I learned about it by accident. I approached my principal about another child and she asked me not to get upset. I wondered why a simple response to a question about a situation with a student, could possibly upset me. And that's when she told me what a student had accused me of. I really think I was in shock, because I nodded, said, "What?", listened to what she was saying, and returned to the workshop I was attending.
As the day went on, what she said began to sink in. By the time I got home, and shared what was said with my husband, I was furious! How could this not be taken seriously? How could she not let me know? Why would this child say this? I immediately emailed my principal and told her that this would have to be handled.
That Monday, I was told that my computer would be confiscated, and scanned by the district and the police. You can't hide anything on computers. I told them to take it, clear my name. Do anything they had to do to prove that what he said wasn't true. And then I burst into tears. This could not be happening. After 28 years, this could not be happening! The words of a vindictive child had turned my life into a nightmare.They tried to comfort me by saying that they knew this was making me uncomfortable, but I wasn't uncomfortable, I was angry!
His grandparents went to the police. They said they knew he was lying, but "just in case". Everyone said they knew he was lying, but there was nothing that could be done. They had to follow protocol.
Every day I kept wondering if I would leave my building, and find a horde of reporters standing outside the school door, making me the latest victim of "Guilty, until proven innocent." Wondering if my career would be ruined, or if I could possibly go to jail because this...child, thought his words were a great tool to use against me. I worried that he would tell the other students, they would tell their parents, and what would they think of me?
The worst part was my "visit" to the precinct for my statement. I sat in that room of stark, blank, walls, wondering how I could possibly be there, and not in my classroom. I thought of all the shows my husband watches, and tried not to look scared or shaken, for fear that I would be mistaken for a criminal.
Knowing that there was a camera recording my every move, was terrifying, and I held my hands clasped tightly on the table, waiting for the detective's return. When the detective stated, "This is a criminal investigation", my heart stopped. During the interview, I burst into tears, praying that it wouldn't be mistaken as an admission of guilt.
It's over. I was exonerated. His lies were not well thought-out, and were easily proven false. The sad part is that he is back in the school, although not in my class. Nothing has changed with him. If anything, he is more arrogant than ever.
I think I did very well going on with life as usual. Knowing I was innocent had a lot to do with that. My students didn't have a clue, or at least never said anything to me.
I needed to share this.
I am truly blessed to have had so many people who never doubted me. The district people I dealt with, my colleagues, and my friends. So many people said, "I am sorry you have to go through this", letting me know they cared. This is an experience I would not wish on any innocent person, and I am glad it is over.