Just banned from my favorite school

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by oldstudent, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Jan 19, 2016

    I have been a substitute for years at a about 60 schools, but there is a particular grade 6-8 school that has become my favorite over the years
    I work there about 20 days a year, and there is great mutual respect among myself and the staff, administration, and students. I am probably either their top sub or close to it..

    On Friday, a 7th grade girl stood up in her chair, and her cell phone was coming out of her back pocket.. I instinctively tucked it back into her back pocket, touching only the phone. with the tip of my finger.

    The next period i get called into the Principal'a office to fill out a statement. The Principal told me the girl complained about this, and her father wanted to talk to me.

    I was told that i had to meet with the district Superintendent this afternoon( Tuesday).

    The Super told me that the girl had complained that she was touched, but I assured the Superintendent that I only touched her phone with my finger tip.
    She then said i would be blocked from accepting jobs at this school for the year, and maybe beyond. She did not know.

    She said i could still take jobs at other schools.

    How common are these troubling circumstances?
    What would have happened if i was a contracted teacher?

    The Super even said the school " loves me", when i mentioned it was my favorite school, but this is apparently irrelevant..
     
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  3. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Jan 19, 2016

    I believe every word you said. Knowing that, I wouldn't get my hands any where near a junior high girl's pocket. Yes, I know you didn't actually touch her, but it was poor judgment. I think the same thing would happen to most people (especially men) if they did the same thing. There is a personal space that any person (especially girls) have, and this is a boundary that teachers aren't suppose to cross. Take a deep breath and feel lucky you can still go on to be a successful sub and a good teacher. I wish you the best of luck.
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jan 20, 2016

    I'm sorry that you aren't able to return to your favourite school this year, but I think that you are fortunate that you haven't been let go outright. If this had happened in my classroom, you wouldn't be welcome back. Whether or not you touched her is almost irrelevant; your hand was close enough to her bottom to touch her phone. The impression (in her mind and those of her classmates) is that you touched her inappropriately. As a contract teacher with almost 20 years experience, I would be spoken to if I had done what you did. I likely wouldn't lose my job, but there certainly could be a formal complaint lodged against me and I could face some sanctions (which are public record). As readingrules12 said, you are fortunate that you are able to continue on at other schools.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016
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  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Jan 20, 2016

    I see two problems, actually, but maybe I am misreading the account. First, I can't think of a reason for the girl to be standing on the chair. That probably put the phone at eye level. Most MS I have worked at don't want phones out during school hours. She had been sitting on the phone all day - worrying about its safety would never have crossed my mind. At the HS smartphones are allowed, but teachers are told NOT to touch them - it is a liability issue and the schools don't want to be liable. Personally, I would have been that dad. Your account is feasible, but it is a matter of violating personal space. As an adult, I would shoot daggers from my eyes if someone put their fingers on my backside, no matter what the reason. I'm a full time teacher, and I am always aware of where my hands are when I am with students - you never know when you might cross a line, so I have a no touch policy. Hope this blows over and all is well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2016
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  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 20, 2016

    I'm sorry to be so blunt, but you exercised terrible judgment here. You recognize that, yes? While I understand that your intention was to be helpful, your actual actions left room for questions, making them, by definition, questionable. You simply must be mindful of how your actions could be perceived. When you are a teacher, you've got 20 or 30 or 40 children watching everything you do and listening to everything you say, so everything you do and say must be 100% above reproach. What happened here does not fit that bill.

    Besides all that, you have no idea what sorts of things that girl has experienced in her life, and she may be especially sensitive to grown men approaching her private body parts. Even if she hasn't been through any trauma or anything like that, it certainly is not unreasonable for a teenage girl to become upset when an adult male gets close enough to her to touch what's in her back pocket. That region is pretty squarely inside her space bubble.

    I wouldn't want any adult man to put his hands near my daughter's bottom for any reason other than perhaps to pick her up in order to remove her from imminent danger. If my daughter had described to me the scenario you described above, I'd be all over that school and that teacher.

