  In any given class I would answer 20 to 40 questions/ requests.  These were usually "Do I have to sit here?  Can I go to the bathroom?  Why do we have to do this?...."  I could count on my fingers the number of actual questions I had that truly related to academics in an entire YEAR. 

So.... parental choice.  It would be better if the ones that want their snowflakes to get As for showing up for the cheap babysitting service just went out and found their own school. Then they could continue to pretend that their kid actually learned something (until they attempted to get into college).  Of course, college is becoming an academic joke as well, at this stage. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hey...there's an elephant in the living room

Students often go after teachers that attempt to hold them accountable.


The larger cause of failure is almost unmentionable: shrunken student motivation. Students, after all, have to do the work. If the students aren’t motivated, even capable teachers may fail. Motivation comes from many sources: curiosity and ambition; parental expectations; the desire to get into a “good” college; inspiring or intimidating teachers; peer pressure. The unstated assumption of much school “reform” is that if students aren’t motivated, it’s mainly the fault of schools and teachers. The reality is that, as high schools have become more inclusive (in 1950, 40 percent of 17-year-olds had dropped out) and adolescent culture has strengthened, the authority of teachers and schools has eroded. That applies more to high schools than to elementary schools, which helps explain why early achievement gains evaporate.

CTC incompetence, nepotism, conflicts of interest

CA teacher's commission- royal society

When one thinks about the various agencies out there to keep education running smoothly and efficiently, you have to wonder why we end up with such a poor product in terms of what graduates from our high schools.  This attorney was fired for blowing the whistle against the CTC.  Years ago, when I knew they had my number, it was suggested I report some of their below the belt practices to the board and the ctc.  I never did. Why?  They just favor their own.  It becomes apparent.

I still recall forwarding some information on our former principal to hr to underscore how corrupt she was.  Do you think I ever heard a word back from him?  Of course not.  Now he is the district superintendent and she is "executive director" (and woodrow wilson fellow) at a charter school.  Work hard and be rewarded? ......

Dishonest adults come from dishonest teens

longitudinal dishonesty study 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Rules for teachers and students and facebook, etc.


Ricardo Aldana

teacher in California- Ricardo Aldana- accused of sexual assault

Has support of many in the community.  We have to see how this plays out.

Male teachers- Accusations

fear of accusations in Canada
Article says 1 in 7 male teachers has been falsely accused but I suspect that number has changed of late.

and in the United States

Proposal for teacher discipline plan to Randi Weingarten

teacher discipline plan

Notice that the district has the burden of proof.  What an idea.  Students and parents should have the right to complain but this idea of taking every charge against a teacher at face value is not objective and morally wrong.


What .....me worry?

what good teachers worry about

I used to say "They might kill me, but they are going to have to do it with a sharp knife."

Every few years they would send in some overpaid playground manager that I called my principal to evaluate me.  These people generally had taught a few years in an elementary school and now they had me in the palm of the their hand...sort of.  I thought of some of these administrators as dull knives. They would have been better suited for the customer service department at Macy's.  Most of them seemed full of ambition and somewhat devoid of academic expertise.

Well...I guess the dull blade got me in the end.  The tetanus was too much for me.

If you have been targeted, and are competent, the easiest way for them to purge you is to get some student accusations.  They have trouble showing incompetence so they take the expedient route.

How to conduct a valid investigation-from untamed teacher blog


This is what you do if you are a Real Investigator:

First of all, you make sure that the parents of all children involved have been informed about the incident and that they be given the opportunity to be present during at least part of the interview. 

In K.N.'s case, the parents of the children who were being used to corroborate J.F.'s story were not informed about their children's statements.  I know.  I called them and asked. 

Second, you interview both parent and child separately and together.  It's no joke to bring false allegations against a teacher.  You make sure that everyone knows that you expect the truth and nothing but the truth and that liars will be delt with severely.

J.F. would have caved.  The six children who gave false testimony in support of J.F. would have caved.  Karl, the boy who couldn't get to the bathroom in time would have provided enough testimony for you to bring several people up on charges, none of whom were K.N.  For that reason alone, the principal would never have given you the opportunity to interview Karl, because she would have been the first person to be brought up on charges for locking the bathroom doors.

Third, you interview the teacher.  Union representatives often tell teachers not to say anything, but if you are a Real Investigator, everyone knows that you will do everything in your power to protect teachers from false allegations.

