Afraid to report traumatic incident w/ two students

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by miss newbie, Oct 2, 2011.

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  1. miss newbie

    miss newbie Rookie

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    I had a very disturbing incident at school on Friday that’s caused me to question my own judgment, or lack of it, relating to pursuing a teaching career. I signed on this year as a paraprofessional with the hope of eventually getting hired as a teacher at a private alternative school for males with behavioral issues. I have the education to be a teacher, but in this economy I couldn’t land a teaching job anywhere, not to mention in this particular field.

    After school Friday, I was cleaning up in the auditorium and realized I needed a second person to help me remove the lectern and lock it up in the storage room. I went looking for a teacher who could lend me a hand, but was stopped by two students in the hall who had stayed late because they had detention that afternoon. These young men, one is 16 and the other is 17, both have ADHD along with other issues and have trouble with impulse control.

    Both of them seemed calm as we chatted, so I recruited them to help me lock up the lectern. Everything went fine until I made a poor decision to take my end of the lectern into the storage room first so that I could steer it through the doorway as I backed into the room. As soon as we made it past the doorway, the door swung shut behind the boys. We set the lectern down and I asked the 17 year-old to open the door so we could exit.

    To make a traumatizing story shorter, I’ll just say they did not open the door, and the 17 year-old started “joking” (he wasn’t joking – even though he was laughing) that I should get the door because “they did the bulk of the lifting.” The 16 year-old chimed in laughing and agreeing with everything the 17 year-old said. As I realized they weren’t going to open the door, I thought to myself I don’t want to escalate the situation by arguing because I was scared to be trapped in there with them. Both of them have acted out violently in the past.

    I kept a calm demeanor on the exterior, but inside I felt like I was about to panic because of the vibes I was getting from both of them. I maneuvered myself around the lectern and had to pass between them to get to the door. As I passed between them, I turned myself sideways and I felt the older one’s hands clutch my waist (he was behind me as I slid through) and the younger one blocked my path from the front. To put it euphemistically, both of them touched me inappropriately before I was able to get the door open.

    I felt so sick and ashamed of myself for using such poor judgment that I did not report the incident. I feel like my headmaster will conclude I have no common sense for putting myself in that situation, and any chance of me obtaining a teaching position here when one opens up will be lost.

    I’m scared of reporting the incident, but I am also scared of seeing those boys again. I feel like a huge failure just a few weeks into my job, and I feel like I cannot share this with anyone I know personally because of the bad judgment I used.

    If for no other reason, sharing here anonymously has allowed me to express my feelings about what happened.
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    You need to call an administrator NOW, at home, and report this incident.

    What if the next person they corner is a 14 year old girl??? You made an error in judgement. That doesn't give these two a free pass to terrorize the female population of the school.

    Do NOT buy into the myth that this was your fault-- that's blaming the victim. THEY WERE WRONG. This needs to be handled by administration.
     
  4. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    REPORT IT NOW!!!!!

    [SIZE="3"]YOU NEED TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHER WOMEN. YOU DIDN'T MAKE THAT BIG AN ERROR - I HAVE HIGH SCHOOLERS DO STUFF LIKE THAT ALL THE TIME - YOU ARE NOT THE PROBLEM - THEY ARE. DO IT - NOW! TELL HIM YOU WERE TRAUMATIZED WHICH IS WHY YOU WAITED BUT EVEN IF YOU ARE EMBARRASED YOU HAVE TO DO IT. THIS WILL NOT HURT YOUR TEACHING CAREER BUT YOU WILL FEEL GUILTY THE REST OF YOUR LIFE IF YOU LET THEM GET AWAY WITH THIS BEHAVIOR WITHOUT REPORTING IT.[/SIZE][/SIZE]
     
  5. myKroom

    myKroom Habitué

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    Report it NOW!!!!!!!!! This is not your fault! I'm sure this was incredibly scary but you have to protect yourself and others! CALL NOW!
     
