Re: ATM: O Captain! My Captain!

1

my gut says he should get the deciding vote here

About the meeting, that is. Obviously the school gets the deciding vote on firing decisions.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:20 AM
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What's the right thing to do? I dunno. But I would tend to believe that whatever happened with this individual kid (sounds like not much) the teacher has pursued similar relationships with other kids in the past, and will do it again in the future.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:20 AM
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And boy does 'boarding school' make me tenser in this context. Oh, the kids are isolated from family and non-school adults most of the time? Spiffy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:24 AM
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"Carry on my wayward son. You can date the teacher when you are done."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:26 AM
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No doubts for me this teacher has completely lost his head about his responsibilities to students at a boarding school.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:28 AM
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6

Shouldn't the title of this post have been "What did my kid."?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:31 AM
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7

JM and LB are right.

As someone who was once in a class where the teacher was in love with a fellow student, I don't see how the kid stays in this person's class without it being a big mess. I mean, based on that email, I don't see this as someone likely to be able to pull it together.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:32 AM
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6: I was *just* marveling at the juxtaposition of titles in the sidebar.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:32 AM
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9

"Who did my kid"


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:32 AM
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10

I would have thought that the school administration would fire the teacher, hands down no questions asked. I'm surprised there's any wiggle room whatsoever.

Now, maybe there should be shades of gray in this fallen world (but not fifty), but I'm just surprised.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:33 AM
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11

And god, what 3 said.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:33 AM
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7: By "a big mess" I mean "a painfully obvious distraction." In the case of the class I was in, the teacher mooned senex amans style and it was pathetic.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:34 AM
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13

Why was the CFO involved? Or does that three-letterism mean something else in the context of schools?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:35 AM
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14

Is the teacher hot?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:36 AM
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13.1: Because "Don't sue us"?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:36 AM
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10 gets it right. Why on earth wouldn't the boarding school see this as a potential firestorm of destruction for it as an institution?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:36 AM
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"Chief Fondling Officer"


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:37 AM
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18

What 3, 5, 10 and 11 said. I would be furious.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:37 AM
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I'm surprised there's any wiggle room whatsoever.

Me too, but not knowing what preceded the email, I guess I'm hesitant to make any assumptions one way or the other. Certainly the email itself is crazily inappropriate, but probably also much, much more common out in the wider world than we suspect.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:37 AM
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The Horace Mann abuse scandal, which reads almost exactly like Secret History, makes it clear that the school admins (and alumni) put some value on this sort of too-intimate relationship, as "engaged teaching" or "personal mentoring."


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:38 AM
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AISIMHB one of my close friends' older sister went to the prom with her English teacher, who she was dating. Did he get fired? Yes, he did get fired.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:39 AM
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Certainly the email itself is crazily inappropriate, but probably also much, much more common out in the wider world than we suspect.

It seems to happen at least once in every school, every four years. I remember specifically the teacher and friend of mine that fell in love.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:40 AM
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23

At least he had a date for prom. I didn't and I was king.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:41 AM
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24

What was deleted, that's what I want to know.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:41 AM
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25

Also, I don't get the [deleted]. Was that in the original email, or was it "fix you", or something worse?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:41 AM
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26

The original Coldplay lyrics are "fix you".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:41 AM
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27

In the case of the class I was in, the teacher mooned senex amans style and it was pathetic.

I wasn't aware that there were different styles of mooning technique. You just pull down your pants, bend over, and display your ass, right?


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:42 AM
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28

probably also much, much more common out in the wider world than we suspect
I guess we mostly hear about the ones that are dumb enough to put their feelings down in writing.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:42 AM
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29

Seems like a lot of information is missing. I want to know what Dean of Students thinks about the whole situation, and what the "course of action for moving forward" is.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:42 AM
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30

20 was certainly true a while back, but at this point I'd think that other than a school shooting this would be the number one "holy shit this could sink us all" thing a boarding school administration would worry about.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:42 AM
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At least he had a date for prom. I didn't and I was king.

At the one-eyed prom, Moby is king.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:43 AM
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32

24: I know, right?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:43 AM
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33

It was that way in the email to me; don't know about the original email. Papa Humbert?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:43 AM
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34
I immediately called my son who denied any physical contact or overt suggestions of physical contact. He is an extremely honest and mostly poised young man and I believe him.

