The Courts Got It Right

As cited in a recent editorial the Washington State Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that “the names of teachers must be disclosed only in sexual misconduct cases where the alleged misdeeds are substantiated.” This supports due process rights and protects teachers, who are quite vulnerable since they are working with children, from unsubstantiated claims of improper conduct.

This must be the fourth or fifth editorial saying the decision is wrong. However, I really can’t fathom why unsupported claims should be made public. If someone is arrested, then publish the name; an arrest means there has to be at least some sort of evidence of a crime. Otherwise, I think withholding the names is the proper course of action.

Since school officials already must report any suspicions of abuse to the proper authorities, I’m not sure why this is such an issue. The local police force should be doing the investigating any way, not school officials.

I don’t see any value in publishing every accusation or allegation. What does this accomplish, especially if there is no evidence? Does any profession publish every claim, namely the unsubstantiated ones?

By the way, Ryan at Washington Teachers blogged about this in a very well-written post on Saturday.

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5 thoughts on “The Courts Got It Right

  1. jasekj919

    You and Ryan at Washington Teachers have it right. It all reminds me of Oleanna, a David Mamet play where a female student accuses her male professor of questionable actions. There are teachers out there who need to be cut off, but history has proven that a witch hunt doesn’t accomplish much good.

    Reply
  2. Mystery Teacher

    Sadly, I have heard of Many, many teachers who have been accused of improper sexual advances by students who want to get even because the teacher didn’t give them the grade they wanted or failed them completely. Children have learned how to manipulate the system that way. I know there are predators out there but I think they should protect the innocent (teacher) until proven evidence comes up. It makes me mad when a school make the announcement or tells parents without proper investigation. I also think they should investigate the children too. Not just the teacher.

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  3. Mystery Teacher

    I also want to tell you about something that happened 25 years ago. There was a male teacher who was a pedophile. He touched the boys. It was reported to the district over and over but no one believed the children even though they had a lot of courage to come forward. They were made fun of by ADULTS. When a new principal was hired and ANOTHER accusation was made, she did the right thing, she put him on leave and began the investigation. Lo and behold, she found a file of all the accusations of this man and presented it to the police. The teacher committed suicide before anyone could do anything to him. His family told everyone that she was a liar and she caused his death. It ripped the community apart. It turns out that he had been molesting boys for years and years. The family didn’t want it known so they blamed the principal. So, you see we have two sides to a story and lots and lots of victims.

    Reply
  4. drpezz Post author

    While there are two sides, I would still fall on the side of protecting the innocent.

    We had an incident at my school a few years ago where a teacher would not let his students do something (I forget what it was), but the girls filed false allegations against him to get even. Eventually the truth came out, but I can’t imagine the damage that could’ve been done if his name was printed based on a lie. Even if the truth came out, he’d always have been known by that the accusation, not his teaching abilities or his care for his students.

    Reply
  5. ms_teacher

    I do think we need to err on the side of caution. We are, after all, talking about the potential damage to one’s professional and personal life. Once an accusation has been made public, it’s very hard for people to forget, even if the person is later found to not have done anything wrong.

    (as an aside, I wanted to let you know I have something for you on my blog!)

    Reply

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