What can I do???

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What can I do???

Unread postby swish » 15 Jun 2008, 14:01

I am looking for some advice. A colleague/friend of mine who works in an academy suspects that one of the male teachers is acting very strange with some of the very young boys. She witnessed something which she was very worried about and told the owner of the academy. The owner then asked my friend to ask the teacher in question about the incident as she said it would be 'better not to get invlved'. He became very defensive and couldn't give a suitable explanation. Since this time, the owner of the school has been very unfriendly to my friend and making it very uncomfortable to work there. She wants to report it to someone but doesn't want to lose her job (although i suspect she will not be asked back next year - or I for being friends with her) Please somebody give some advice as to what we can do. Who can we tell? What is our legal position if we are not given a new contract next term and we suspect it is because of what she saw. This man has a summer job with kids, supervising the changing rooms after swimming. I really think somebody should look into his past or be aware of the allegations.
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Re: What can I do???

Unread postby systematic » 18 Jun 2008, 09:07

This is a delicate situation and your concern is a little vague, because it apparently only concerns a suspicion. Generally, paedophiles have a morbid fear of exposure although they are often reckless, and the last thing any school wants is a scandal that could lead to heir eventual bankruptcy. You - or your friend - should be absolutely 100% sure of your facts as it would be a terrible thing to get a completely innocent person branded with such a stigma, or charged with a crime that carries severe penalties. You will need to asses what is less damaging to the school, and which is of more importance to the school owner:

- Losing a (suspected) paedophilic teacher,
or
- Losing two good, reliable teachers.

Unfortunately you do not state in which country you are employed, as not all countries have the same laws or ways of reacting to these problems. Moreover, unless your employment contracts clearly guarantee you a renewal each semester, the school will not need to "fire" you - it can quite legally simply tell you it does not need you any more, and it will not need to state a reason, however unjust this may seem.

If you are 100% sure that the problem is not just founded on pure suspicion and that the continued presence of this person clearly represents a potential danger to children, then obviously some action should be taken. In my opinion, these are your options:

- Both of you speak to the teacher and tell him what is known and the penalties he risks and that you are prepared to take action. This will not cure his problem, but it may cause him to refrain from whatever it is he is doing in the school.

- Speak to the school owner and suggest that they run some checks on the person; he may already be listed as an offender.

- Speak to the school owner and suggest that if no action is taken you will (both) go, and if you do you will cause a scandal. There are plenty of otherjobs for good teachers

- Don't rely on my advice alone, ask the opinions of others too.
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