This, by the way, might need a bit of a reality check. I'm not doubting he's a great kid but no teenager is going to tell their parent that they've been boning the drama teacher.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:43 AM
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35

I feel like I could have improved on 29. At the bring-your-teacher-prom?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:43 AM
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36

Oh yeah, 34 very much so.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:44 AM
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37

Wait, we have two prom kings here?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:44 AM
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38

Also, I would not want the meeting with the teacher other than in the context of a full factual investigation into what exactly happened. What that sounds like to me is a warm and fuzzy ten minutes in which the parent and child will be heavily emotionally pressured to forgive and forget and put everything behind them, it's a closed issue now, without the parent actually knowing (other than from their probably embarrassed, defensive, and not wanting to ruin Mr. Chips' life kid) what went on. It's not even the honesty of the kid, it's their naivete -- I can think of a lot of grooming (to use a creepy word) that a kid wouldn't pick up on that would look unambiguously bad to an adult.

The parent doesn't necessarily have to go full metal vengance-seeking, but I would not want to be at an accepting-apologies and putting everything behind us meeting without a whole lot more knowledge.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:45 AM
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39

Out. Don't meet without a lawyer. Get a lawyer. Sue. Fuck their "engaged" and "intimate" teaching right in the ear to death. This is the sort of thing that ought to bring down schools but doesn't because people take the administration's "concern" seriously.

DON'T SIGN ANYTHING.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:45 AM
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40

Yipers. I mean 18, adultish, but grow some fucking boundaries, teacher.

What I don't quite understand about the note is that two sentences seems to be encouraging greater intimacy and the rest of the paragraph, if I'm reading it right, sounds like he's discouraging it. In any case, he shouldn't be even that far down that particular road. Not because an 18 year old never rightly loved an older guy (maybe the kid will go to college next year and date older guys and it will be fine) but because you don't get to toy with that kind of thing in such a fraught dynamic.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:45 AM
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41

That letter sounds like it's from a person who has drastically misunderstood what caring about students looks like, so I think 2 is right. Unless he's a very recent hire he has probably done this before (and it's quite possible that the school knows this). The meeting they suggest sounds like an attempt to resolve the situation without any publicity, and I'd be pretty suspicious of it since it sounds like the sort of thing a school would do in an attempt to avoid negative press and not have to fire the guy.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:46 AM
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42

And everybody knows it. I am adding to 40 which was me.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:46 AM
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43

34: In favor of the kid telling the facts reasonably straight is that the email does sound like "I love you and you won't fuck me" rather than "You are fucking me" or "you stopped fucking me."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:47 AM
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44

Yeah, 39 is certainly right. Don't sign anything, don't agree to anything in the meeting, ask what the school is going to do. As a a parent in this situation you hold all the cards and they hold few or none.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:48 AM
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45

the rest of the paragraph, if I'm reading it right, sounds like he's discouraging it.

I can see why you're reading it that way, but in context I took the long-term short-term stuff as "If you were emotionally mature enough, you'd look past the age difference and see that our love is true".


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:49 AM
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46

39 is a stronger version of what I meant to get at with 38.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:50 AM
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47

you hold all the cards

This is certainly true.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:50 AM
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48

By amazing coincidence, a story in my local paper reports on the sentencing of a band director at a nearby high school for having a sexual relationship with one of his students. Of interest was (a) student is a dude, and teacher wasn't out before; (b) throughout the process student was emphatic that he pursued the teacher, that he wouldn't testify against him, that he wasn't the victim, etc.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:50 AM
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49

1. The parents don't need to consult with an outside lawyer.
2. [redacted]


Posted by: Roosevelt Humbert | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:50 AM
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50

43: I read it more as "I love you, but I won't fuck you" than "I love you and you won't fuck me." I'm not strongly attached to that reading, but it seemed to fit a little better with the "thinking down the road" part. I took that as, "I don't want to go to jail/be fired."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:51 AM
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51

Depending on the laws of the state in question, this also sounds like the point at which I'd start recording any meetings or further contact where there isn't a clear paper trail anyway. If it's a state where only one party needs to consent, I'd be doing it without letting on, as well. I don't know if it's likely that they'd try to pull something underhanded, but at the very least it would be something that could be used to put pressure on the school later.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:51 AM
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52

To me it reads like "I love you and you are pulling away because you feel uncomfortably in over your head and don't know how to handle the situation. I'm letting you go but making you twist in the wind, in the process" and that there was probably a physical relationship before.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:51 AM
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53

The "look, we are being very serious about this. This is our serious face" line is massively suspicious. They might as well have said "we are committed to sweeping this under the rug with a minimum of fuss."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:54 AM
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54

That email could also very well be read as "I want this to be more than then the occasional casual game of leapfrog but you don't seem to feel the same way".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:54 AM
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55

I would also, you know, ask the kid to see all his emails back and forth with the teacher, and assume that refusal or technical difficulties means that there's something unambiguous in there, and that a physical relationship either took place or was proposed. Come to think, I'd ask the teacher for all of his emails with the kid.

