I've chosen to resign this week. Need some help.

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ben B., Oct 9, 2017.

  1. Ben B.

    Ben B. New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2016
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    3

    Oct 9, 2017

    I am a special education teacher in Ohio mild/moderate k-12 for students in the middle grades. I work a large urban public district. I have been teaching for over 5 years and never thought this day would arrive. For the duration of my career, my attendance has been excellent (never missed more than 2 days each year) and my tdes ratings have all been effective. Lately, thought about resigning due to the stress involved with teaching, but the thought of doing it during the school year has never crossed my mind. At our school, we have students with behavior problems who have always been welcome in our rooms, and my colleague and I have always been open to collaborating with each other and with our students parents. To the point -- We have a student (severe behavior problem) who is with me for two periods a day for pull-out services. This student has been expelled from 2 other schools prior to last year due to violent and explosive behavior (ripping apart office, ripping apart principals office, threatening staff, etc.) We inherited this student last year and he was placed on my colleague's caseload. He made it through last year but had to have a manifestation last spring due to violent and explosive behavior (bumped into a teacher, kicking lockers, threatening peers) One may wonder how he didn't get expelled from our school - as are many of us teachers. Anyway, last week this student began harrasing a peer in my classroom (calling her fat, making fun of body parts, etc.) I told him this is harrassment and he can't do that. I offered him a break outside of the room, offered him a phone call home, the student told me he "hopes I (teacher) die". I asked the student to go to the office to wait until after class where I could meet him and we could call home. The student then walked to my door and began destroying my entire room- kicking trash cans around, punching wall, kicking walls. - I can live with this as it's part of my job duties to shape this sort of behavior. (I sent another student for security) However, in the middle of the student's tirade, he went too far as he came behind my desk, began screaming at me that he hopes I die, began punching and kick the wall and my desk, began raising his fist to my face screaming he hopes I die and he wants to kill me. As he was doing this, I had my hands up (like I was getting robbed), telling him that everything is ok and that he needs to go to the office. He walked away for a moment, thought about leaving, then came back into my personal space and repeated the threats, taunts, fist raising etc. Again, I was cornered behind my desk with nowhere to go. I felt so powerless. I thought that at any moment he was going to punch or kick me. - And if he did, what was I to do? Had I defended myself in any way shape or form I would have been open to investigation for a myriad of legal issues. Luckily he never hit me, again I had my hands up at my sides, calmly telling him to go to the office. This time, he did. - DOESNT END HERE THOUGH! I called down the office and told the secretary that this student is never to be in my presence again, is to be promptly sent to the principal and that I would be writing up paperwork requisite to have the student removed from the building. A security guard came up to my room with witness statements, had other students write down exactly what happened. The other students commented to me how they could see that I was shaken up. - All this at 9:30 in the morning. After the students were done writing their witness statements, (about 25 minutes after the student from earlier had left the room) I walked them into the hall so that they could begin lining up for their next class. GUESS WHO WAS IN THE HALL HOVERING AROUND MY DOOR! - The student from earlier. I again told him to go to the office, he looked and me and said he wasn't going to do anything I said and then began calling me a FXXing FXXXot, I realized that he was about explode again, so I locked myself in my room. Then, with the hallway filled with teachers and students, the student began kicking my door as hard as he could - trying to break my door down. I was scared and so confused as to how he was back on the second floor of our building. I promptly called the office and screamed to our secretery "HE'S BACK UP HERE KICKING MY DOOR IN, IM CALLING THE POLICE" - I didn't call the police and the student was escorted away from my door by somebody (I don't know who). My principal told me to go home for the remainder of the day because I was so distraught - shaking, unable to focus. My principal told me the student would be suspended for 10 days, I replied that if the student was ever allowed back into our building that I would be resigning. Later that night, my wife got home from work (she works for a hospital system in HR). I told her what happened and she looked at me and said " You work in a very hostile environment and should never go back due to your personal safety being at risk." She told me to file a police report to see if the student could get charged with criminal menacing. She told me that the situation I was put in needs to be documented, all witness statements and security camera footage needs to be sent to the union chair and security team for the district. So, the next day I emailed the higher ups in the union and our principal and restated what happened and told them that the feelings of powerlessnes, feelings of being unsafe have understandably jeopardized my level of comfort and confidence in being in front of a classroom. I told them that I wanted to be placed on paid administrative leave and I want to receive counseling and a fitness to teach exam after the way I was victimized by the student. The union leader told me to take as much sick time as I needed while they sort through everything. However, it's less than a week, and I can't hang on any longer. I want to resign so that I can move forward with my life. I realize my license may be suspended for up to a year but at this point, I have been offered a position working at my friends company (nothing related to teaching). I plan on starting there this week and emailing my resignation. I know that I can sit at home and use sick time until all of this plays out, but I don't want to. I want to resign and will not use any sicktime on days that I work at my friend's company. Thoughts? Advice? Thank you in advance.
     
