Tuesday, May 20, 2008
DOE's Zero Tolerance For Hugs But Not Drugs
In the warped universe of the DOE a teacher is more likely to get in trouble if the teacher (especially a male teacher) is charged with hugging a student. On the other hand, a teacher arrested with drugs is more likely to find their way back into the classroom.
Hugging is a time-honored method of greeting between civilized people. However, in the bizarre world of the DOE, the DOE has made teachers fearful of hugging a student. it doesn't matter if the hug is one of consoling, welcome, appreciation, or affection. In the perverted world of the DOE it's all about sex. In many schools teachers are told "don't even touch the students" for fear of being accussed of improper touching. The "rubber rooms" are full of these poor teachers who are not only subject to 3020-a charges but a three month unpaid suspension without health benefits, not to mention the loss of reputation. Is it any wonder that when a student runs up to hug a teacher the teacher is reluctant to respond in kind? What kind of message does that send to the students? The administrators want the teachers to be more personable and mentor the students but get too close and risk removal from the school and even termination charges. Is it any wonder that students complain about their teachers being distant and uncaring? For many teachers, being accussed of being distant and uncaring is not as risky to their careers as being actively involved in their students' education.
While there seems to be zero tolerance for teachers who have physical contact with the students the DOE seems not to have the same standard for teachers accussed of drug possesion. Teachers arrested by the police for drugs are automatically removed from the classroom and sent to the "rubber room". However, if the teacher plea bargains the criminal charge to a misdemeanor or violation, the teacher is almost always sent back to their school with no charges. Many of the teachers are young and some are not even tenured. Yet they seem to be sent back to their classroom as soon as their criminal case is "Adjudicated". Despite the "DARE" program it certainly seems that the DOE tolerates drug possesion. What message is the DOE sending to the students about drugs? Drugs are cool? Maybe the DOE does this because the teachers are younger and cost less. Therefore, lets give them another chance.
While no school system should allow child predators and sexual molesters to work in the schools. Defining innocent hugs or touching by teachers as sexual in nature is a perversion of otherwise normal human interaction and needs to stop. Lumping otherwise innocent physical contact with serious sexual acts weakens and blurs the DOE justification for removing teachers.
The DOE, as usual got it wrong. It is zero tolerance for drugs not hugs.