On a rereading, I'm not sure what exactly I think the email means.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:54 AM
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56

Pwned a bit by HG.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:55 AM
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57

49.1: I'd think the old rule about the clients of lawyers who represent themselves would be even more applicable in a fraught situation than in general.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:56 AM
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53 also sounds right. 49 makes it seem like the parents are lawyers. That's great if true but I also strongly recommend using a contact as outside counsel to write a letter and respond. The school's attitude will be 180 degrees different if they believe they are dealing with "angry parent who has lawyered up" vs. "parent who happens to be a lawyer whom we can probably work things out with." And this feels like a situation where you want the school to feel maximially under threat (even if you don't actually retaliate to the maximum possible level).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:57 AM
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I'm pretty sure my junior year English teacher had a crush on me, or at least performed having one. It was mostly pretty innocuous, although in retrospect there were maybe things that crossed the line.* My school had pretty non-American cultural mores so things that would seem really out of place at most American high schools didn't seem so weird there. I imagine that may also be the case at an elite boarding school? Anyways, at the end of the year he gave me a rose and the class dictionary wrapped up in lavender tissue paper. He made me stand in front of the class and unwrap it. The rose was sitting on top. It was a red rosebud, which my research into floriography said meant "young love" or "I love you, but you are too young." Since he was an expert in Victorian British literature, I presume that he meant the flower to have that meaning.

*E.g. He used to make me read aloud some of the sex scenes from "100 Years of Solitude." Making a student read sex scenes to the class I suppose could be construed as harassment, but then again it was also having me read from the assigned text, which is normal classroom behavior. I guess most American high schools don't assign books filled with graphic sex scenes, probably in part to avoid these sorts of issues.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:57 AM
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60

53 is right.

Also it reminds me of an old thread where someone quipped about taking their kid to buy bras, "And this is my bra-buying face. See how serious I am?" and it cracked me up and I think of it from time to time.

I am a person who tends to find jokes in tense situations! I also keep picturing the scene from Election, where the teacher, red-eyed, weeps "But we're in looooooove!"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:58 AM
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61

I'd ask the teacher for all of his emails with the kid

Odds are high they have been deleted as much as is possible on the client end.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:59 AM
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62

And I'd be having a, maybe therapist mediated? I don't know, I'm not really therapy-culture, but in any case supportive and non-threatening conversation with the kid saying that if he was involved in something that he thought of as consensual with the teacher, while you strongly disapprove of it on the teacher's end, the kid hasn't done anything wrong. If he's gay or bi, that's fine, if he thinks he's in love with the teacher, that's fine (in the sense that the kid hasn't done anything wrong), if he's none of the above but had a warm personal relationship with the teacher and feels terrible that Mr. Chips was unable to resist him, he shouldn't feel bad about it.

It is possible that the kid didn't take any damage from this, but I can think of a lot of ways he'd be feeling frightened or guilty, and I'd be really wanting to do everything I could to let him off the hook.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 11:59 AM
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63

61 is another very good reason to obtain outside counsel.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:00 PM
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64

61: And I would treat that as highly probative of there being something worse than the one email in there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:01 PM
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65

Is this to say that another word was used instead of "fix" in this email? That matters a lot for how one judges it.

It might be denoting he doesn't plan to do anything, but the dramatic tone makes it sound like "I can't... woe is me... come on, overrule me!"

Maybe the CFO oversees the HR department or something?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:03 PM
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66

On the issue in the post, what do the parents want done? Or are they unsure? Have they communicated with the son directly? What are his wishes?

Getting the teacher to turn over all correspondence with the son sounds like a good idea. IMO the teacher will probably realize how much shit he's in more than the son does and will probably cooperate more (unless he realizes this and furiously tries to erase everything, in which case getting the email record from the son would be better).


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:03 PM
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67

The only thing I can come up with for 49.2 makes very little sense to me.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:04 PM
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68

ok, pwned by a million comments.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:05 PM
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69

This is all slightly complicated by the kid's being eighteen, and if the guy wasn't a teacher in the same school it would be arguably no one's business, as Smearcase points out above. He is a teacher in the same school, so I'm fine with the tense reaction -- I kind of doubt that a drama teacher who's fine with falling in love with his eighteen-year-old students draws a hard line at the fourteen-year-olds, but still.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:08 PM
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70

The boarding school context makes it immediately and completely unacceptable, as everyone involved absolutely knows at this point in time (as Smearcase just said). At a minimum the teacher needs to be put on leave or whatever the process is in his contract for firing, and if the school doesn't do this they are idiots. There's a separate question of what to do to make things as non-disruptive as possible for the son, and there's a good chance that in fact nothing particularly horrible happened, but if the teacher isn't fired (or effectively fired) immediately that tells you everything you need to know about the competence of the school administration.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:11 PM
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71

65 without seeing 49.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:12 PM
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72

The child (18 years old) claims and appears to be straight. He has grown up in an environment where both parents have gay friends and have always told him that would love him no matter what.

