Rejection

The educational community has rejected me once again.
Another potential speaking engagement has been cancelled.

There was an inquiry recently about having me speak at a local venue, and the owner of the venue sought feedback from teachers and administrators in the area regarding the issue at hand, and as hard as she tried, educators refused to entertain the possibility of broaching the subject of unlawful teacher/student relationships.

The person trying to put the event together did her best and was amazingly supportive of my endeavors; she fully understood how important my message is and was willing to host an event for teachers to come hear the brutal truth as well as signs, symptoms, and solutions to the problem. However, she was met with strictly negative feedback. I am deeply grateful for her efforts, but I think this simply further illustrates the biggest problem of all:

Addressing this problem means schools must first admit the problem exists.

No principal thinks its happening in his/her school. No teacher thinks it’s happening among his/her colleagues. But it is. Statistics prove it; news headlines prove it; I prove it.

This head-in-the-sand mentality only makes the problem worse. We all want to believe in the pure nobility of the teaching profession, but the truth is, it has its cancers just like any profession. So pretending these problems don’t exist is pure negligence on the part of teachers, principals, and school boards.

I don’t hate teachers. My own wife is a teacher. But what I do hate is the refusal of schools to admit that this problem exists. I was a significant part of the problem, so I know the problem exists; and I certainly didn’t start the problem.

So why are schools so reluctant to address this issue?

Because addressing this problem means schools must first admit the problem exists.

Educators need to have the courage to address the issue. Educators need to have the integrity to address the problem. But apparently, I’m still the bad guy, even though I’m the one standing up in the face of humiliation and fighting for student safety.

I want to do two things:

  1. I want to provide a perspective which will prevent another teacher from making the choices I made.
  2. I want to provide information to all teachers which will assist in protecting students from a teacher who may be prone to perusing an unlawful relationship with a student.

———Please explain to me how I’m doing a bad thing here———

I was the bad guy. I was the villain. Now I’ve switched sides and I’m fighting the good fight. Why do people want nothing to do with this message?

Why are schools against the initiative of preventing unlawful teacher student relationships?

Because addressing this problem means schools must first admit the problem exists.

So I think we’ve found our problem. School leaders lack the courage to address this issue because it would mean admitting an issue exists. And if this issue exists, what does that say about the leadership of the school?

When I spoke at the NASDTEC conference in Arizona last month, they gave me amazing feedback regarding my message! After my speech, there was literally a row of people, lined-up, waiting to speak to me one-on-one. I had great conversations with great people and we brainstormed some great ideas. But that was at the national level, so it was almost an abstract concept. When we get down to the reality of it — actual schools, actual classrooms, actual teachers — suddenly, educators do not want to admit the problem exists.

So here’s my question: At what point does the fault lay at the feet of the school district officials for not taking advantage of the opportunity to address this issue?

Don’t let the school district PR staff lie to you any longer. Teachers are not trained on how to prevent this behavior from happening; teachers are not trained on spotting the warning signs of unlawful teacher/student relationships; teachers are not taught the proper channels for dealing with a potential situation of abuse by a teacher.

The resource for a solution is available — the problem exists — doing nothing is no longer an option — ignoring the issue is no longer an option — addressing the problem is the only option.

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