Saturday, October 20, 2007

Abusive Teachers

For any parent of a school-going child in this country the news of rampant sexual misconduct in schools is very disturbing news. If there is zero-tolerance for harassment in the workplace, I am not sure why it would not be the same for schools being that kids are far more vulnerable and in need of much stronger protection. Instead, perpetrators are routinely taken out of one school system and shoved into the next so they are able to carry on their abusive behavior with impunity.

That the powers that be would consider this an acceptable way to reign in a child abuser is incomprehensible and horrifying to say the least. Why would they not revoke the teaching license and put all school children out of reach of the abuser ? The
NEA opines that sexual harassment and abuse are two different things and should be treated differently.

"Lumping harassment together with serious sexual misconduct does more harm than good by creating unjustified alarm and undermining confidence in public schools," says Michael Pons of NEA.

As a parent, I have a huge problem with that statement. I would much rather see the smallest hint of inappropriate behavior treated just as severely as abuse. When my child's well-being is at stake the semantic differences between harassment and abuse is of absolutely no interest to me. I would want the abuser stripped of their teaching license and all children made safe. Anything less is a travesty of the trust that parents place in the public school system and in as such completely unacceptable.

This is a sue-happy country, where it is normal for a man to sue for a million dollars for his lost pants and a woman to sue for spilling her hot coffee in her own lap. One would think school systems would adopt a zero tolerance policy just from the fear of lawsuits and expensive settlements. Apparently, that is not quite the case and I am not sure why not.

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