Sunday, February 9, 2014

What EC Learned When She Reported a Student Being Sexually Harassed at St. Francis Prep in 2010

In 2010, a female student in my Accounting class came to me and told me something very disturbing. She said a male teacher was constantly hugging her, and it made her feel extremely uncomfortable. She said he had been doing this for a while, and that she hadn't said anything because she was hoping it would stop. She said she never reciprocated, she just sort of tolerated it because she didn't know what to do. Apparently it had gotten out of hand though, and she couldn't stand it anymore and was dreading going to his class. So, she asked me to do something.

I went to Assistant Principal Carolyn Szostek's office and told her the story, and she promised she would do something about it. She empathized with the girl right away, because she said there used to be a male teacher there that would do that to her when she was a young teacher, and it was disgusting. She said it got to a point that she finally told him to never touch her again. The following day, Robyn Armon, the head of the Guidance Department, stopped me in the hallway and told me it had all been taken care of, that the male teacher had been warned to stop hugging this girl.

That same day, the male teacher who was the "hugger" told me about the situation, not knowing I was the one who had reported it. He was very upset. His exact words to me were, "Why is it a problem every time I get close to a girl? Other teachers do it and no one stops them." Then he told me that he was targeted years ago, during the "witch hunt" the administration conducted after Tom Nuzzi was fired for stealing money and "dating" female students. He said he had been reported for inappropriate behavior on multiple occasions over the years, including incidents of staring at girls' breasts.

So I guess my question is, why is he STILL working there? No teacher should be getting "close to" any student. Teachers are not there to "get close" to them. Teachers should be teaching students what they have to teach, grading students' papers, AND NOT TOUCHING THEM.  I do not understand the mental mystery among SFP teachers regarding NOT TOUCHING THE KIDS.

The reason I am writing this blog today is because the girl who came to me in 2010 texted me recently that she is considering suing the school for sexual harassment. I told her that was a very serious decision to make, and she should think it over carefully. She would need to be prepared to be repeatedly called liar, just like Felicia Mooradian. She would also need to be prepared, in all probability, to have her allegations "denied" by people who know it happened, just like in Felicia's case.

So I guess we shall see as to whether or not she files a lawsuit in the near future. It's her decision to make, not anyone else's. God will tell her what she should do.

In any event, I must go now. Time to make the donuts! ;)

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