He wants to move on and stay in the class. He feels like he will be fine.

Parents want more information. The teacher is an interesting creative teacher. I am surprised that he wasn't immediately terminated.

My reaction was the same as others to the "we are taking this very seriously."


Posted by: Roosevelt Humbert | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:14 PM
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73

The straightness of the son makes this whole situation very, very different, I think. Now the teacher seems much more unhinged.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:16 PM
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74

I'm taking "son is straight" to mean that son has never shown interest in the teacher, and has been politely deferring for who knows long.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:17 PM
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75

Not meaning to cast doubt on his professed straightness, but still, it seems very plausible that there's some kind of emotional relationship (mentoring, friendship) and he's feeling some sort of responsibility, or guilt, or protectiveness, and he might need some support to move past that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:17 PM
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76

[redacted]


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:20 PM
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77

[redacted]


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:21 PM
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78

he might need some support to move past that

If he needs to move past it. Maybe it just isn't that big a deal to him.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:22 PM
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79

[redacted]


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:22 PM
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80

I'm with everybody. It's almost impossible to believe this is a one-off e-mail. Either the teacher has been sending other ones to this student, or (more probably) he's been sending other ones to other students.

Dollars to doughnuts the school is on round X of having had to have payoff meetings with parents/students, which is why the CFO is there. (You have to have a way to structure the payouts so your insurance company, board, and auditors don't get suspicious, after all. /snark)

It's almost impossible to imagine disentangling the student's (understandable) desire to stay with his classmates and finish his senior year, and his (probably accurate) fear that being moved out of the class and/or making some other kind of Obvious Big Deal about the situation will lead to his own ostracization or at least having-to-spend-more-time-talking-about-mortifying-stuff-with-random-grownups. I think this holds true regardless of whether the student reciprocates any emotional feelings for the teacher or not.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:23 PM
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78: Might. But offering the support seems like it'd be at worst annoying, rather than harmful, and it might be helpful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:23 PM
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82

Not to be crass, but, at a minimum, you shouldn't be paying tuition.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:28 PM
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83

73 is kind of right. That is, in the scenario I can think of where it is the least big deal for the kid -- the kid is really not in any sense emotionally involved with the teacher, who has some completely one-sided thing built up -- the teacher is really acting very very strange. The closer it is to something that would be understandable from the teacher's end, the more likely the kid was enmeshed in the situation to some degree that might cause him some emotional difficulty.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:28 PM
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84

Dollars to doughnuts the school is on round X of having had to have payoff meetings with parents/students, which is why the CFO is there.

Which raises the question of why the teacher is still there.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:30 PM
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85

Everyone is assuming the teacher is male, but there is a conspicuous absence of pronouns in the original letter. Molly suggested that the ladies don't quote Coldplay. Is there other gender evidence here?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:30 PM
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86

There's a complete presence of pronouns in the school's response letter below the fold.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:32 PM
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87

Roosevelt's comment about straightness in 72 suggests that the assumption of maleness was correct.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:33 PM
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88

It's almost impossible to believe this is a one-off e-mail

Like they say about drunk driving, the first time you get caught is almost certainly not your first offense. The rest of Witt's comment strikes me as very sensible as well.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:33 PM
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89

Oh, right, nevermind.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:34 PM
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90

I agree with Apo that the letter sounds more sad than threatening, but I also know that predators can play sad.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:35 PM
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84: Only in a sane and rational world. If you guess at the likelihood that this is a small, tight-knit community, and the teacher is well-known and maybe beloved, you can imagine that the school is worried about the hit to their fundraising/image that they would take by firing him. Especially if they have successfully swept other such issues under the rug.

There is a big incentive on their part to hope that they can have their cake and eat it too -- let's keep this teacher, who may be popular and may even be a source of high-profile donors/revenue to the school (eg a well-liked drama/debate coach) -- and let's just let this young person quietly finish out his year and go on.

