You Honestly Did Not Expect That? – Guest Post
January 28, 2009 by The Constant Complainer
Here at The Constant Complainer, in addition to my own posts, I offer the opportunity for readers to submit Guest Posts on complaints they would like to discuss. The below-Guest Post was submitted by Marty. His complaint is the modern day ethics and professional behavior involved with being a teacher. He questions if they are being followed. He shares a remarkable true story that I think most people will have an opinion on. So without further adieu, here’s Marty…
There are certain situations that you just know are going to end badly. I will assume you have seen America’s Funniest Home Videos, and you know what is going to happen as Dad approaches the blindfolded kid that is swinging the bat at the piñata. If you want to watch a magic clip before reading all of this post, click here, 10 seconds in you know what is going to happen.
This brings me to the situation I am in with very good friend. He has not had the best of luck when it comes to relationships, and I have introduced him to several nice girls, ones that I would have gone out with if I was not married. In August of last year, he introduced me to his girlfriend for the first time. He told me the two had been dating for a couple months, to which I was surprised because he never mentioned to me that he was seeing someone. The girl was very young, and considering he is in his very late 30’s, I did not want to question her age because this was the first time I was meeting her. I was open-minded about this, and thought I could be wrong if I took a guess at her age because I am not good with guessing people’s ages or weight. As we talked, I caught on that she knew a lot about me. I figured it was because he talked about me to her, but I found out she knew me because her I have talked on the phone before.
Turns out for the past 2 years when I would call him on his cell phone, she would answer his phone “Mr. Jones’ phone.” I would tell her that this was Marty calling for Mr. Jones and ask if he was available. She would normally tell me that Mr. Jones was busy reviewing a technique with the team, ask how I am doing, wanting to know if I am returning his call for some topic that she knew about, and basically give me a friendly conversation before telling me that she is up for her practice turn, and she would let him know I called or handing him the phone. Mr. Jones is the Fencing Instructor at the high school where he is the English teacher. Do you see where I am going with this post? During this first meeting, I find out the girl is 18 years old. She just turned 18 around the time she graduated high school a few months ago. They made it a point to make me aware that the two started dating after she turned 18. After the first meeting, he called me wanting to know what I thought about her. I, as a friend, said she seemed nice, and her age is a bit concerning to me, and I wanted to know how the school district would react to knowing he was dating a former student. He told me that it was none of their business as to what he does in his personal life. As a friend, I respected his privacy, but as a parent his actions concerned me. I really wanted to tell him, that this could end badly for him if other student’s parents find out about their relationship, because even though they say they were not dating while she was a student and there might be no solid proof that a relationship did occur when she was a student; it still does not look good.
A couple weeks after this first meeting he called to find out what I was doing one Saturday in November, because he asked the girl to marry him. I jokingly said the first thing that came to my mind out loud, which was “This is rather quick, what did you do, get her pregnant?” Talk about open mouth and insert foot. He felt that it was the right thing to do, and they wanted to get it done quickly before she starts showing. Their wedding was going to be the same day I was part of my Cousin’s wedding, so I was not able to attend his. I talked to him a couple days after the wedding and asked how he handled it with the school district, because I figured he would have to add her to health insurance and other forms. He told me they seemed fine with it. I was very surprised by this, but I was not surprised that concerned parents started demanding that he be fired. Over the next few weeks he would call and tell me that the school was ticking him off because they made several changes for him, including him not to be alone with any student and also removed him from as the Fencing Instructor “because of pressure from the parents.”
Now that brings me to the latest chapter of the saga. He called me last week to tell me that at the end of the day on Friday he was hand delivered a letter by the Superintendent. He was asked to open and read it, and then he was escorted out the building. He is suspended with pay as they further investigate his inappropriate behavior with students. He called me wanting to know if I have any good lawyer friends that can help his in his lawsuit against the school. As I listened to him rant and rave, I played the friend role and tried to be supportive to him because I was the first person he called to tell. However, I really wanted to say to him: You married an 18 year old former student that you got pregnant about 5 months after she graduated from your class. In today’s society with so many teachers going to jail for inappropriate contact with students, did you honestly not expect to be suspended or fired for this?
I don’t know how anyone cannot expect certain repercussions for things they do. The school district has a reputation because they are a public school serving the people. Teachers have a code they live by because their actions reflect that of the school district they work for. Common sense should have told my friend and others that certain situations will turn out bad, so don’t get involved in it. I guess they just expect nothing bad to happen to them.