K.N. would have given her version of events and might even have shared with you that a custodian could corroborate her version of events on the day J.F. said she had tripped him. Mr. E., one of the custodians was talking to her as she stood in the hall.  She was asking Mr. E.  if he could give her some plastic bags for an experiment she planned to do later in the week.  Mr. E. saw J.F. push past her.  He saw the children run up as the bell rang.  Why hadn't she mentioned Mr. E. to the principal?  He was a nice man. She didn't want to make trouble for him.

Fourth, you interview other people not included in the principal's report.

Mr. E. would have backed up K.N.  He was shocked that she was in trouble.  Such a nice woman.  He saw the boy push her out of the way as he ran into the classroom, tripping and almost falling as he did so.  Children these days don't know how to show respect for their teachers.  The other children?  Oh they ran up as the bell was ringing and had to stand in line as Ms. K.N. marked them late.  You should have heard them complaining! Children these days!

Then you interview the entire Leadership Team that came up with the rules about locking the bathroom doors.  You also interview Karl's Math teacher, Ms.  B.,  who taught Karl during the first two periods of the day he had the bathroom accident.  She admits that she didn't allow him access to the bathroom in spite of repeated requests because of Principal S.T. didn't allow children to go to the bathroom during those periods (The accident occurred at the beginning of third period).

How many principals would want a Real Investigator in their building?

No, B.F. was not expected to carry out a real investigation.  If he had, he wouldn't have remained a Chancellor's Investigator for long.  He was expected to help fortify a case against a targeted teacher--  someone the principal wanted to get rid of.

All of B.F.'s investigations are a matter of public record. A researcher should look for a clear pattern of bias in favor of the DOE.  It would also be a good idea to interview the children.

By now, J.F. has graduated from high school.  It would be interesting to interview him about his role in destroying a teacher's career.  Does he still think there was no harm, no foul?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dept of Ed. on false accusations

The strange thing is that only a few times were the accusations completely fabricated.  Usually, it was someone taking something I did and twisting it when it fit their agenda.  Hmmmm....your grade is low.  Why is this?  Hmmmm well the teacher did x, y or z 2 months ago.

I have allegedly: slammed a head into the wall, poked a kid with my finger, kicked a child in the leg, hit a child with a chair, squeezed a girl by her shoulder, purposely short changed students on their grades, told a student to shut up, berated a student in front of their peers, got in the "face" of a student, told a parent I would no longer harass their child and then did so, came on sexually by calling a student "sweet heart" and licking my lips, sang love songs, baited children to come into my room alone, kept a girl in at lunch and did not respond to her panic attack,  showed video of myself naked, ogled girls' chests, attempted to film girls' chests....the list could go on.  I admit I have a temper when pushed too far.  I was worried that my tendencies might one day push me too far after being baited the way I have been (remember the tiger that got lose in the san fran zoo?).  By the time I got to my final year, I rarely raised my voice despite the behavior of the students.  I noticed that as my self control became greater, that the tactic students used switched from physical abuse to being some sort of sexual predator.  I am a heterosexual male but I am happy to say that I have absolutely no interest in 13 or 14 year old girls.  When you add that these were insipid, narcissists I can only say that I would not have ever found them interesting....not at 47 and not at 13.  I suppose that on first take one might see the anger in my talk, but at its core there is a great sadness.  I am sad for myself and for this society that seems to have lost its way.

False accusations

If you are accused of sexual misconduct or physical abuse involving students and it is determined that the allegations were knowingly false when they were made, the DOE must remove all references to the allegations from your DOE personnel file, restore any lost pay with interest and permanently reassign the student from your class absent compelling and extraordinary circumstances.
The agreement makes clear that the disciplinary process should never be used to retaliate against whistle-blowers or for any other illegal reason. It goes on to state that all employees who make a knowingly false allegation shall be subject to discipline.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Administrators are beholden to parents

See what Chaz says

 Poor Administration: Many of the small schools have had "Leadership Academy Principals" in charge and quite a few of them lack the necessary classroom skills and mentoring to help their teaching staff. Furthermore, these principals have been taught to not collaborate with the teaching staff and will use intimidation tactics to get their way. The result is high teacher turnover and an unstable school environment. Finally, many of these principals tend to ignore student discipline issues and staff morale suffers. More than one Principal has told their staff that they will call in any student accusations to the investigative agencies OEO, OSI, and SCI no matter how frivolous it may seem to be.