*I did wonder if the teacher was a woman, but it seems unlikely for what are probably incoherent reasons.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:36 PM
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90: And the teacher might be sad and lonely and not meaning any harm, and still be behaving badly towards his students in a way that should be stopped.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:38 PM
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93

So, I have to confess, I'm not really sure why everyone is so confident that this can't be the first email or episode of this nature. I mean, one of them has to be the first, right?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:38 PM
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I guess a complicating factor is that it's now fall and 18 year old kid in question is presumptively a senior. So perhaps there's a fear that angering the school will cause some form of subtle or not-subtle retaliation that will hurt the kid's college chances. To me, this maybe counter-intuitively argues for getting an outside lawyer in now, so that the school is paranoid about missteps. The worst of all possible worlds is the school feeling that the kid/parent are obnoxious troublemakers but also harmless and people who can be subtly pushed around.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:38 PM
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93: Because it's statistically unlikely. In most incidents of grooming/harassment/whatever, there are many such communications exchanged. The odds that this would be the FIRST one, AND that it should be disclosed to the parent by such a fluky coincidence, are really low IME.

Also, because people who get caught always say it was the first time. And in 100% of the cases I know about, it wasn't.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:42 PM
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93: This email specifically doesn't look like an initial email, it seems to be referring to a history of communication on the subject. Whether this is the only student the teacher has formed the same sort of attachment to? Obviously, there's a first time for everything, but if it's the sort of thing most people do either not at all or repeatedly, any randomly selected occurrence is probably not the first one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:43 PM
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(I mean obviously it's not the first email to this student; people seem to be assuming that he's done this to many other students. That is what I wonder about.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:44 PM
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There is likely to be some bias in the "not at all or repeatedly" thing because if there are people who do it once or twice and that's it, they're going to be less likely to be found out and would go missing from a general accounting of how often people who do it do it. I was mostly reacting to Witt's certainty that the school has previously paid out scads of $$ to scads of others.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:46 PM
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You're thinking of the sample pool wrong. This guy isn't a member of the pool "people who have done it and not been caught." He's a member of the pool "people who have done it and got caught."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:52 PM
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I was mostly reacting to Witt's certainty that the school has previously paid out scads of $$ to scads of others.

I would agree this is unlikely. And the fastest way to get the teacher fired, if that's what Rosey wants, is to suggest to the school that he is going to cost them a lot of money.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:53 PM
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But, I also agree that isn't unlikely that the school has paid out lots of settlements to others.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:54 PM
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Any settlement would almost certainly be reviewed by both the board and insurers, so 100 is certainly right. But that doesn't mean that there haven't been other intimations of this over the years that the school has played down.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:56 PM
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99: let's turn this into a stats thread then because I'm not sure why that's the relevant pool when you're asking about how often people who do X do X.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:56 PM
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That is, it seemed as if support for the claim "he is likely to have done this before" came from the claim "people either do this not at all or lots". If support for the latter claim is based solely on people who get caught, then it seems pretty weak. Like if I said "if someone came in the house last night I would have heard them" and supported it with the claim that every time people came in the house in previous nights, I did hear them, and also by the way the only information we have about who came into my house is based on whether or not I heard them.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 12:59 PM
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But if the claim is "People who get caught doing this have generally done it lots", he is a person who got caught doing it. We wouldn't be thinking about his odds unless he was in that group. (This is Moby's point from 99, which I think you either missed or misunderstood.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:01 PM
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Well, sure, if that's your claim.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:02 PM
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That is, it seemed as if support for the claim "he is likely to have done this before" came from the claim "people either do this not at all or lots".

That would be wrong. Or at least unsupported, because you don't know the true prevalence in the population. But, we can, I think reasonably assume that each incident (however defined) carries a non-zero probability of getting caught. The sampling frame for caught or not is made up of all of those incidences, not persons. Thus, anybody who is caught is likely to have lots of incidences whether or not the average individual offender has lots of incidences or not.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:04 PM
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107 before seeing 105.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:05 PM
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The misdirected email points me to a first communication. He had to search for an email address, and came up with the wrong one.

Other than that, if the kid really is ok, I'm be in a real go slow mode with everything. Sign nothing, but stall everything, and see how being in the class actually is.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:10 PM
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If you guess at the likelihood that this is a small, tight-knit community, and the teacher is well-known and maybe beloved, you can imagine that the school is worried about the hit to their fundraising/image that they would take by firing him.

