Manhandled by a student

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by catnfiddle, Jun 27, 2017.

  1. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Jun 27, 2017

    I was really hoping I wouldn't have to ask about this...

    One of my students just doesn't understand boundaries! I don't know if it's a cultural thing (he's from a country where women are subservient) or if he just doesn't get it, but for the second time, I've had a certain young man touch me in a way that is somewhere between flirtatious and manhandling. The first time, I was wearing a dress with a three-quarter sleeve jacket over it (my favorite jacket because it has pockets). He pulled up the sleeve of the jacket and asked if it was attached to my dress. I pulled my arm away firmly and told him I didn't like being touched.

    Today, when I asked this same student when he was going to get work done with me (he needs some extra help with his ELA work because he is an English Learner), he grabbed me by the shoulders to assure me he'd give me plenty of time next week. :mad:

    Because I've been taking Krav Maga classes for the past month, my instinct was immediately to pluck his hands off my shoulders and throw them to the sides. I walked away until I was calmer and told him, with his homeroom teacher nearby, that he is never to touch me again because he was disrespectful of my space.

    How on earth do I deal with this young man when I have to work with him again? As is, he's pointed out my wedding band and flexed his biceps at me to show off. I let him know both gestures were unwelcome and kind of gross.
     
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  3. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

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    Jun 27, 2017

    I'm obviously a dude, but if this had happened to me by a female student (touching, weird comments) I would have told my administrators and my counselors so that there was documentation that this kid was acting inappropriately. This way the student couldn't later later say you were encouraging it and maybe hearing it from another adult (admin/counselor) will get it through his skull to quit. I would also let one of those individuals contact the parents as well.
     
  4. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Jun 27, 2017

    Do you have school counselors? If so, this is definitely in their line of work. But don't stop with a referral - make sure that you file an incident with the administration and union if available. You were so smart to walk away and regain composure, but it is now time to set boundaries and make them stick. He may claim you are afraid of him, or other tactics to belittle you, but have none of it. If he is an ELL, now would be a great time for him to learn that no means no, and macho behavior that disrespects you as a teacher and a woman will not be tolerated. I would be absolutely adamant that you can only be an effective teacher for this student when other adults are present at any time you must work with him. That protects both of you, actually, and if he can't understand that, he should be able to understand that this isn't negotiable.

    I am sorry that he has made you feel uncomfortable in what should a safe environment, and your actions were above reproach. He can learn about what is and is not acceptable in this country, and macho moves aimed to intimidate will not be tolerated. Cover all of your bases, because you never know when a person this poorly informed about boundaries will ignore guidelines and repeat the situation. Being proactive will help keep you safe and him out of trouble while he gets some wisdom imparted - if only he will listen. Hugs... :hugs:
     
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  5. justwanttoteach

    justwanttoteach Cohort

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    Jun 27, 2017

    I second that! You need to report it to counselor. Start Documenting things that happen. This could be a cultural thing (probably is) but it could be a cry for help. You need to get someone else involved and explain your concerns...NEVER allow yourself to be alone with this student and ALWAYS keep a door open if you have to..
     
  6. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Jun 28, 2017

    We do not have counselors at my school. I did report the first incident to the student's advisory teacher (the closest we have to counselors). The second time, when I told him he was disrespectful, I did so in front of this advisory teacher. I may pull the assistant principal into the matter after graduation is over.
     
  7. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Jul 1, 2017

    Please make sure you have written documentation. Include dates and exactly what happened and what was said. My heart goes out to you. Nobody, teacher, or anyone else, should ever have to go through this.
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I talked with the principal about this matter and he was very sympathetic. He will have a general talk with the student about how to be a gentleman without being a sexist. I have been documenting his behavior in our computer system so it's all there.
     
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  9. MetalTeacher

    MetalTeacher Companion

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    Jul 1, 2017

    I'm glad it sounds like it's being handled well!
     
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  10. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Jul 1, 2017

    Thank you. The whole thing would be laughable if it weren't so uncomfortable. My hair is almost completely white and I'm probably close to his mother's age. Not exactly hot mama material.
     
  11. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Jul 1, 2017

    From working at a camp that often had immigrants as campers, it has been my experience that they try to immediately fit in. They seem to take cues from others their age. Although my experience has been with elementary/middle school aged kids, I still would be surprised if even an older student wasn't attempting to fit in. I would be suspicious that this is not a male/female gesture on his part, but instead perhaps something else is brewing "underneath the iceberg". Some quick ideas that come to my mind as to what might be a root cause for his unorthodox responses, perhaps he is being harassed for being an immigrant, or perhaps he is disturbed by his new surroundings or misses or worries about friends/relatives in his original country. He also might be experiencing some type of irrational fears that cause him to compensate through such unseemly behavior.
     
  12. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jul 2, 2017

    I also second documentation. This happened twice, you let him know how you felt, you referred him, but next time I would write him up for sexual harassment.
     

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