Monday, January 30, 2012

Do false accusations stem from lack of empathy?

I liked most of the students I had.  There are always some that test you, and some I will admit to not liking.  But I believe part of the reason I could/can not find much sympathy for them is because I often felt unsupported in my role as teacher and authority figure.  Had the administration or parents backed up my fairly reasonable request that I be allowed to teach the classes without major disruptions, I don't believe I would have found some of them so unsavory.  But what added insult to injury was a sort of smarmy, self entitlement that emanated from them if they were given consequences for poor behavior, and were now "returning fire."....THEY KNEW....knew what?  They knew they held the real power/control cards.  Perhaps mom or dad had heard complaints about me and now were "backing them."  They knew that a phone call to the principal from a parent could wreck my week, maybe my career. I often thought that if they knew the hell they put me through, they wouldn't be behaving this way.

We are talking about middle school kids who don't need to worry about not getting into Harvard because they ended up with a C in history in 8th grade.  One example comes to mind that really irks me.  This student had some skills but as the end of the year approached she became increasingly sociable in class rather than focusing on school work.  Her mother kept her out of school for a full week before the mayfair so she could?...groom her horse.  Then when she returned I was left with the responsibility to get her caught up.  When she didn't show up during lunch to make up a test, she told me she figured it was up to me to go out and find her at lunch to have her take it. After all this, she  and her mother had the nerve to accuse me of
..... ??

Please see the videos I shot that day. There are 2 of them. Note the red haired girl's behavior.  Then return

Anyway, the complaint occurred after I called her to discuss another "concern" of the mothers. This was payback after snowflake didn't get what she wanted. How do I know the reason was because her grade wasn't what she wanted?  Because that was the first thing her mother harangued me about when I got her on the phone. First the complaint was that we spent too much time studying the states (US history) but quickly moved to the grade issue.

 "My daughter is an A student."

Ahhh...OK. so it's about the grade.  Then she pulled out the big guns and said "and what's this I hear about you filming her in class.  Why didn't you stop when she asked you to? .....Why don't I get the police and come down there. "  She also called me a creep.

That was the end of the conversation.  But...indeed, she filed a complaint  accusing me of trying to film her daughter's chest...something of that nature.

The point I am trying to make is that this behavior seems almost psychopathic to me. This girl and her mother would have preferred that I be behind bars or something of that nature...over the fact that this snowflake wasn't getting an A in a middle school history class.  The nature of the conversation made that obvious.  Otherwise, it would have been a straight "why did you film my daughter, etc."

A recently published book called The Sociopath Next Door estimates that they may account for 4 percent of the population, and I could believe it after some of the behavior I have seen.  I suspect if they had asked this woman if I should be put to death, she might have consented...well, maybe just have had me sent to a penal colony.

Sadly enough, this was one of just a few times I would witness what seemed like overtly, vindictive accusations over the most petty of occurrences. These  students and their parents appeared to use accusations within the context of a humane and ethical institution.(which is what a school should be).  The subtext is that it was about control and power. So I was not completely shocked by the recent finding on college students and empathy.  The chickens have come home to roost as they say.

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