I have it in my head that this kind of teacher does tend to be charismatic and beloved. That they are a force of personality, which has helped them skate the line of plausible deniability, or having people go to bat for them, or whatever else gives people inflated hubris about this kind of transgression.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:11 PM
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It seems like the kid should have a bit more to say about this e-mail than he's said. Nothing physical, sure, OK, but this sounds like a conversation that's been ongoing for a while. It's only September, so continuation from last year? I'd lie like hell to my parents if they asked about something like that, and I was a generally open and honest kid, except for when it came to stuff I thought I had a handle on and would result in permanently fractured relations (not just with them, but anywhere). So, your kid is probably lying about what's going on, probably because he doesn't want you to sweep in and embarrass him. He probably does have it handled OK, since that e-mail doesn't sound like very successful creeping. It sounds like a guy who is sad about getting a firm no. I think if your son wants you not to make waves, OK, it's just another few months until college applications are done, and then you can pursue anything you want without injuring his rec letters etc.

I think the folks saying to get a lawyer are right, and I think there's not much urgency to do anything more than bureaucratic wrangling with administration. It doesn't sound like anyone is in imminent danger. I think going slowly is better, too, for you to decide what outcome you want and what outcome you could actually get.

Also, if the drama teacher is fresh out of college, it seems a little less icky, not because of the smaller age gap, but more because maybe he's not experienced at having a close mentoring relationship without mistaking it for something more personal. Especially if close one-on-one relationships are part of the school's charm. Fireable? Yeah, that's how I'd lean, because I'm risk averse, but I wouldn't think too badly of a written reprimand, retraining, never being alone with a student, and probation.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:12 PM
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The misdirected email points me to a first communication. He had to search for an email address, and came up with the wrong one.

Nah, I get emails directed at a similarly named person at Heebie U. You type in the first few letters, a drop-down menu appears of people you've emailed with compatible names, you pick one and it's really easy to mis-pick.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:12 PM
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110: Charismatic and beloved definitely covered my now-in-jail band director. Did I mention that at his sentencing he read a poem he'd written about all the lives he'd touched (it was awful, with stanzas about great things he'd done). The judge was unimpressed.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:14 PM
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Yep. I just invited a higher up in the Tax Department to drinks with my coworkers because I emailed the wrong David. And I occasionally accidentally email my boss's work rather than home email.

111: Also, if the drama teacher is fresh out of college,

Based on "you are young, and I am old", I'd figure the teacher's probably at least thirtyish. That'd be a funny turn of phrase from a twentysomething.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:15 PM
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Something akin to this happened when I was in highschool (like, apparently, everyone else in the world) and I can certainly see why the son might not be entirely comfortable with the idea of it becoming common knowledge. It was never revealed who the student was in the case in question, but there was widespread speculation focused around one student and it was really awkward for him to be suspected to be the student that got Mr X fired/had sex with him. Even if the teacher isn't a popular fan-club-ish teacher (which he probably is) it's not a good situation to be in.

re:85 - The OP also refers to the headmaster as talking about "Mr X"...


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:16 PM
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[redacted]


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:19 PM
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I think we're meant to understand 49.2 as a name, which can be used as a first or last name. It also seems to identify the poster.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:26 PM
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More information:

1. The teacher is charismatic, and this is only his second year at the school. Not sure how long his prior jobs lasted.

2. The teacher's professional skill level is high. Hard-working, caring, and talented.

3. To me, I would guess that his talent level would have him at a bigger stage/better school.

4. I understand completely that my kid might be embarrassed to disclosed intimate details, but we have an extremely open relationship and I'm fairly confident that I should believe him.

5. The teacher has had other boundary issues. He has had my son and others pick him up from the train station as breaks were ending. He had my son and his roommate over for brunch at his house last weekend.(I know....). He expressed disapproval to my son and us last year and this about my son's gf.

6. The teacher is approximately 50-54? His appearance is youthful.

7. He has brought back past students from other schools to give performances/participate in school life in some way. So he appears to be somewhat connected to his past.

8. My son did briefly question what he might have done to have brought this on himself. We spent some time discussing how frequently women have to deal with unwanted attention and their lack of culpability.


Posted by: Roosevelt Humbert | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:27 PM
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5: !!!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:29 PM
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117: Ah, I see. Sorry for the misunderstanding and frothy pop culture note.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:31 PM
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Doood, they don't want to fire him because everyone will suspect why and people might come out of the woodwork. This dude is (a perhaps frustrated) predator.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:32 PM
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Frothy pop culture notes should never be apologised for!!!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:32 PM
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118.5 resolved a lot of potential doubts I had about whether the teacher has done this before. That sounds like someone who really doesn't appreciate (deep down, at least) why this sort of thing is inappropriate.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:35 PM
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If you didn't mention the PLL connection I was about to.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:36 PM
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1. The teacher is charismatic, and this is only his second year at the school. Not sure how long his prior jobs lasted.

