Last Thursday, I posted a blog about “passing the trash,” a practice known within the educational system in which teachers who’ve allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct with a student resign and leave their school districts in exchange for confidentiality about their behavior. I received many comments about that story, but this is one I want to share with you. I’ve kept the writer’s name confidential:
Dr. Laura, as a former administrator of a small school district, let me tell you who the real villains are in these cases. No school administration will admit it, but it’s the teacher’s union. It’s like going up against the mob, to come against one of their members. And they don’t care if their member is guilty or not. They will use every tactic in the book to intimidate you into dropping your complaint. Any time an administration tries to discipline teachers or even look into a complaint, the union is there fighting the administration. They file lawsuits and nit pick at your procedures. The teachers have free counsel and unlimited representation, covered by their dues. Just to inquire into a complaint, the school [incurs] a great deal of cost, precious money that has to be taken from some other program or someone else’s pocket.
These types of complaints are the duty of the school board, and school boards are made up of volunteers – they don’t get paid, but they can get sued, and must defend themselves with their own money. It is a fight to correct an untenured teacher, and in fact, there is no way to fire or discipline a tenured one.
We had a horrid teacher (and many complaints), and we tried everything under the sun to get him away from kids. He had his ego stroked by being mean to kids. We tried to pay him off and offer him early retirement, but he wouldn’t go. We were a small district with limited funds. Eventually, the school had to close, and the man finally lost his job. And no one around would hire him. Our teacher was not a molester, but he was a “demeaner” – he enjoyed insulting kids.
Although I do not agree with what these schools have done, I am not surprised. If you have no proof that would hold up in court and kids who don’t want to officially testify, but you know in your heart that this person has done these things, the teacher’s union will spread [the word] that your school district is being very unfair to the teachers, and…will turn the hearing into a circus. As parents and board members, you will do whatever it takes to get them out of your school – and hopefully, away from kids.