Accused of assault

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by newbie12, Jun 1, 2017.

  1. newbie12

    newbie12 Rookie

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    Jun 1, 2017

    Hi,

    I recently started teaching at a new school. As a high school teacher I teach a range of students, most of whom are quite nice. Unfortunately a few days ago I was told that one of my students is accusing me of physically assault. She claims that I pushed and slapped her in class, so hard that it actually left a bruise.

    Since then I've been having panic attacks and difficulty sleeping. I've called in sick because I'm so overwhelmed with stress that I cant even go to work. I just feel powerless. And whilst everyone at work says they are supportive, there is a definite sense of suspicion and distrust. Unfortunately mud sticks, especially when it involves something as serious as assault.

    I am on contract until the end of the year at which point they are almost certainly going to let me go. I would have loved to have stayed at this school permanently, but its looking unlikely now. I'm even thinking of leaving teaching altogether. Advice?
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Did you touch the student? Does the student have any witnesses to back up her claims?

    I'm not sure I could continue working at a place where a rumor like this about me was circulating. I think that it would be too difficult to overcome. I'd probably look for a clean slate elsewhere. This is assuming that the claims are 100% false and I have the option to look elsewhere.
     
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  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    If you have not yet contacted your union (it should have been your first call), do it today.
     
  5. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    Agreed! I would definitely find another job because I would not want to be treated differently than everyone else at the place where false rumors were circulating. Several years ago, I worked in a school that went from average at best to downright toxic. Most of us moved on because of the student body and the new administration. This administration would always blame teachers who weren't in the administrators' clique for students' delinquent and defiant behavior.

    Students would invent stories just to get teachers in trouble and the administrators would automatically take the students' side. Now that most of us have moved on, we actually love our new schools.
     
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  6. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    Yes, definitely call your union to put everything on record. You should write down everything that you remember about the day in question and give a copy to your union rep. Also give this information to your union attorney if you have one. Don't answer any questions from the school officials without a union rep or attorney present. If you don't have a witness, school officials who are corrupt are likely to make up stories regarding what you said.
     
  7. newbie12

    newbie12 Rookie

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    I absolutely didn't touch the student. Not sure why she is saying it.

    Luckily I was team teaching that day and there was another teacher in the room. He didn't see anything however he admits he wasn't watching me the whole time. I would like to get more witnesses but the student reported it three weeks after it was supposed to have happened. Recollections are now quite blurry.

    I will contact the union. I'm not sure I can leave as I have no other job. I feel devastated.
     
  8. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  9. MathGuy82

    MathGuy82 Companion

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    1st-I am so sorry what you are going through. I hope this student gets expelled to the fullest extent. This is unfair to teachers. Kids can make things up, even if they don't like the teacher, or anything else and teachers get put on investigation. We do absolutely need cameras. I'm not understanding why there aren't. We we go to a grocery store there are cameras, when we go to most government offices there are cameras, cops have cameras. I don't get this. I wouldn't mind if there was a camera in my class.
     
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  10. phillyteacher

    phillyteacher Comrade

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    I agree, I liked having a camera in my room last year. It helped me feel protected.
     
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  11. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  12. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Your union representative should help with the legal side of this. In our district, if something like this happened, you may be eligible to for a mandatory transfer, meaning you have to be transferred out of that school and another school in the district has to take you, before all of the other transfers happen. The union should be involved ASAP! Something similar happened to me my first year at a new school, and my union (well, professional organization) was very helpful!

    Just in general, I am somewhat appalled by the tone of many of the posts in this thread. It seems like when we devolve into name calling and belittling, we lose the ability to be supportive of each other. When we dismiss the ideas and thoughts of others, we fail to consider all perspectives. I find myself visiting these forums less and less and the people here become meaner and meaner. I do not always agree with everyone, and I will certainly admit to losing my patience at times and being short with people, but I've learned to just walk away from those discussions. Let it go!
     
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  13. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I was accused of pushing a student during my first year. The entire class was watching the incident and so I had about 30 witnesses that could attest that I didn't.

    But I didn't even need to call on them. In the meeting between the principal and the student, I calmly stated what happened from my perspective and no one questioned it (other than the student--but the student had a history of pulling stuff like this, so no one believed him). If you are calm, assertive, and don't make a big deal out of it, you'll get through it fine.

    Freaking out and skipping work may make it look like you're guilty, though I totally understand the feeling and the desire to do so. In my opinion it's just one of those moments, where you need to put on your calm professional face (even if you don't feel calm) and be as matter-of-fact as possible.