3. To me, I would guess that his talent level would have him at a bigger stage/better school.

Certainly possible he hasn't done it at this school before. Seems like the school shouldn't have THAT much to worry about.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:37 PM
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118.1&2 are also very suggestive that he's done this before.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:37 PM
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How does 118.2 suggest that?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:39 PM
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Yeah, this guy sounds like a serial predator. He should be fired, and the administration is behaving like the Catholic church. Maybe try to wring some money to put towards the college fund?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:40 PM
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127: An impressive, skilled teacher in his mid-fifties who just changed jobs? It suggests (although of course does not establish) that it might have been due to similar behavior in the past. If he's that good at his job, you'd kind of expect him to be settled someplace.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:45 PM
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127: I meant 1 and 3.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:47 PM
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I had conflated 2 and 3 which are basically the same thing.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:47 PM
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there was widespread speculation focused around one student and it was really awkward for him to be suspected to be the student that got Mr X fired/had sex with him. Even if the teacher isn't a popular fan-club-ish teacher (which he probably is) it's not a good situation to be in.

I'm anticipating alameida may have something to say in this vein when she wakes up.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:53 PM
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118 all put together makes this sound like there is absolutely no way that this is a person who should be teaching. 118.7 is not mitigating. Sounds like your kid's in pretty good shape, though. Bullet dodged on his part. I still think you should drag your feet and let the kid be as much as possible.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:53 PM
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118 -- Summary termination. Your son will understand that if the teacher had approached a female student in this way that termination would be the only option. He should recognize that just because he's not been injured, that doesn't mean the guy belongs at a boarding school.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:54 PM
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118.8 is really heart-tugging. This stuff is hard enough for women, and we *have* cultural scripts (not always good ones) for these situations. Your son is lucky to have you to be a sounding board. Even if he's not fully able to internalize it, at least you said it to him.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 1:56 PM
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I'd ask the 18 year old how much he wants to stay in the class. Unless the class is somehow central to his senior year, I'd explain to the 18 year old that the Mr Coldplay is a calculating, manipulative liar, and that zero contact is the best way forward for him.

If the kid's OK with that, then lawyer up. The school needs to understand that Mr Coldplay is a problem. If it were me, I would also want the school to understand that I was not going to play quietly. I'm not a lawyer, but I would try asking for all email this dude has written to students-- maybe escrowed or sealed somehow, but off of servers that Coldplay or the administrators control. If there were a plausible way to do this, I would advertise to alumni of every place he's worked asking about a history of inappropriate contact, of settlements between other parents and schools. Again, not a lawyer, but even if there's been no damage to your kid, the school needs to prove to you that it was not negligent in hiring this dude, with paperwork, not just with a serious face.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:00 PM
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Your son will understand that if the teacher had approached a female student in this way that termination would be the only option.

This seems somewhat utopian to me in terms of how a school would be likely to react to such an approach to a female student (not that they would necessarily not do anything, but that they would plausibly not do anything). But I agree with everything else.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:02 PM
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Even if it's utopian it might be the right thing to say.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:04 PM
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I'd ask the 18 year old how much he wants to stay in the class.

The teacher should be removed and replaced immediately. Nothing about the public situation from here on out should be specific to the son.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:04 PM
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I meant the only decent option.

I was on board with go slow mode until 118; now I agree with 139.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:07 PM
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And under no circumstances should the teacher be given an opportunity to plead his case to the kid.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:09 PM
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141: You betcha.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:11 PM
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For real, what in the fuck is the e-mail about? None of the possibilities outlined in 43 seem to fit.

Also I would like to register my agreement with the consensus that 118 makes the dude sound like a total creeper.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:18 PM
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139.last is a good point, but there's an ongoing class right now if I'm following. Agree with 141, but how, given that the kid's in the class.

The only thing that I can think of (other than dropping the class, better course) is that the kid should have a phone with recording capacity, and if Coldplay starts quoting lyrics, the kid's best course to shut him down is to say he's recording. If there's a replacement teacher, great, but the school's only volunteering to look serious so far. How to limit this week's interaction is the question, I think.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:20 PM
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139 is right, and the school is nuts to do otherwise. The fact that this is the guy's second year at the school really cuts against most of the (bad but plausible) reasons the school might not want to fire him, doesn't it? He can't be all that beloved that they'd want to close ranks for him. Firing him might be bad publicity/hurt fundraising, but that's peanuts compared to what they have to figure will have a good chance of happening down the road. And now that they're unambiguously on notice about the guy they have to realize that they're firmly on the hook for any future trouble. I don't know what they could be thinking at this point.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:20 PM
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143: With the addition of 118.5, I'm wondering if the prior communications were about prying the kid away from his girlfriend -- that the 'in the moment' stuff was talking about how "right now, you can't see that that she-devil is no good for you, because you're a horny teenager. But in the long run, my sober, mature wisdom allows me to see that you'd be much better off sitting at my feet and gazing adoringly up at me while I ruffle your hair."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:22 PM
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And now that they're unambiguously on notice about the guy they have to realize that they're firmly on the hook for any future trouble.