    As an aside, why was this student standing up on her chair? Is it possible that the school or superintendent may have some concerns about classroom management that may have contributed to their decision to remove you?
     
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  7. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    Jan 20, 2016

    If I saw that cell phone coming out of her pocket, I would've let it fall. Then she'd learn to be more responsible with her valuables.
     
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  8. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Jan 23, 2016

    Just to clarify,

    I was already directly behind the student when this happened.
    I was sliding behind a row of students chairs to turn off a ceiling projector.

    This student sat up in her chair to give me room to get under the projector. When she got up is when i noticed her phone coming out, and I instinctively tapped it back in. She was not standing on the chair.
    I even said " Whoops, your phone is falling out", as I did it.
    Yes, this was a bad move obviously, but it was spur of the moment instinct to something happening directly in front of me.
    I did not go out of my way to save her cell phone.

    I am sorry for making an instinctive error.

    It sounds like you all wish I had been banned from everywhere.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 23, 2016

    Instinctive? I can't imagine ever feeling such an instinct.
     
  10. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Your phrasing led me to believe she was standing on the chair, so accept my apology for misunderstanding. However, the rest of my post stands. I wouldn't care if you were male or female, the phone isn't the teacher's responsibility, and we must all be ever mindful of the perception of wrongdoing. I live in NJ, and this is one of the most litigious states in the country. I don't want to do anything that might create a question of impropriety. I'm a realist.
     
  11. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    Nobody said they wished you were banned from everywhere.
    We're just saying that's a weird instinct/reaction to have
    Phones shouldn't be in the classroom, even if the school allows out; I would've let it fall :)
     
  12. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 23, 2016

    I'm fairly certain most of us don't wish you "banned from everywhere," oldstudent, but we're reporting our lack of surprise at both the girl's reaction and the school's response.
     
  13. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Jan 23, 2016

    I don't wish you banned at all--not from anywhere. I just know reality. I just want to be honest with you about the reality of how people are going to respond to what you did. You did make a poor choice. It caused you to get banned from a school. I just want to be clear so you realize admin. acted how most administrations will act and less harsh than many. I wish you the best.
     
  14. oldstudent

    oldstudent Comrade

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    Jan 24, 2016

    I have no ill feelings at all towards the school or administration.
    I am fully aware that in today's climate, they had no choice.

    However, facing the same circumstances, It is quite possible that someone here would have done the same thing.
    The only alternatives were to let the phone fall out, or say " your phone is falling out", and hope she would respond in time.
    My reaction was not the best obviously, but it was a normal reaction that even the most well intentioned folks could have.

    My mind had a second to think " maybe I should not do this", and my reactions were quicker than the logic center of my brain.

    Additionally, for the last five or more years, I believe I have been their most requested sub.
    I worked here about 20 times a year, and took less wages to do so because I enjoy it, and they enjoy having me.
    When I told the office manager that " I hope they don't ban me", she replied," No they won't ban you", using tones indicating it seemed silly for me to worry about it.

    Maybe this is why I got off "lightly"

    The Super even said " I know they love you there but....

    I wonder how many reading this are 100% certain they would not have done the same thing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2016
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 24, 2016

    Im 100% sure I'd never ever tuck something in a kid's pocket. You might need to force yourself to become more aware of your 'instincts'.. No matter how well meant
     
  16. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jan 24, 2016

    To be perfectly honest, if this same thing happened in my district--the OP would not be asked back as a guest teacher (this school year or in the future).
     
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  17. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    I also definitely would not have had that same reaction. Even with family or friends, I'd just say "oh hey, your phone/whatever else is falling out"; I personally think it's weird to push a phone back into their back pocket (or even front pocket).
     
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  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 24, 2016

    Or any pocket.
     
  19. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Jan 24, 2016

    I, also, feel bad that you made an honest mistake. I know you don't want to hear this but I'm proud of the girl for telling someone and standing up for herself. You might not have meant anything by it, but someone else might have. I've been in many circumstances where I felt I was inappropriately touched or had an inappropriate comment made by a male coworker and I didn't say anything. That 7th grade girl is braver than I am.
     
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