For the most part, admin has a tricky path to walk between teachers, parents, students, the board, etc.  But my issue is that they often choose expediency over truth and justice.  Not once did I witness an administrator hold a student and parents to task for unfounded accusations.

My second year in the dixon unified school district, a student who had been increasingly disruptive claimed I slammed his head against the brick wall.  According to him I sent him outside and did this while class was going on, then he came inside, resumed class but told teachers in subsequent classes I had put my hands on him.  Then he went home and never mentioned it to his parents.  Does something seem out of place here?  It should.  People don't generally "get on" with  their day after having their head slammed against a brick wall. (Gee. Maybe I did it softly?)  I had made the mistake of trying to talk to him outside and I instinctively put my hand on his shoulder as he began to walk away from me.
" Teacher's not sposed to touch dey student," he said.

I told him to take a minute or two and come back in when he was prepared to behave.  I walked back into the room and heard him kick the wall with the sole of his shoe about a minute later.  The principal caught wind of his accusations and asked me to call the parents over the holidays.  I did.  As I've already said, this was all news to the parent.  "Did you touch my chile?"
When I admitted I had put my hand on his shoulder the woman really lost it.  When school resumed, the parents came in and the child was moved to another class.  An investigation began and I found that one student claimed the big bang on the wall happened as I was outside.  What never seemed to occur to the investigating authorities was that if someone gets their head slammed against a brick wall their tends to be some evident trauma.  The investigation did reveal that some T.A's had witnessed me talking to this kid and saw no sign of violence. The most the principal would concede in the end was that there was not enough evidence to conclude that I had committed this egregious assault.

This is true.  But it should have been obvious by his behavior and the lack of physical evidence that he was not being truthful.  Of course, the administration did not want to do this, but I think they should have taken a moral stand on it. Vindictive complaints based on hearsay should be called just that.  The district opens itself up to even greater threats when parents and students think they can throw such unfounded, false accusations around with no consequences to themelves. But this is the system now in place.  Teachers are lame ducks under this situation.  It is only a matter of time until one of these groundless accusations takes them out.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Why is it important to get the word out on false accusations against teachers?  A good portion of us find ourselves in the position of being being wrongly accused.  It feels lonely and hopeless sometimes.  Any one of us can be the victim of vindictive and vexatious rumors and accusations.  But as long as your voice is silent on the subject, nothing will change for the better.  But imagine if all the teachers out there who have been strafed by unfounded allegations wrote in.  You would have something to show administrators and parents that doubt the veracity of your words.  Yes...it does pit their children against you.  But that is even more reason to level the playing field when something as grave as these sorts of accusations come to light.  It is not about your side versus their side so much as truth and justice.  Please help and document what is happening in our dysfunctional school system.

Barrus speaks out


Teacher had been accused of sexual relations with a student and the students word was taken at face value.

I still don't understand how authorities can do this.  It is very frustrating when you have had to deal with the same student's lies and obfuscations in class and then  watch them go over your head with accusations.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Do College Students Lie on Evaluations? Some of them do.

student evaluations
It seems if education is the only commodity where the consumer asks for less considering what they've paid, then one could make a case that they don't really ask for less.  They have, rather, changed the paradigm and are not after the education but the GRADE.  This is the elephant in the living room.  For a majority of students, unfortunately, the idea is to run the gauntlet and jump through the hoops to get a grade, and learning something along the way is incidental.  Professors who don't read into this run the risk of becoming unpopular and jeopardizing their future.  Welcome to the shopping mall of grades.  The same student that lies to their self  in terms of their reason for attending college is probably apt to twist things where necessary because the teacher did not respond in kind.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I should have known something was wrong...

