How do you handle other teachers misconduct?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by JLW, Aug 2, 2008.

  1. JLW

    JLW Rookie

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    I bring this up as this weekend, last night in fact, I went to a house get-together during which another teacher the host!, after decrying the corrosive impact of drugs in the school, pulled out a bong and lit up, and shared with at least half of the attendees. I wish I were making this up, but I'm not.

    I am stupified.

    I cannot believe this. We have absolute ZERO TOLERANCE regarding drugs. I was helpfully informed by several tenured staff members at the now-party that the school district is so desperate for teachers they'll forgive almost anything, and pot use is winked at.

    How in the (insert George Carlin-ish word here) can a teacher do this, in a district with horrible drug and alcohol problems in the student body?

    I am stunned, and don't know what to do.

    How does anybody else, if you've had this type of experience, handle this, in regard to respecting your co-workers, or in... I don't know, 'keeping their secret'?

    Again, I'm just blown away.

    Ideas?
     
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  3. runnerss

    runnerss Comrade

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    Hard question. I would stay away from any after school activities with these women. You don't want to be associated with them at all during after school hours. I would keep a professional distance from them at work as well. This may sound silly, but I would also document that evening, who were involved, how you handled yourself, etc. That way, if it ever came up you would have something to defend yourself.
     
  4. MrsMikesell

    MrsMikesell Cohort

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    I'd just go in, teach, and go home.

    That way your behind is safe.

    Kelly :)
     
  5. Bookworm

    Bookworm Companion

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    I agree. Don't socialize with them outside of school. (It only takes one of them to get busted and the whole group goes down. The local news will have a field day.) I'm having almost the same problem with a group of teachers at my school. We used to go out for snacks and a beverage on Fridays. Everyone would have just 1 drink and leave it at that. It was a great time to relax and spend time as friends. Lately, the group has been going out and having several drinks. I have distanced myself. We live in a relatively small town and I don't want in anyway to jeopardize my career/family.
     
  6. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Definitely document that night. I hope you walked right out... no, I hope you RAN OUT of there. Talk about having ballz. Geeee!

    Keep your distance from there. NOT the clique you want to be in by no means.

    Just Say No... not just something you say to teens aparently... LOL
     
  7. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Were the other guests teachers who you know professionally?

    Not that it really matters.

    I'd avoid this person in social situations.
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I feel so bad for you that you've been placed in this position. Since we spend so much of the day with our students, it should be a wonderful thing to have down time with fellow teachers. That down time has, apparently, gone up in smoke.

    It really is a good idea to keep your distance socially. If this kind of gathering is a regular occurrence, someone will mention it casually to the wrong person. School administration can't wink at a situation that winds up on the nightly news.
     
  9. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    That's just horrible!!!

    Come here to AtoZ forums to socialize, we're a safe group.

    You're not responsible for what someone else gets involved in. You are just responsible for yourself. I'm with all the others, distance yourself from this individual. My grandmother used to say, "When you lay down with dogs you get fleas."
     
  10. JLW

    JLW Rookie

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    What was so weird about it was, it was like I was being tested. It was like junior high (I am so old; I'm sorry, middle school)!

    'Is he cool?'

    I mean, really! I simply told them, look, I've smoked pot (true) and it just makes me motion sick and nauseous (true).

    I cannot believe these people are endangering their careers and families like this.

    It makes me feel that I cannot trust them at work.

    Anyway.

    :unsure:
     
  11. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    You do not handle it. It is not your responsibility.

    Stop hanging around with the teacher in social situations, and continue to go to work and do your job.
     
  12. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    Agreed. There's nothing to handle, it's not your issue. Do your thing, keep yourself oblivious to what they do outside work.
     
  13. MrL

    MrL Companion

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    You keep your head outta office politics, you teach happier. That's what I learned.
     
  14. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Teachers, unfortunately, do not always live by the book. But then, neither to people who have other distinguished careers or positions of authority.

    As soon as they brought out the bong, I would have gotten the hell outta there & if they all laughed at me like the stupid high school kids do, so be it. Their stupidity isn't going to destroy my livelihood in the blink of an eye after I've worked so hard to get where I am. Needless to say, I'll never associate w/ them again. If I see them at school, we can say hello to each other & that's about it.

    This reminds me of something. When you teachers are in friends', boyfriends', girlfriends' cars, how do you really know that they don't have a weapon or drugs in the car. If the police ever happens to stop them for some reason & wants to search the car, that will be the end.
     
  15. muinteoir

    muinteoir Companion

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    I agree with Ima. Stay out of it; it's not your responsibility.

    What IS your responsibility though, is to keep yourself above reproach. Eventually this kind of thing gets out, it always does.
    You don't need to be caught in the middle of something that can cost you your career and self-respect.
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    You don't police their behaviors, you don't police their teaching...You be you- live your life, make good choices, stay away from those who don't make good choices. It's unfortunate that people who will break the law are teachers....there are plenty of great teachers waiting in the wings to take their places. Just stay out of it though. Don't socialize with them. I have no respect for such people.
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Yep.
     