  2.  
  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    7,840
    Likes Received:
    1,049

    Oct 9, 2017

    My goodness, this is terrible! Is the student still allowed on school property after all this? If so, definitely talk with your union about what steps you can take to remove yourself from the situation without losing your license.
     
    Backroads and futuremathsprof like this.
  4. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,242
    Likes Received:
    425

    Oct 9, 2017

    You are still upset. Don't make any rash decisions. Consult with your union, that is what they are there for.
     
  5. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,242
    Likes Received:
    425

    Oct 9, 2017

    I would feel just as you do. I'm a guy but knowing I might have to stand there and be assaulted without the real ability to defend myself without serious consequences is terrifying.
     
    futuremathsprof likes this.
  6. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    6,043
    Likes Received:
    798

    Oct 9, 2017

    I'm so sorry you had to go through this. It sounds like the teaching profession will be losing a good teacher, but your health is more important.
    Good luck with the new job. Can you tell us what profession you will be working at?
     
    futuremathsprof likes this.
  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    5,867
    Likes Received:
    1,192

    Oct 9, 2017

    I have been victimized by a student or two, and thought about quitting. Here's the rub - if I had left, the impetus to remove a dangerous student from the population fizzles, and the student stays to terrorize more students and your replacement. There are good fights to be fought, and this is probably one of them. Use your sick time, go on medical leave if necessary, and this will maintain your seniority and benefits. Get counseling, take all the time you need, but don't back down from the demand to remove this volatile student from the school. File an assault complaint with the police and let the law take over what happens next. Check with your union and see if you can file a grievance against the administration, since the student wasn't truly removed in an expedient manner, leaving you vulnerable to further attack. Contact a lawyer to see what legal recourse you have and what financial reward may be due you. You did everything right, and the admin didn't fly to your aid to protect you and the students who were impacted by the incident. Advocate for yourself and your students, and make sure that charges are filed and that you follow up on them.

    This is a student who is showing mental instability, and he doesn't belong in a general population. Legal charges need to make both student and parents aware that this student has seriously crossed boundaries, and that there is no easy way out of this situation. If you leave, someone without a clear understanding of what has happened will be at risk. You did your best to descalate the situation, and that is a huge plus. If you leave, you lose a job, self esteem, and the ability to advocate for the students who you protected in the attacks. Sometimes a monetary settlement in your behalf sends a message that there are lines in the sand that matter, and that the school realizes that they are obligated to serve and protect not only other students, but also the staff designated to work with volatile and dangerous students.

    The legal battle will provide time for you to heal, time for the school to own up to where they dropped the ball, and a chance for the school to rectify shoddy actions. The legal battle also gives you the time to garner public support on your behalf. I would not throw in the towel and slink away, because there are principles that need to be addressed, and I am a fighter. I would fight for what is morally right and just stand my ground.

    I would defend my license while placing blame where it belongs. For me, I would stand my ground and fight the good fight. This time he assaulted an adult who can rally the troops; the next time he may go after a student who lacks the resources and courage to stand up for themselves. I understand the almost PTSD after effects, but fighting the aggressor may be beneficial in the long term. I know how terrifying this ordeal was, and only you can make others see it through your eyes.

    Let me wish you the best of luck. Facing the turmoil may turn out to truly be cathartic and healing. You are not alone. :hugs:
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  8. rpan

    rpan Comrade

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2017
    Messages:
    299
    Likes Received:
    242

    Oct 10, 2017

    That situation is truly terrifying. Hats off to you for keeping your cool and being calm. I don't have any advice because I have never and hope I never get to be in this situation. But I do know never to make decisions when things very fresh and you may not have had all the time you need to process everything.

    Use the sick days and time off to sort things out, make calculated decisions and if the end result is that you still choose to quit at least it was a decision made with the time needed to process everything.
     
    anon55 and CherryOak like this.
  9. FrankFromFranklin

    FrankFromFranklin Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2016
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    8

    Oct 10, 2017

    This is an awful situation. I am sorry you had to go through that. If something this severe happened to me in the classroom, I would tell administration that if the student is ever allowed to return to this school I will resign. I am sure you have a lot of students that need your attention. I would not be able to do my job effectively if I were constantly worried about a student acting on violent threats that he/she made. Good for you for standing up for yourself and your district should be ashamed of even considering letting that student back in the building. I wish you well with whatever you decide to do.
     
    Backroads likes this.
  10. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,015
    Likes Received:
    78

    Oct 10, 2017

    First, WOW, I am so so sorry this has happened to you. I would not only feel helpless but then how would the other students react when you come back? Here are a few things to consider:
    *Why leave if they can give you another job. This way all your years won't go away.
    *Use that sick leave. May them pay for your time to honest relax. You deserve it.
    *I would almost demand that the union make that student be displaced rather than you displace. What kind of organization allows a student to win in that way?
    *I know you are in pain now and you cannot stop thinking about the situation, but really until you go back and face that fear, are you ever going to be okay?
    I am sure you are a great teacher. You deserve the mental break. But I encourage you to try to go back. I think you will never feel satisfied unless you do even if it is for only a few weeks. But hopefully it will help you see that you can win in this situation!
     