    Even if you lost your composure before, regaining your composure now will at least put things to rest soon enough. All teachers know kids accuse teachers of ridiculous things (their parents do too). Especially new teachers. If you have a supportive admin that's all that matters. Don't let the noise affect your life.
     
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  14. TechnoMage

    TechnoMage Companion

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    It has slowly happened over time, the inmates are finally running the asylum. Do a Google search and you will find many cases of bragging students detailing how they got rid of an undesirable teacher. Its a fact! Blueprints on how to ruin a teacher or employer. And the Admins are buying it.
    What a world we now live in. It happened to me this past semester. I had to prove I did not call a student a B@$$t@rd. I have NEVER used profanity in my classroom, not EVER. And some Admin bought into this. I was placed on Admin leave immediately and prohibited from going to any district resources or others while it was being determined what took place. Sucks to work in a right-to-work state. Two weeks later I was faced with dismissal and a pile of papers to sign. At this point I reiterated my innocence and told them again I had PROOF that this had not taken place. I also said my attorney wanted copies of everything used to determine my guilt and that charges would be brought against the slandering and libeling participants. They quickly took back the forms, demanded my proof, and said they would get back to me. Months went by, nothing was sent or said to me. They paid me through my contract and never provided any evidence other than to say "several" other students said they heard the event. My evidence was recordings of every day all day of myself at school. There was no evidence of even an altercation, nothing. I live in a single party state where it is quite legal for you to record any conversation you are present for. I think all teachers should make this a habit for self preservation, and self defense. What a world we now live in!
     
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  15. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  16. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I'm all for cameras in the classrooms.
     
  17. MathGuy82

    MathGuy82 Companion

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    I couldn't agree more!! Camera's should be everywhere except changing rooms and bathrooms. It's not right that they are not. One word against the other and it makes the teacher look bad.
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Do you think that mandatory cameras everywhere might contribute to the perception that we cannot be trusted to do our jobs and to keep kids safe?
     
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  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Agree! I have no interest in cameras everywhere.
     
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  20. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    We have cameras in hallways and common areas but not in classrooms. I don't mind the cameras, people who have nothing to hide hide nothing. we have used evidence from the cameras as evidence in fights (who was the instigator/perpetrator, who was a witness, who else joined in etc.) or if students entered a room and something went missing from that room or cheating in tests. Students usually own up pretty quickly because they know we have solid evidence and parents (cops, when needed) accept the evidence.
    But it was a deliberate decision to exclude cameras in the classroom because the P trusts us to do our jobs right and that trust is nice.
     
  21. MathGuy82

    MathGuy82 Companion

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    Absolutely not in any way. It's very unlikely that students will say one thing to destroy a teachers career, but I think it's safe to have them so these very few mad cases of a student don't ruin someone's career. I don't think someone should be hired to monitor at all, including principals or security officers, but it should be kept on record if needed to look back. Then that way, a student could say, "well so and so pushed me Thursday afternoon" Then when the student says, "well I don't know when", then we will have a better idea that the student may be lying and there is no proof. However, if a student said, "so and so pushed me against my desk about halfway through 3rd period", then they could have someone go back and check to see if it's true. But I don't in anyway think someone should sit there and constantly "look" and monitor. That would make us look untrustworthy.
    If anyone doesn't like camera's, here is a something that happened when I was younger.
    This is a TRUE story. When I was 17 years old, some random person tried to accuse me and my brother of breaking into a car at on a Saturday afternoon in a grocery store parking lot. My brother and I worked at the grocery store and went to say our goodbyes to a manager we liked since we were off work that day. We were both there when someone called the cops on us, the police looked at the evidence from cameras and showed that no one tried to break into any car whatsoever. You don't ever want to know the anxiety, fear, and embarrassment we felt being held and questioned by cops when we did nothing. At the time, a cop called our parents saying what we were being accused of and we might being going to jail. The guy who filed the report had to be taken in because of false evidence and they thought guy was pretty much insane. The cops called our parents the next day and apologized for making the accusation. Reporting false crime is a felony, that can last a lifetime, even for teenagers. I also found that that guy was charged and never allowed back to the grocery store property thankfully. It's always better to have proof, especially now days, since we have the technology is available. We unfortunately now days, have to protect ourselves from the few insane, maybe less than 1 in a 1000 people that could destroy someone's career and reputation forever. It may be rare, but hope it never happens to any of us. If it were like 1970, the school district would brush it off, but now, everyone in the district will take these accusations seriously.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2017
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