Sunday, November 18, 2012
A Teacher Accused!:When He Said/She Said Turns Ugly!
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.
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That sounds crazy! Of course I guess they'd rather be safe than sorry, because an actual child abuser wouldn't just stand up and admit what he/she had done. So glad it was quickly resolved. The sad thing is, when this kind of false accusation happens, not only does it make good teachers look bad, but it makes it harder for children who REALLY are being abused to be taken seriously!ReplyDelete
You are right Angel. And I was never mad at them for checking it out because we know there are people out there...ReplyDelete
I am so sorry this happened to you! I pray that the rest of your school year is delightful and that you find joy in every day.
As a former lawyer now high school teacher, I would've lawyered up first thing. Even knowing I was innocent, I would've done nothing without a lawyer. (Even if everyone proclaimed their trust in your innocence, the system is not set up to protect a wrongly-accused person. Sorry to say, but police are professionals at phrasing questions and applying pressure to force a confession or even get statements that can be twisted later, if they decide you're THE ONE.) And I probably would be talking to the lawyer now about the child's slanderous statements, especially if he was acting arrogant about it now. But I know everyone wouldn't react the same way I would.ReplyDelete
Would you recommend a teacher bringing representation to a meeting with admin., the student, and student's parents whom have blamed the teacher all year despite never coming in for a conf./personally meeting said teacher. (Teacher is currently on paid leave while school district investigates the allegations of hitting a st.)Delete
Absolutely have representation always. I've been researching articles of "teachers falsely accused" Many documents state the advice.... do not say anything to anyone with out representation.Delete
@Camille, Thanks so much for your encouraging words!You do the same!ReplyDelete
@nothingblowsupinbiology Thanks for the advice. I thought about it, (You aren't the first to suggest this),but is it really worth it?ReplyDelete
I wonder if a lawyer could talk to the child--put the fear of God in him so to speak. Something about slanderous, fraudulent statements, etc...ReplyDelete
I wonder if, to the child, he simply got a kick out of you being uncomfortable, not realizing the severity of the accusation.
Hate that it happened, but glad it all worked out in your favor!
The child is how old?ReplyDelete
You are truly lucky. I know a teacher who was accused to viewing inappropriate content. They took his computer and harrassed him until he retired. He was treated horribly and could not defend himself. Most of the accusations were false. Nothing was found on his computer, but the administration threatened him with a forensic audit of his computer and basically demanded he retire. He was so dis heartened that he gave up and retired. It broke his heart.ReplyDelete
I wasn't worried, and they did conduct a forensic audit of my computer. Nothing was found on it but education sites. :)Delete
Glad you came out ok. See a site started to end false accusations. teacherhunt.blogspot.comReplyDelete
If you go to November, there are 2 videos for inventor projects. They are short, but they cost me my career.
I know this is an old post, but it resonated with me. Most of the stories available online are of extended trials, public embarrassment, and the such. I had an experience similar to yours, where my administration indicated they were certain the student was making up the claim of inappropriate touching, and the student's mother couldn't even bother to show for a meeting to discuss the allegation. No charges were filed, no suspension, just a meeting with my administration, my accuser, and myself.. where I was coerced into apologizing-- just to clear the air.ReplyDelete
To this day, I regret apologizing. The student was vindicated and the harmful behavior affirmed.
I, too, have considered pressing charges. And, I, too, have asked myself the question: Is it worth it? This being an old post and all, I was wondering if you had given that any further thought, or if you have taken that step already..?
Students falsely accusing teachers is sadly becoming a huge epidemic. Why would anyone, particularly a male, want to be a teacher? It's a dangerous job to be in. Steer clear to all those who are thinking about going into the profession.ReplyDelete
On Friday January 27,2017. I too was falsely accused of "Threating to hit 4th. grade students with a ruler. As the days passed, I was told I had these students so so scared that they were crying. Wow. I am so stuned. I lost my subsitute job. I to want to have a hearing . Should I contiune to press for the truth?ReplyDelete