  6. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    The fact that they had the guts to do this tells me it's not their first rodeo. Stop them.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 2, 2011

    Report it.
     
  8. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Nothing is more important than your safety... report it....
     
  9. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Oct 2, 2011

    Please keep us in the loop. You can tell by the volume of responses that we're worried about your safety and the safety of your students. You have done a terrific job at writing down the incident here. Paste it (with names and details of the assault, which is what you suffered) into a fresh word processing document and hand a printed copy to your administrator as a formal statement. If they ask why you didn't report it immediately, be honest that you were in shock and needed time to process that you were, in fact, sexually assaulted by two students.

    I'm sorry you have to deal with this. We are all here for you as a sounding board.
     
  10. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Always do what is right. Then you will never regret not helping when something else happens.
     
  11. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Yuck! I hadn't thought of that but you are right - that is a possibility. Another good reason to be proactive.
     
  12. miss newbie

    miss newbie Rookie

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    I know you all are talking sense about reporting it and I appreciate your advice; I just don’t think I’m able to cope with this today. I’ve been awake all night thinking about the scenarios that could happen, and none of them are good.

    I can almost anticipate what the responses might be –

    … “this is your fourth week on the job, and that’s a serious allegation, do you have any proof?” Well not other than my sincere word. And I’m thinking they both will just lie to cover for each other. It will be my word against the two of theirs.

    …”why did you wait until today to report it, considering the severity of the allegations?” Well, I was in shock, and just wanted to get away from them. I also feel responsible for creating the situation to begin with.

    …”are you sure it wasn’t a misunderstanding…just a flawed interpretation of their intent?” If I have to give a play by play, I don’t see how it could be a flawed interpretation.

    Or the chauvinistic whopper of them all…”well, others have commented that your skirts tend to be on the shorter side of what is acceptable.” I just don’t even want to go there…

    I’m thinking I may call out sick today. It’s not far from the truth…I feel sick.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Just a word of caution: if nothing happens to those 2 boys today they'll gain confidence.

    It's not going to be easy, but I think you need to report it whether you call in or not. Do it, get it over with, and know that you may have saved some tiny little girl from a similar-- or worse fate.

    If these 2 can get away with groping a TEACHER, what's to stop them from raping an 80 pound freshman??? If you're not going to speak up, do you think she will?

    They KNOW you'll be hesitant, and they're counting on it.

    Also, it's entirely possible that the response will be "You poor thing! We'll make sure they never do anything like that again."
     
  14. miss newbie

    miss newbie Rookie

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    I totally understand what you are saying. About the only bright spot is there are no female students. It's all boys.
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    OK, so it will be a girl walking by on a corner, or in a store, or at a dance at an all girl's school.

    I'm not belittling your fear. I can't imagine going through what you have.

    But you NEED to report this TODAY. For your own sake, and for the sake of their next victim.
     
  16. Joy

    Joy Cohort

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    If this is a school for troubled young males, they will have no problem believing you! Things like this have probably even happened before. You need to take care of it!
     
  17. Blance

    Blance New Member

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    You must talk with the headmaster and report the incident. You can be open with him about what really happened and how you feel. He would surely understand that it is not your fault because he knows the students in the school better than you do. You have to do what you must as a teacher, and prevent further incidents like that from happening. It is not only your safety that is at stake here.
     
  18. Mellz Bellz

    Mellz Bellz Comrade

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    You MUST report this! I understand how you feel and honestly your emotions are perfectly normal for someone placed in that situation. The bottom line is that you were sexually harassed and that is taken VERY seriously in most schools. If your headmaster refuses to investigate this, then maybe that isn't the kind of place you want to be working anyway.
     
  19. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I have a personal situation that I think you could benefit from hearing. It's one that I don't feel comfortable telling on a public site. Given how open that I usually am, this should tell you that it is perfectly normal to feel the way you do. Yet it is equally important to report it. I'm going to send you a private message. Given that you are new to this site, please let me know if you don't know how to find my private message.
     
