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.

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  1. Mike says:

    Ok, I’ll be the first one to touch this topic.

    Yes it seems inappropriate for your friend to have started a relationship with an 18 year old. It makes matters worse that he was her teacher. It is wrong on so many levels because of the power position he held above her. BUT, that’s an outsiders view.

    For your friend and this 18 year old girl, who really knows how they feel towards each other. Could it possibly be that they truly love each other and that age is really is JUST a number? The fact that your friend married this girl makes it a little different of a situation had they just had an affair. As someone who hasn’t had the greatest luck with relationships either, I wish them well. I’d like to say that I would have avoided the situation, knowing the consequences of such a relationship, but who really knows. Maybe they care about each other so much that it doesn’t matter to them.

    Still pretty weird though. I’d be ticked if I were her parent or even a parent of one of his students.

  2. NeoConDon says:

    Mike is one thousand percent right here. It is just weird, but based on what we’re being told, there is no way to prove that this teacher did anything illegal. There may be people who have the opinion that his behavior is wrong, but that doesn’t make it illegal. If it is determined that the relationship existed while the girl was under 18 and/or a student, the teacher should be prosecuted. The district is correct to investigate it, they should just be careful not to trample over his rights.

  3. McLoven says:

    You do have a point Mike, but I would not want this guy teaching my kids. You really don’t what he is teaching them, is he teaching them English, or is he out there as a single guy looking for a date? If he has had relationship issues, I can assume that he can’t find a woman his age, so he keeps going for the younger ones who know nothing.
    Marty gives enough info, but I would want to know if this guy has a history of this? Where has he taught before? Why was he let go there? If this guy has a history of dating students, then why was he hired in the first place? Sure, maybe they are in love and if it works out for then, great. As someone who might send my kid to that school, I would be afraid to know what this guy is thinking.

  4. Judith says:

    Eeew. That is all I will say. I think your friend should have exercised better judgement.

  5. Sugar says:

    You can’t tell me that there wasn’t flirting going on while they were in class together. Everyone is human. They didn’t just magically meet after she had graduated. I’m sure they both were eyeing up each other. He probably saw her as a young, fresh minded, impressionable girl, and she probably saw him as an older, experienced, established guy. Why was she answering his phone anyway?

    His behavior was inappropriate because he was her teacher and she was his student. Maybe if they had waited about 5 years, the School Board wouldn’t be so concerned. Yea, I’m sure it sucks for him now, but he should have thought of that instead of tying to get a piece of 18 year old ass. I’m sure if he didn’t knock her up, he wouldn’t be in this mess. I take it he’s not the Health Teacher because I’m assuming they didn’t use condom. If I were a parent, I would have the same concerns for my child if she was his student. Teenagers are very impressionable at that age.

  6. Judith says:

    And Sugar comes out with both guns blazing. You are right on.

  7. Mike says:

    It’s always easiest to pass judgment when you’re not involved. I should know, I do it everyday. Everyone says that they would NEVER do this, or would NEVER do that…but no one really knows until they’re presented with the situation. If this guy didn’t touch this girl until she was 18, then it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks because it is legal. Wrong maybe, but definitely legal. Pass judgment, cast the first stone, but I’m sure you’ve been in a situation where you were unfairly judged because someone had no freaking idea what you were going through.

    I’m not defending this guy, I’m just saying that NONE of us know the full story so it’s easy for us to be judgmental and take the high road.

  8. Tallelf says:

    There are situations like this nationwide… sometimes with the roles reversed… There was a situation similar local to my school. The man was a wrestling coach, and the girl was a manager… there was nothing until after she had left school, but it was still an awkward moment. It has been 10 years and they are still together..

    Even though it was all legal, he is no longer working in the district.

  9. c.princess says:

    I’ve been reading several of your entries. You have a really great blog. Thanks for taking the time to visit mine and comment.

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