I wrote the following post as a Facebook status back in January during my time as a student teacher in San Diego. The sentiment still remains and, as I venture to the new school year as a teacher, I am remembering how annoyed I am at times. I added more at the end.
I want to take a few minutes to explain something that irks my nerves… Excuse the essay.
I want to spend a special “F You” to all the adults, specifically teachers and coaches, who have abused their relationships with children. You know, the ones who receive sexual favors or molest their students or players. The ones who use inappropriately vile language and inappropriate touching. It is because of these people that I am afraid to get closer to my kids. I fear that anything I do can be misunderstood and must tread lightly with every move.
I had a high school girl tell me she feels bad about how black women are treated… So I wanted to send her an email of some poems and websites that promote positive Black female images.
I had a high school boy who was lost in his college search. He didn’t even know the first step to applying for schools. I wanted to send him an email about all the application information he needed for different types of schools.
I had a high school student who wanted me to come to one of his games. But he didn’t know the time of the Saturday game. So I wanted to give him my cell number to call or text me when he found out.
I have two girls on my youth basketball team that have never played before and are far behind. I wanted to give them each private hour sessions to show them some things they need to know.
In all of these situations, I have had to stop and ask myself, “what if someone finds out and thinks I’m trying to be a pervert?” I have had to STOP MYSELF from trying to give these children the best outcomes I can offer for fear that it may turn into a scandal. How shameful is that???? It really pisses me off and I wish things were different.
There is no moral to this story. Just a simple rant of annoyance I feel for those who have crippled the positive relationships I and others CAN make with youth because of their twisted mindset.
And that WAS all. But today, I felt as if expanding on this topic a bit is necessary. As a teacher, we are made very aware of appropriate and inappropriate behaviors in and out of the classroom. I do not disagree with ANY of the guidelines set in place, for the reasons that they have been set in place. When we are around these kids more often than our own families, we develop relationships that are strong. And when you see a student at a bus stop in freezing weather during a rain storm, OF COURSE you want to give them a ride home or at least offer a dry escape until the bus arrives. But it is those who abuse the innocence of children that make it impossible to say, “Hey, just hop in my car until your bus gets here!”
Now, in my head, I always think, “seriously, does anybody think I would really abuse kids? C’mon!” But then I remember, perverts come in all shapes and sizes! We have all undoubtedly seen To Catch A predator (TCAP). In this show, where grown men show up with condoms and alcohol to have sex with 13 year old boys and girls, it becomes evident that we cannot trust ANYONE based on the way they look, their job title, or standing in their community. With pastors, police officers, school teachers, and factory workers having all been caught by the TCAP sting, there is surely someone out there who would have said (previously to the show airing), “No, there is no way that _____ would ever do something like that!” But time and time again (and again… and again… and again), predators come out the boonies and drive hours to prey on youth.
In all, I am simply still ranting. There is still no moral to the story. Other than being transparent, making sure people are aware of your actions and intentions before, during, and after interactions with children, I see no real solution to the problem. But who knows, maybe one day things may be different.