  20. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    It will not get easier if you wait and put it off - it will get harder. Even if you called in sick you should call the principal and tell him why. Think about other girls in the future. Think about the boys who need a lesson in growing up to become responsible young men. Think about other boys who those boys will brag to, who will now think it is something they can get away with. Do you want the boys at the school to think you have so little authority that they can do it again? How could you work there wondering if it could happen again? As a school employee, you are ethically (and probably legally) responsibile to report serious incidents such as this. If you are scared, take someone with you but do it - today!
     
  21. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Oct 3, 2011

    I have to echo the sentiment of everyone else. This needs to be reported as soon as possible. I also agree the headmaster should have no problem taking your word over theirs given the behavior history of the students at the school.

    One thing I would advise you to avoid is giving ANY hint at all that your are at fault in any way. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!!! AT ALL!!!!

    You didn't lock yourself in a closet with these two boys on purpose and there is no reason they should NOT be expected to act like responsible young adults, even in a situation like that. THEY ARE THE ONES AT FAULT!!!! NOBODY ELSE!!!

    You got yourself into a bad situation without realizing it, but THEY are the ones that made the decision to act inappropriately in that situation.

    If you don't report this, not only will it empower them to try this with other girls, it will definitely lead to them bragging about it to the other boys and the rest of the school will think it's ok to do that. Then you're gonna have a bunch of eager young boys suddenly "volunteering" to help you put equipment in the storage room or thinking of ways to get you in a similarly compromising situation.

    As a male, I can't even begin to imagine the trauma this has put your through, but I can caution that it will only be worse if you don't act on this incident right away.

    When you report it to the headmaster, tell him you didn't report it right away because you were too shocked and needed time to process exactly what had happened. DO NOT say "I felt guilty because it was partially my fault". NO IT WASN'T! So don't give ANY indication at all that your actions played a part in what they did. Write it out in a formal complaint. Think about what you want to say. Practice your responses so you do NOT give them an ammo to use to even hint it was your fault. PUT IT ALL ON THE BOYS because that IS where the blame belongs.

    I am terribly, terribly sorry you've experienced this and I honestly can't fully comprehend how terrifying it must be to think about approaching the headmaster with this incident, but it has to be done or the situation will only become worse.
     
  22. Dynamite Boys

    Dynamite Boys Companion

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    I understand where your list of things an administrator *could* say comes from; however, none of the logic seems reasonable. You're at a school for troubled boys, therefore, the administrators realize these boys cause trouble and defend one another. What happened was awful and inappropriate. I wouldn't second guess asking a student for help at any part of my day - what they did was not your fault nor were you at fault for asking for help.

    I cannot imagine the sickening feeling that would be in my gut prior to the conversation you need to have. However, as others have pointed out, you cannot let those boys get away with what they did. You know it's wrong - they know it's wrong - and now they're waiting to see if you're going to report them.

    Protect yourself - report it. Please.
     
  23. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    So, how did it go?
     
  24. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I am anonymous here, so I have no problem sharing my story.As a child, I was sexually assaulted for years by a family member. Another family member was aware, but did not report it to anyone. Had it been reported, my years of abuse may have ended a lot earlier.
    As a result, I am a strong advocate for women's rights, especially women who have experienced what you have. The monsters out there who abuse people need to be stopped, and the only way for this to happen is by holding them accountable. Don't let these boys steal more from you than they already have...
     
  25. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

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    If you are feeling this sick about it, it is not going to go away. The longer you wait, the more likely you will get these comments (except the skirt one). It is a hard thing to face. It probably won't be easy. But hopefully, it won't be as hard as you are thinking it will be.

    Consider this: what if it isn't their first time to do something like this. How do you know they haven't done this in the past?If they get away with it now, they will more than likely try it again. And honestly, boys talk just as much as girls do. These boys will be proud of what they have done and telling others. You've got to stop this now!