  18. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    I don't think I could have resisted commenting on the irony. "Yeah, I can't believe all the kids using drugs these days. Pass the bong, please. Just kidding... HAHA!" all dripping with sarcasm. But that's me.
     
  19. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    I concur with most of the posters. Avoid being put in the situation again by not socializing with these poeple. Act professionally when dealing with them at school.

    The one addition I have is that in Wisconsin, as in California, teachers are mandated reporters. If there are minors in the household, you may have a legal responsibility to report drug abuse by the adults in the household.
     
  20. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

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    I would work with these teachers in school only when necessary and avoid them after school is over.Do not socialize with them,but since you see them everyday in school,I would try to avoid any confrontations.
     
  21. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    I totally agree. They are adults, and can make their own decisions (good or bad).
     
  22. titansrst

    titansrst Rookie

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    I don't believe in participating in a teacher's version of what police called the Thin Blue Line, or ignoring the ills of colleagues. You are in a tough spot, particularly if you, as I do, feel strongly about the issue.
    Either way, never again associate outside the school with these people. In terms of notifying officials, you must ask yourself if the possible battle in which you'd become embroiled is worth the bother. This may be smaller peanuts in the cupboard. I would, no matter what, document what I witnessed, and send an email to a trusted one right away. The email would have your date. The trusted person should then keep it in his or her mailbox. I also would also then send a hard notarized copy of what I witnessed to myself and a trusted one via registered mail. Again you are watching your own back and you'll never know if you'll need to play these chips. Remember this. Someone else could have witnessed this or witness a similar event later and if your name comes up as having done nothing about it, the wrong principal or school board can all of a sudden charge you with condoning or covering up what happened. This stinks.
     
  23. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I thought this was America. Land of the free? Pursuit of happiness. I have seen teachers down gallons of booze and
    smoke thousands of cigarettes. Take tons of Px medication.
    If someone smokes some pot in the privacy of their own home
    I could care less. What I care about is that the teacher does their job by inspiring kids to do better and prepare them for life.
    I hate to burst a bubble but teachers are just as weak and stupid as most other people, and have probably more stress.
    Exercise and healthy living is my answer but I am not going to be judge or jury about how people live. Drug laws in this country are a joke. It is like prohibition and not working. Education is the key (dont we all think that ;)?
    As for me I dont touch it and have few friends that do.
     
  24. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    I tend to agree with stephenpe. titansrst, I think that your advice is a little extreme given the circumstances although I do share your opinion on the issue itself. However, live and let live and weigh everything. Who was involved, what exactly was the substance, where was it, was anyone endangered, etc...Also, I highly doubt that the original poster could ever be 'busted' for any involvement in this as no 'crime' derived from it and so if it were by chance reported, police have bigger fish to fry than to follow up after the fact on someone smoking from a bong in their own home. That being said, I personally wouldn't be associating with these people outside of work in any case as it's just not my own belief - but IMO that's the extent of any responsibility for action.

    "...teachers are just as weak and stupid as most..." - as teachers, we need to remember this and avoid judging others or thinking that we ourselves have to live up to some higher moral code than the rest of the world. Everyone, regardless of their profession has a responsibility to live well and morally and I know that I will not define myself as a person based on my profession. Who I am as a person dictates how I do my job as a teacher but being a teacher doesn't dictate my actions as a person, if that makes sense. This is probably my biggest pet peeve about the teaching profession in general.
     
  25. MsWK

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    Well, here's my (very liberal, sometimes politically radical) opinion:

    I don't necessarily think this teacher's problem was that she smoked pot in her own house. I think she has a problem doing it in front of a lot of people she doesn't know very well; she has a problem being hypocritical about drugs.

    Realistically, no, she's not endangering her career... she would be endangering her career by bringing pot to school, selling it at football games, getting high with students, etc.

    I say if you don't like it, then don't hang out with her. If it's not affecting her on the job, then it's really just a case of deciding that she's not a person for you to hang out with.
     
  26. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    I definitely would not have any thing at all to do with them outside of school and very little inside of school. Bless your heart!!!
     
  27. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    JLW - I agree with the other posters who said that you should not fraternize with this crowd outside of normal school hours. I don't know what grade level these people teach, but I would even try to avoid them at things like football games - you never know!

    Just another caution: Be very careful if you ARE around when she (or anyone else, for that matter) lights up. You should leave immediately, because the term "contact high" is not a myth, and should you get "popped" for a random drug test, you could very possibly test positive for whatever they are smoking (it's not always pot).
     
  28. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Don't most school districts do random drug testing on employees, teachers included? I believe that they do here, but I could be wrong. Most of my other jobs have involved random testing, I just assume that it would be the same as a teacher.
     
