My daughter had a terrible first grade year. From October through June she cried, every morning and night, about going to school. She had stomachaches. She told me she wanted stay in bed and never go to school again. She clung to me in the hallway when I tried to nudge her into the classroom. When the teacher and principal were not able to do much, we had my daughter see a therapist, and we limped along until the last day of school.
With a new teacher in second grade, my daughter became herself again. She donned her signature Rainbow Couture, she literally whistled while walking to class, she was excited for school every single day, she helped me bake cookies for her teacher, and she was delighted when he promised he’d come to her violin recital. She cried on the last day of school, labeling him her most favorite teacher ever. Through third and now fourth grade, she has popped into his class on many occasions just for a visit. Quite simply, he changed her life.
But this winter, we learned that this most favorite teacher ever had been charged with a gross misdemeanor: sexual misconduct with a minor for immoral purposes.
This teacher is forty, married with two young girls; the victim, a newly sixteen-year-old girl, was a volunteer in his class. Of course he is innocent until proven guilty, but I have read the police report. The numerous texts and emails he allegedly sent this girl are disturbing and disgusting and predatory. The one-sided correspondence reveals a facet of this man that I—or anyone in our school community—never suspected.
[pullquote] The ambivalence is itchy. I want to plant my feet firmly in the I Despise This Man camp, but I cannot. So, I continue to scratch at the itchiness. [/pullquote]
I feel betrayed. I feel fear, anger and disgust. The victim trusted this man. His colleagues and students trusted this man. Our family trusted this man. Once a beloved teacher, he is now someone who will (most likely) forever be a registered sex offender. What a fall. What a disaster. What a terrible lapse in judgment. What a sickening act. But I feel more than just anger and disgust. More than sadness. My feelings are a tangled mess. [Read more…]