  11. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    2,266
    Likes Received:
    951

    Oct 10, 2017

    Now, you manly menfolk rock, but I don't think there should be any shame in these feelings.
     
    futuremathsprof and AlwaysAttend like this.
  12. Belch

    Belch Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2017
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    15

    Oct 10, 2017

    It sounds like your admin is hopelessly inept.

    I would clean out my desk and leave. There's no way I would stay in a situation where I knew my students were being put at risk by a violent student.

    I know, I know... you feel an obligation to your students who you are leaving, but by staying, you simply add fuel to the fire. Call the parents of your students and explain why you are leaving. Tell them the truth - their children are in danger because the administration allows violent students to assault their children, and will do nothing about it.

    Then leave. Go to another school where you can work with administration. You'll be a lot more effective, and you won't have to worry about your new students being physically assaulted. You did what you could for your old school, but it's time to move on.
     
  13. vickilyn

    vickilyn Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    5,867
    Likes Received:
    1,192

    Oct 10, 2017

    Although I know your heart is in the right place, calling the parents of the students that OP teaches, and delivering the message that their students are at risk may create a situation where the school could sue for spreading confidential information. If OP follows this advice, he has broken the rule of not sharing information about a student or students with others without explicit permission from the student (if over 18) or his legal guardian. I just want others to realize that we don't get to pick and choose what is covered by the rules of confidentiality. Talk about adding fuel to the flame. . .
     
  14. Belch

    Belch Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2017
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    15

    Oct 10, 2017

    Well, I don't teach in the states, so I know nothing of your legal situation. I am merely speaking about being professional and thinking about what is right for the students.

    The parents deserve to know that the school they entrust their children to is putting them in danger. If your laws disagree, then you need to change your laws.

    Where I teach, we put students first.

    p.s. This forum has taught me why Americans distrust their education system, and why there are so many parents who don't trust schools to such an extent that they would rather teach their own children, then entrust them with American teachers.

    It seems that a law degree is required in order to teach in America, and all that does is teach teachers that they can't put their student's interests first. You worry more about being sued than you do your own students. If I lived there, I wouldn't trust you guys, either.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  15. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,242
    Likes Received:
    425

    Oct 10, 2017

    Burn... Should we put the violent kid on death row or is there hope for rehabilitation?
     
  16. Belch

    Belch Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2017
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    15

    Oct 10, 2017

    Perhaps the moderators of this forum should consider adding a new sub-forum that is dedicated to legal matters specific to the states. Honestly, I find myself continually butting heads here with teachers over American laws, rather than pedagogy.
     
  17. Belch

    Belch Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2017
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    15

    Oct 10, 2017

    Well gee, I dunno. Maybe expel the kid? At least that way, your students who have learning disorders aren't going to be afraid to walk from one classroom to another.

    Just a thought. I mean, having to deal with a learning disorder is hard enough without worrying about being physically attacked in the hall. I know special education students, and they're awesome!!!

    But apparently, that disability isn't enough in America. You have to add to their troubles by introducing violence to the curriculum.
     
  18. vickilyn

    vickilyn Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    5,867
    Likes Received:
    1,192

    Oct 10, 2017

    We do care about the students, but laws about confidentiality are there to protect the students so that people can't use personal information against them. It is very similar to our privacy laws in the medical field. Right or wrong, records and information are not to be shared with anyone not authorized to see the material. As the mother of a SPED child, as well as a patient, I appreciate knowing that my personal information stays personal.

    If police charges are filed, that will likely be reported online or by news agencies. At that point it is public knowledge. However, school personnel can neither share nor divulge matters that are considered confidential or private. Trust me - if the story breaks in the news, gossip will spread the story like wildfire.
     
    yellowdaisies and AlwaysAttend like this.
  19. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,242
    Likes Received:
    425

    Oct 10, 2017

    Kid ends up on street and murders 3 people because the voices in his head told him to.

    What needs to happen is that the student is placed in a more appropriate setting. If the OP decides to leave, it shouldn't be out of fear of this one student.

    I'm all for expelling the incorrigible, but in this case, it's clearly a mental health disorder.
     
    Backroads likes this.
  20. vickilyn

    vickilyn Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    5,867
    Likes Received:
    1,192

    Oct 10, 2017

    And there are appropriate school settings that deal with these types of students, trust me. We have the right school/environment to meet the needs of virtually any child with a learning disability - the IEP just haa to get them to the right placement.
     
    AlwaysAttend likes this.
  21. Belch

    Belch Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2017
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    15

    Oct 10, 2017

    Yet the OP already wrote that he contacted the office and told them to keep that student out of his building, but that obviously didn't work.

    So my suggestion to quit isn't entirely without merit. The administration is inept and putting students at risk because of their incompetence by failing to remove a violent student.

    Teachers who continue to teach students in such a situation are morally culpable.

    I'm sorry to appear so emotional over this, but I truly love special education students, and reading posts that basically say "yeah, well the law says we can't protect them" just isn't good enough.
     

Share This Page

test