I should have known something was wrong with the district I worked in the very first year I was there.  I taught Spanish to about 10 kids and one had a mother who had taught or had a teaching credential.  I guess that made her an expert on all things educational.  The paradigm I was used to was old fashioned, I suppose.  It didn't infantalize teenagers.  If you asked for something and got it, you certainly didn't complain about it.  But that's what I witnessed one day.  The girl asked if she could eat something because she hadn't had breakfast.  So I allowed her to eat a granola bar.  "Ooooh.  I could get you in trouble.  You're not supposed to let us eat in here.  It says so in the class rules."
              Manipulative little monster.  At the end of the year I arranged for us to try using a scuba tank in a pool for the fun of it.  The little monster was on crutches at the time so she wouldn't be going any way. Nevertheless, mommy called into complain about the activity.  This wasn't the last time I would watch some mean spirited jerk ruin it for everyone else.
             Years later, a particularly hyperactive, disruptive little boy told me "You can't handle me," over the phone. 
              What gave him the idea I was supposed to "handle" (tolerate?) his poor behavior?  So that's why I got an education?  If I had bothered to become a dentist but found it hard to get squirmy kids to open their mouths, would it be more important to get them to open up then what I did afterwards?  If the answer is "yes," then count me out.  Yet somehow, managing large groups of empowered, entitled kids is what teaching is about these days.  I'm not saying I won't or wouldn't try.  But as the system breaks down you realize what you signed up for and what you are doing are very different. 

I suppose I'm a bit of a libertarian on this one.  I wish kids that did not want to be there had a stall they could clean out instead of wrecking my classroom.  If you are a Mother Theresa who equates meaningless self sacrifice with teaching, so be it.  I think anytime you attempt to move forward on some enterprise without the consent of people who are stuck in it, you are not going to get much out of it.  Furthermore, you could say "hey that's your job to motivate."  Fine.  I will do it up to a point but I thought my primary mission was to teach, not be a salesman. If they choose to text message their friends instead of learning about history, who am I to tell them otherwise. The fact of the matter is that I have very little power over their decisions.  THEY are the ones who decide how they will behave.  Maybe we can get Michelle Rhee in there since she puts students first.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Suspicious of teachers?

turning teachers into objects of suspicion

The article deals with information from a new book on allegations of sexual abuse in classrooms in UK.

Here is the book on amazon

researching sex and lies in the classroom

Fears of abuse is one of top 3 reasons men don't teach younger kids

where are all the male teachers?

Many of these kids have lived their entire life around women.  Dad is not in the picture.  They go to school where teachers are women and often the principal, as well.  Men and women have different communication styles and are going to be perceived differently after a student has been immersed in the femenized world of elementary school.  One time and one time only, I called a female student "sweetheart.'  The following day I faced the charges from my principal and then had to meet with the parent before he took his daughter out of the class.  "But the female teachers here use the term all the time, I protested."  It didn't matter.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What has happened with some girls?

I generally had more problems with boys who had problems sitting still in class.  I generally had my biggest problems with some of the girls, especially my final year of teaching.  Something seemed to be amiss with more and more of them.  They operated in little groups.  The preponderance of social media; the cellphones and facebook accounts, the reality show celebrity worship.  Their lives seemed awash in this supercilious tripe.  They played tag team adversaries against me where one would misbehave and then another would come to their rescue if I attempted to get them to behave accordingly.  They would stomp down to the office in a fit of manufactured shock.  They were often mean to other girls in the class but they really put me in my place.  One interrupted my attempt to get a student through a quiz during lunch.  I got tired of answering the door and told her she could not come into the classroom.  "ohhhh my God."
             "You come here"  I said, attempting to show her that I was in the midst of testing a student.
              "No....I'm going to the office." as if to tell on me.
I wrote up a referral form and called home.  She's one of the students that had parents complain against me at the end of my sad, little career.

I recalled being well liked by my female students as a 28 year old just starting out and have to wonder if some of the repugnance I seemed to elicit was, in part, because I was now a bald, middle aged man.  I will certainly contend that the tide of conformity played a role in my lack of popularity.  It was a sporting event by the time things ended.  But what can one do?  I have to live with myself.  Sometimes I have been popular and other times, no.  Bottom line is you have to live with yourself.

mean girls

disliking things (like the teacher) creates friendship

Student Accountability: the real problem with education


Eventually, any attempt on my part to hold students accountable, put a lump in my throat.
"Oh God....please ...let's not have a parent complaint."

I still recall watching a student with good skills start to sink as she began to socialize more and more.  I gave her a chance to get extra credit by doing some illustrations that depicted the dress of women in medieval society.  I received a few hastily drawn pictures of women wearing gowns.  Hmmmm they were basically the same picture and the details were almost nonexistent.  I handed it back with a 7 on it.  (7 points were a gift).  I told her I was sorry but that was the best I could do considering the quality of what I had in hand.