    It's a terrible situation. But, if your administration does question you, then you know that this school is not for you. I'm not usually an advocate of someone leaving a job in this economy, but if they are not protective of their teachers, LEAVE!

    Questioning yourself is a part of this type of abuse. People tend to look back and see all of the things that they feel they did wrong. Regardless of what you feel you did wrong, the STUDENTS are completely wrong here. Nothing you did warrants this type of behavior. You did not deserve this.

    Please, please, please, go talk with someone now! If you are nervous going to your P, go to a close friend and have them go with you. Go to the counselor and let them go with you.

    My heart and prayers go out to you.
     
  26. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I do think you should report it as well. This is for your own safety, but also for the safety of others who might possibly find themselves in the same situation with these two individuals if there aren't any consequences or what they did.
     
  27. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Agree about not admitting fault. Your allusions to that in your post came from YOU overthinking the situation and trying to rerun it in your mind. What happened was the fault of the boys.

    You should definitely record your side of it and report it. But stick to the facts. Don't analyze what "could" have happened or what you "should" have done. Just say what happened.
     
  28. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Are you okay? We're all here giving you added strength to go ahead and report it.
     
  29. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    If you are still having difficulty about reporting this to your P, why not write down what happened, just the facts as others have suggested, and post it here. It might be much easier to report this to your P if you have something already written down to read and it might help you keep your emotions in check.

    Please, please let us know how you are
     
  30. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Correct me if I'm wrong.

    It is my understanding that as a mandated reporter, you are required to report it. If it comes out later that you didn't report it and it could have potentially prevented something else, it could potentially cost you your license. All it takes is the kids talking about it to come out.

    Not to add pressure, but there are all kinds of reasons you should report. It's scary. It may or may not have the results you were hoping for. It may feel like your fault, but it is not.

    This will likely not be the only incident in your career that will be hard to face and may not be the only incident you ever have to report to authorities. It is NEVER easy, especially when it is out of your control and there are both positive and negative consequences for doing so. If you read these boards often, you will realize you are not the only person here that has had to really face tough decisions or report incidents. My first year resulted in my team teacher and I needing to report something officially. It was tough. It was scary. But that's why they make us MANDATED reporters to keep us from bowing into our emotions and realizing that legally we have to do it.

    You have our support.
     
  31. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I hope you reported the incident today!

    I had a similar thing happen to me when I was subbing in the 8th grade. One of the boys grabbed my butt. I walked out of the classroom, and went right to the Principals office. The student was suspended for a week.
     
  32. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Wow, what a tough experience for you to have endured. I'm not sure if I can add much advice--it has already been given. I'd just like to ask you what you would recommend to your sister if that had happened to her? Would you encourage her to hide in shame, or take a stand in courage to defend herself?

    I just want to encourage you to be careful in this time of crisis. The best way you can take care of yourself is to face your fears and face your violators. Even if you fear repercussions from your P, your own emotional well being is more important than any job.

    Further, you are only responsible for your own actions, not those boys. You were doing a good thing, putting away a lectern, being kind to students and allowing them to be helpful rather than being treated like hoodlums. The fact that they did not rise to the occasion is a blight on them and their character. The committed a crime. You did not.

    If your skirt is short, does that mean you invite people to touch you inappropriately? Of course not. If the boys can not function around an adult woman in authority over them, how can they be expected to function in society where women will be everywhere?

    Finally, if they are emboldened by your silence, how do you anticipate that you will not be treated similarly by their friends? When good people stay silent, evil flourishes.

    In the meantime, you will be in my prayers. I am so very, truly heartbroken that you are carrying such a burden.
     
  33. miss newbie

    miss newbie Rookie

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    Oct 3, 2011

    You all are a wonderful supportive group of people. I deeply appreciate all your advice. I have responded to a few of you in private, and I appreciate your encouragement.