  29. synaesthetist

    synaesthetist Rookie

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    It's posts like these that really make me worry about entering into a career where there are so many eyes on your personal life, as well as your professional life. True, the teacher is not the brightest for what she did, but does it necessarily mean that she should automatically be condemned?

    To be fair, I'm also someone who doesn't quite understand why alcohol and cigarettes are legal while pot is worth sending high school kids to jail. As a student teacher, I went to a Christmas party where my "colleagues" got incredibly trashed on shots - is that really that much worse then a hit off a bong? Also, I see a huge difference between someone under the age of 18 smoking pot (when smoking it can actually have a huge affect on your cognitive development) and adult who has enough experience in life to make that choice for herself. So in that sense, I wouldn't necessarily call her a hypocrite for that action, even though the action seems hypocritical on the surface.

    Be an adult about the situation. If you don't want to hang out with her, don't hang out with her. If you think she's someone you'd like to know, remember that she's human and that humans (even teachers) are fallible. Would you avoid hanging out with someone just based on the fact that they drink? Drinking impairs judgment, damages your body, and was, at one time, illegal. I'm just saying that if someone smokes pot, it doesn't automatically make them a leper.
     
  30. Camel & Walrus

    Camel & Walrus Rookie

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    I don't understand what the problem is?

    Was it feeling uncomfortable in the social situation? Was it worrying over possible career consequences? The irony of talking about youth drug problems and then having some bongs? or that they are teachers using drugs?

    I've taught in the UK and Australia and drug use amongst staff has never been a problem for anyone... by which I mean whether you do or you don't no one really cares.
     
  31. Camel & Walrus

    Camel & Walrus Rookie

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    Yeah I agree with this too.

    Why is everyone pro-ostracizing from these teachers?

    Ok they smoke when they aren't at work, and? Have they demonstrated that they aren't regular/nice people?
     
  32. ~~Pam~~

    ~~Pam~~ Companion

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    As expected, people's opinions are across the spectrum. That's what's great about America!! IMHO, it doesn't really matter what we do or do not justify as right and wrong. It does matter what is legal and illegal. It matters if your contract has a morality clause like mine does.

    Hopefully, you won't encounter anything else like this while you are teaching at your present assignment. It's tough enough to teach without having this kind of distraction! Good luck!
     
  33. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    A hit off a bong is different than smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, because the latter are legal in the US, and the former is illegal.
     
  34. mrs100

    mrs100 Comrade

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    Missy, I was thinking the exact same thing! Drinking a few drinks at a Chili's after school is completely legal! Drugs, however, all illegal. What I would go by is this: if a situation makes you uncomfortable, it's probably wrong. I tell my students the same thing. All it takes is for one nosy neighbor to call the police, and you and the other teachers are done for. I do believe the board would not wink at a drug arrest. I know it sounds extreme, but my husband is a police officer and it HAS happened. I wouldn't go so far as to record it or anything, but I also agree with most that you should steer clear of anyone doing things you don't like outside of work.
    I also think teachers are held to a higher standard...
     
  35. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    mrs100: yes, drinking a few at Chili's is legal, but driving after having consumed those drinks is not.

    I do not fault the teacher for smoking pot, per se. My advice was to avoid circumstances in which the original poster could have his/her own employability called to question, mainly because of the all-to-real possiblity of contact high and its logical consequence of a positive drug test. Do I wish they would legalize and clean up marijuana? Absolutely. The problem is that it is illegal in this country, and the original poster realized that, but just didn't know what to do about the situation.
     
  36. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    It's not just about it being illegal. In most states, it's something illegal that, if caught and convicted, would disqualify a person from teaching.

    I do illegal stuff on my bicycle all the time. But a ticket for running a stop sign or exceeding the posted speed limit is a lot different than a DUI or misdemeanor drug conviction. Even something like shoplifting probably wouldn't be as a career ending move as getting busted for pot.
     
  37. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    :agreed:
     
  38. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    My eighth grade math teacher grew pot, and he was fired from the district, I believe, not just from the school.
     
  39. MrL

    MrL Companion

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    My ninth science teacher used to smoke in the lab with students. I don't think he ever got nailed with it.
     
  40. SouperTeach

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    I think that teachers should be held to a higher standard because we choose to be employed in a career that places us as role models to our students. Drugs and alcohol are not healthy lifestyle choices and can also lead to legal problems as mentioned by previous posters. Many of our students come from homes where pot is bought before groceries are considered. I want to instill in my students that education is a way out of the poverty that they face at home. I think that to do that, I have to model a good, clean life. I know that is contrary to what others think, but it's my opinion.
     
  41. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    I am confused. So, the teacher could get arrested and fired just because she was at a party where one person was smoking pot?

    I agree with the others. If you have that big a problem with it, don't hang out with her. Easy as that.
     

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