A few days I was told there were allegations of improper conduct against me.  Huh?  I scanned my memory for slips of the tongue, an incidental moment of contact with a kid,....

This girl's mother had called the school.  She alleged I sang love songs to girls, told dirty jokes, and showed my profile on a dating site.  I was interviewed by the principal who had a meeting with some of these girls regarding my behavior.

I admit I made some lapses in judgement but the insinuation was that I was somehow interested in something sexual with a 13 year old student: something abhorrent to me.  I admitted I played guitar and sang silly songs to liven up the class.  These were not "love songs"  I had sung.  The kids laughed.  How could they take them seriously as love songs.  The joke-  made the mistake of adopting a joke I had heard about a stranded salesman who has to sleep with the farmer's daughter.  It ends with a demonstration of paper clips that land within an inch of each other.  Was it impulsive and stupid on my part to tell it?  Definitely. Was there more stupidity on my part? Yes.  I often ate my lunch in my room and these same girls had come by and were chatting.  I showed them my dating profile because there was a picture of me with a baby meerkat on my shoulder.  I thought they would like it.

Maybe some of you are saying anyone with such poor judgement shouldn't be in a classroom.  I admit that I am extroverted and somewhat impulsive.  Does this make me a pedophile?  No.  I thought of myself as safe from such comparisons.  When had these incidents occurred? Over a month before the accusations were made.  So the spark that ignited this was a low grade on a project that probably took this student 10 minutes.  I can't tell you how terrible the next 3 months were for me.  My principal took my admission to these accusations and twisted them to make my transgressions look worse.  Yes... I sang love songs to girls and told sexual jokes.  Why had I been so stupid...so impulsive?

I can't help but feel that some of it is due to trying to manage a large group of adolescents who often don't want to be there.  I often had to act very quickly to quell some hotspot in the classroom or move the activity to something else when it wasn't going the way I thought it should. Perhaps what I did does disqualify me from being a teacher.  But it is a separate issue from the mean spirited accusations that came my way.  My principal actually reprimanded me for sexual harassment, but that's another story for another time.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

teacher sues false accuser's family for defamation


I would expect to see more of this as the carnage continues.

why the epidemic of false accusations? UK 2009

If you you google this subject, you find that the UK is mired in this mess- maybe more so than her former colony.

When my principal used to call me into his office to let me know the latest allegation, he'd say "Why do you think they are doing this?"  It took awhile before I replied "Because they CAN."  It's a control issue.  When they see their buddies doing it, they can't wait to join the feeding frenzy.  Shame on the administration for using it to drive a teacher out rather than doing a real investigation.

why the epidemic?

vast majority of these allegations are considered false

falsely accused teacher and website


Kindergarten teacher accused by three little girls (even her daughter) lost home, custody of her children, etc.

See what psychology today magazine says.


Monday, December 5, 2011

A possible remedy- cameras in the classroom

I believe cameras in the classroom are increasingly necessary.  This is unfortunate but so long as parents are skeptical when a teacher says their snowflake has been disruptive, things will continue to decline.  Knowing that you are being filmed would keep a lot of the poor behavior down to a minimum.

letter on cameras in the classroom

Teacher Complaints Site allows students a place to vent

How many of these complaints are legitimate?  Who garners such complaints?  I truly wish school was not compulsory so that the students who cared enough and wanted to be there could do so of their own volition.  The ones who don't care could go somewhere where they didn't ruin it for everyone else.

teacher complaints

Do people who have less empathy make false accusations?

Gen Me and empathy
The last year I taught reminded me of the line from the yeat's poem "the worst are full of passionate intensity while the best lack all conviction."  It is normal for teens to test social boundaries and it is up to adults to discriminate between legitimate accusations and those that are attempts to see what happens when they "light the fire crackers."  How do these administrators hold two opposing viewpoints at the same time?

Kids lie-"They are kids and kids will lie...and obfuscate."

Kids are truthful- "Oh.  There's a complaint ...let's meet with the teacher and see what they did to provoke this."

UK report: half of the accusations aganst teachers are unfounded.