    Earlier I referred to the euphemism of them touching me inappropriately. I used that euphemism because I wasn’t prepared to disclose the ugliness of the assault on my dignity and body that those boys perpetrated. I couldn’t begin to detail the facts here in a public forum as a draft of what I would give to my headmaster. I haven’t slept this weekend, nor have I been able to eat because of the flashbacks.

    As much as I recognize your reasons for encouraging me to report it, I just couldn’t do it today. I am thinking of approaching one of the teachers who has been helpful to me since I began working. I may even call him so that I don’t have to look him in the face as I try to tell him what happened. Thanks again for all the support. It is helping.
     
  34. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    Oct 3, 2011

    It's been said a lot, and I know you understand based on your post.

    But if you can't report it for yourself, report it for their future potential victims. Please, too many wonderful bright girls have emotional scars for their entire lives because of acts like these boys did against you. The sad truth is if they don't get caught, their behavior is going to elevate...and as horrible as what you experienced was, the next girl could be raped, the next one beat and raped, the next one...

    Please, please report it.
     
  35. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    Oct 3, 2011

    The longer you put it off the harder it will be to report it and the dealing with it by the administration will become more difficult. If you as a teacher allow these teenager to get away with this you are demeaning yourself to all the boys in the class-because word will get around and you are handing the two boys a horrible power which will escalate in its use. No matter how embarrassing and mortifying it may be right now think how much more embarrassed and mortified you will be if a teenage girl gets raped by these same boys and you never reported what happened.
     
  36. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Oct 3, 2011

    The longer you delay in reporting, the more pleasure the boys take in what they did to you.

    Do not let them have that satisfaction. They do not deserve it. They cannot have their repugnant behavior positively reinforced.
     
  37. AndreGreen

    AndreGreen Companion

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    Oct 3, 2011

    PLEASE report it! Keep us in the loop on what happens.
     
  38. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Oct 4, 2011

    As I said before, I can't even begin to imagine the level of horror and trauma this has put you through. We are all deeply sorry you had to experience something like this.

    Even though we don't know you personally, we all DO feel and share the pain you've experienced because it could very easily have been one of us that suffered through the incident.

    I know we have all urged you very strongly (and maybe a little too strongly sometimes) to report this, but it is only because we are concerned about YOU and angry at the BOYS for what they did to you. NOBODY here would conceive of placing ANY blame on you at all for what happened because you are NOT at fault in any way. But we all feel the boys do need to face the consequences for what they have done.

    I understand this is a very difficult decision on your part, but I agree with everyone else that it will only become harder if you wait longer. Each day that goes by increases the slim chance admin might ask "Why didn't you report this sooner?" In that case, I still feel the perfect answer is to say "I was so shocked by the incident that I had to take some time to fully process what happened."

    The first step would be to write everything down on paper, recording only the facts of the situation and not second-guessing your actions. Just write down what happened like an incident report. Look it over and see if you need to add anything or change the wording around. Once you feel you have an accurate, factual account of what happened, call the other teacher and discuss the issue with him. Ask if he would be willing to go with you to admin to report the situation.

    We all sincerely hope everything works out for you and the boys are made to face the consequences for what they have done.
     
  39. america82099

    america82099 Rookie

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    Oct 4, 2011

    I'm so sorry for what happened to you. (((HUGS)))
    I'm praying for you to gain the strength to report this incident. Not for them, but for your well-being.
     
  40. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Please don't let these boys win.
     
  41. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Oct 4, 2011

    I bet a few of the coaches at school would have a way
    of "correcting" those *@%$$&*@s. If they can do this
    with an adult or teacher the female students at school
    are HUGE targets. Do what is right. Sometimes it is like
    a **** sustaining damage. You step up and expose them
    and some of those previously fearful may step up and then
    the light is shined on these loathsome punks.
     
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