- 151 teachers reported for sexual misconduct
- Sustained in 26 cases
- Included sexual grooming and plying with alcohol
My father accused me of being sanctimonious as a child. He felt I had a 'holier than thou' view of the world, and that I judged others harshly. I think it was because he felt I judged him for his divorce to my mother. I hadn't, but I think he felt guilty. I was ashamed of my body as a child, and I wouldn't take off my clothes with others present, even to change for sport. Partly that was because I had been beaten up a few times and felt vulnerable without clothes, but there was some truth to the assertion that I would not be nude near others .. even family. I never understood why teachers felt they needed to be involved with my sexual development.
In the US, Princeton NJ, progressives held the floor for education and one program was instituted in my elementary school. Children, with parental knowledge, were allowed to view naked men and women in the nurses office. The pictures were from magazines that showed explicit photos, but weren't of couples engaged in sex acts. My older sister had once got a camera and had taken pictures of the family .. they had stripped me (I was the youngest of four) and I had fled to my room. My sister tried to get the photos developed and was warned she could be reported to authorities for producing child porn. She explained I was her brother and my mother was present. If the authorities were warned, they never acted against my eleven year old sister (I was five). I was very curious, and once, while in the nurse's office she asked me if I wanted to look at the magazines my eyes had been drawn to. I gave a non committal reply, but kept looking their way. She told me it was ok, that my parents approved, and I was going to break my stasis and reach for them to look, but she added that she had to watch me if I chose to look at them. I didn't want to be watched while looking.
My mother in getting a mature age science degree in geology had travelled with my younger sister and myself interstate. I would have been six or seven years old. We stopped at a hotel, and my mother left my sister and I there while she did her university things. Before she had left my sister had found a Hustler magazine left by a previous hotel guest. She looked through it while my mother looked on. My mother had asked me if I wanted to look at it while she watched. I declined. I tried to look at it when mother left, but my sister insisted she would have to watch me if I chose to look at it. So I removed it from the rubbish bin just before we left the hotel. Mother asked if we'd left the magazine behind, and I gave this tired sigh and said my sister had stared at it enough to not need it anymore but that it didn't interest me yet. At home I realized I would be caught eventually, as my mother cleaned rooms, so I hid it among my sister's things and played in her room with her .. much to everyone's surprise. When my mother found it, many days later, she discussed the matter with my dad. He thought I had put it in my sister's room. My mother asked me about it and I dissembled, pretending surprise at it still being around. Mother asked if I had kept it, and I pointed out that I had never been interested in it, but my sister had been very interested. Mother asked me about playing in my sister's room, and I said that my sister had asked me to play with her (which was true enough, but very misleading). So mother punished my sister who vehemently denied everything.
After my younger sister died we came to Australia. My parents divorced and as an eleven year old I went to Australian schools. I spent six months at Primary School, and then began year seven at High School.
My primary school teacher had had a difficult divorce and insisted on taking out unresolved anger issues on the boys. My best friend had gone home and asked his mother what a male chauvinist pig was. I didn't know, but I knew it was an insult and didn't feel I needed to know more.
At High School I found that a member of staff was a friend of my dad's. He was effete and spoke with a slight lisp. He was friendly with me, but I kept my distance. I was told, some years later, that he had touched one of the students in my year on the bottom several times. He had done it while they were in the same small room, and it had been deliberate. I was never handsome as a child, but the boy who told me this in confidence was. I filed the information away but didn't tell anyone else about it because of another incident with a family friend. My father had beaten me and I was frightened of him. I didn't want to spend time with him, but divorce proceedings had said that I must. A compromise was arranged, and I spent an evening with a family friend who took me to putt putt golf and allowed me to sleep overnight at his place. He had insisted on showering with me, and soaping me while I soaped him. Then, while I was nude, he got me to ride on his shoulders while he led me to the unit window to look out at Sydney Harbor. In the morning, he asked me if I wanted a 'whisker rub' before he shaved. This had been an activity I'd enjoyed as a younger child, while he rubbed his unshaven face across my belly, but the previous evenings nudity had left me very uncomfortable. At home, I agreed to spend future evenings with my dad instead. I explained why to my mum. She said she didn't believe it, but some months later she organized a dinner and invited the friend around. She instructed that I be polite to him, which exasperated me because I was polite to everyone. After dinner, before I went to bed, she said "He didn't hurt you." I asked her what she meant, and she said that he hadn't hurt me, I was getting along well with him. I said to her that I hadn't said he had hurt me, I had felt very uncomfortable with what we had done while nude. She negotiated with him for access to his holiday home over summer.
Years later, when I had left home at age twenty and was working full time while attending university and living on the opposite side of the city in a motel room, my mother gave him my phone number on my birthday, and asked him to call me. I moved to several other places, and each time she would give him my phone number. I explained to her why I didn't want her to give him my phone number, and she told me she wouldn't, but that I should live with her. I wanted to save money, and I thought it a good idea. But she was a habitual drunk and a manipulative depressive and she told him I was living with her on my birthday. I was very angry with her and didn't want to talk with her. She invited him to my graduation from university. She said years later it was in the hope I would make a scene in front of my dad.
My dad was a teacher academic, as was his friend. My mother was a teacher too. Years later, my father said he had known about his friend all along. My dad had made it very difficult to talk to him about what had happened, so that to this day I don't know if it was a set up to get me to confront my taboo over nudity, or if it was mere rape. If it was rape, was it rape by the family friend, or my mother by proxy?
I became a high school mathematics teacher. I was inducted into modern theory of child development and I was aware of statutory regulations involved with dealing with children. I was surprised when I saw how it didn't match practice when I began teaching. Initially placed at one of NSW's worst schools, I saw ridiculous examples of how abused children abused their rights and was aware of appallingly bad practice among staff. But then some schools are dysfunctional, and many of their students come from dysfunctional homes. One child accused me of abusing him by asking him to do homework and come to class prepared to work. His mother asked me to resign. A decade later he was in jail for murdering a news agent over a mere ten dollars.
I saw a teacher touching young girl students to 'instruct' them in PE activity. I was aware of a male teacher who felt they had to run into girls change rooms while they were changing for fear they would get into fights if they weren't watched. I appropriately reported the activity and was transferred from a school for my trouble. It was a sensitive issue for the ALP when they achieved government in NSW in '95. The issue became a political football and laws were made addressing how teachers were supposed to deal with situations. I believe it was politics which resulted in the death of school boy Hamidur Rahman, and the subsequent apparent cover up. I know of a teacher who felt they could take older kids to a park to study on nice days. That teacher later argued, when caught by police, that they took both boys and girls to the park and they only ever studied .. but it is a diminution of that which protects children which that teacher did not understand .. and they were allowed to resign from the department to work elsewhere as a teacher.
I read a report that the government released about investigations into bad teachers. I think that the problem is much worse that the figures suggest, but that those involved are show pieces which are more closely related to illustrating how the government works than how it fails. What do teachers have to do with school children's sexuality anyway? Sometimes, the ALP goes too far in bringing intrusive bureaucracy into the family home.