Let me say that abusing a child or anyone else is not to be condoned.  Second, it is understandable that the nature of such incidents probably makes it hard to prove as it often involves 2 individuals in some private area.  Having said that, my own experiences with accusations have made me realize how loose children and some adults can be with the truth and accusations of impropriety.  There was usually an element of truth in most instances where I was accused of something.  Sadly, the emphasis has now been focused on simply allowing oneself to be put in a situation where allegations can be made.  "You kept the girl in at lunch?"
                                                                                              "Yes...she didn't finish her classwork.  Actually she never even started it, so I kept her for 5 minutes at lunch."
                                                                                               "You were alone with her in your room?  You are not to have students in your room alone any more."

I am sorry but I am sick and tired of walking on eggshells in order to do my job.  I am tired of documenting what looks to be some sort of ambush by students and parents.  They are often able to do it anyway "the customer is always right."

Read "Guilty until proven innocent" where the lawyer representing various accused teachers assumes around 80 percent of the teachers he defended were not guilty.  That's pretty low odds when one considers that those are the cases that went as far as going to trial.

half of abuse cases appear unfounded in the UK

Tail wags the dog

It is not surprising that programs on sexual abuse elicit accusations.  Once someone creates a mental template in our heads, we can find the evidence everywhere.  Put the template of  witches in heads and watch the suspects roll in.  Being a male teacher in a heavily feminized environment is enough to keep many men out of the classroom.  This has led to the skyrocketing number of accusations of abuse against teachers.  Couple this with the entrance to sexual maturity that adolescent girls are going through.  Many are consumed with validating their attractiveness.  Unfortunately, it seemed like the shallowest in the bunch are most prone to this.  They have little interest in academics and, it seems to me, most likely to presume that everyone else thinks like they do.

bad touch program leads to accusations

sexual harassment charges against educators


Sunday, December 4, 2011


What teachers really want to tell parents

How does fear of lawsuits drive school behaviors?

Central administration spends their time in meetings, crunching numbers, dealing with complaints and discipline issues, etc. Their priorities are skewed towards the group and protecting the institution. Teachers deal with small groups on the front line of program delivery and have a personal stake in their small world.  Who is consumed with a fear of lawsuits?  Administration.  I still recall the assistant superintendent castigating me for saying "I teach the flavor of the month" in reference to teaching a variety of subjects.  Even after I explained I meant no offense I was told that I needed to watch what I said and that I was lucky because it was only adults around to hear it.  Huh???  This article examines the role lawsuits play in all this.  I think it underscores the idea that laws and rules are not always a remedy and that the cure can be worse than the disease.


Honesty and today's students

Many are decent and hard working but the prevalence of dishonesty is out of control.  I still remember one of my students blaming me after she failed a test. Why?  She copied the wrong answers off the board thinking I had written them up to be used for copying.  We are at a stage where those in authority are often afraid to call a student's actions dishonest and students are often brazen liars.  They know the system is a sham.



Letter from hunted teacher- an all too common occurrence

The principal acts on rumor & innuedo, calling in my entire class to ask if I’ve done anything wrong. It’s a fishing expedition with, according to concerned students, leading questions. Usually these come when I write a referral for a behavior problem, so there are one or two students who will say anything to try to get back at me, particularly when they well understand administration is against me. However, one of my writeups (I’ve had three in two years, there was not a single collaborator in the class, yet the principal went forward with the action against me, stating, “You have to be aware of parent complaints.” When I told him no one had told me of the complaint and the accusation had been roundly refuted by an entire class, the principal simply shook his head and said it was going in my file.
Last time I wrote a referral the mother complained and I ended up getting a “Professional Improvement Plan,” kind of the first step toward being terminated. As a new and non-tenured teacher, I am in tremendous jeopardy. My union’s view is to just allow the abuse and hope it gets better. There is some sort of weird rumor mill at this school, and now virtually no other teachers will even talk to me. I am confused and angry and feel very much betrayed. Worst of all, I am totally unempowered by the process. The union rep says administration doesn’t have to follow their own rules of procedure because they get to make them up and even change them as they go. Does anyone have any advice???


False accusation Teacher blog from UK.

The things this woman and others have had to go through makes my own story appear palid.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Neal Schwartz recounts his harassment at the hands of unscrupulous, incompetent administrators in his book: guilty until proven innocent.  See his summary on the site for the national association for the prevention of teacher abuse.



Gary Namie, America's advocate for a bully free workplace
page on teachers bullied by principals.