They're only unambiguously on notice if the next set of parents finds out about this event. For all Mr. Humbert knows, there was another kid last year.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:24 PM
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Oooooh, good point.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:24 PM
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147: Sure, but any future parent inclined to take legal action shouldn't have much trouble finding out about this. That has to be on their minds as a realistic likelihood if they keep the guy for any length of time.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:29 PM
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Have I mentioned that my daughter's English teacher last year was revealed by the googling that all students apparently do immediately these days to have lost his job teaching at the college level after having gotten in a fistfight with an undergraduate over the other undergraduate they were both dating? This was back in 2002, everyone was a legal adult, but you bet I spent the year with my ears pricked up at all times.

Nothing untoward happened, but the guy sounded from what I heard from her to be a toned-down version of Hugo Schwyzer -- very "look at me and my feminist/leftist/vegan manliness. Worship me!" She couldn't stand him. I spent some time working with her on "Yes, your interpersonal judgment sounds as if it's dead on, but you can't use that to discredit everything he agrees with. Awful people can be on the right side of all sorts of issues."


Posted by: Dilma Rouseff | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:33 PM
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Sure, but any future parent inclined to take legal action shouldn't have much trouble finding out about this.

Once they've actually brought a lawsuit and are doing discovery, sure. Before that stage, though, unless Mr. Humbert makes a big public stink, no way for them to know.

Come to think, Roosevelt, just in the public interest, even if you don't end up making a big public stink and getting the guy fired, I would communicate with the school by email about this, describing the situation explicitly, just to get it on their servers in case anyone comes looking for information in a future case.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:36 PM
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Perhaps I am overconservative, but 118 looks full of red lights.

By the way, at a youthful fiftyish, this teacher is old enough to have done some real damage along his merry way. Humbert fils may not have the luxury of shutting the door on this forever if other former students's counsels come a-sub poena-ing in the future, whatever he may prefer in this situation at the moment.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:38 PM
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Former students'.

God.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:38 PM
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151 is a great idea.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:38 PM
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151: right, but, again, they have to figure there's a good enough chance of a further incident and a parent inclined to sue that keeping him is the dumb move, absent any countervailing reason to do so. Maybe they do have a countervailing reason, but with a teacher that's only been there a year I can't imagine what it would be. I do sort of wonder if they just want to keep a lid on it for now and then fire him between terms or something when they can do it more quietly?


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:41 PM
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"Awful people can be on the right side of all sorts of issues."

I suppose "Hugo Schwyzer was a feminist" has the advantage of novelty over "Hitler loved dogs."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:42 PM
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151 is only a good idea AFTER the kid graduates and is far, far away. And only then if he and patents are okay with the email being forwarded/gossiped about/misinterpreted.

Seriously, I am not used to feeling like the most paranoid, cynical person in a thread but hoo boy this one is doing it.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:43 PM
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141 is the rightest thing ever.

Given that he's been shuttled around various schools, it might be possible to bring up contacting the other schools with the administrators. It would be interesting to see what they'd do.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:44 PM
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147: But that's the sort of thing that could come out during discovery for the first set of parents to proceed to a lawsuit, isn't it? Assuming that they can keep it covered up assumes that every future set of parents will also be willing to keep it quiet.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:46 PM
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158.2: They won't do anything.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:46 PM
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157: Huh. I'm not seeing a lot of potential for blowback there, beyond the obvious potential if the school is going to be malicious about it anyway -- if they wanted to come after the kid with a whispering campaign, they could do it regardless. It's not giving anyone at the school new information, just making sure it's in written form where the school will have a hard time covering it up.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:47 PM
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Oh, no I just meant to watch them get especially nervous. Or at least to get a feel for how much they may or may not have been informed about this particular teacher before now. The administrators aren't going to do anything like talking to other schools themselves.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:48 PM
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Sounds like this guy is being passed from boarding school to boarding school, just like priests would be shuttled between parishes when the scrutiny got intense, and no one has had the sense or guts to put an end to his career. Roosevelt doesn't have to be the guy, but with a kid graduating this year, he's in as good a position as any. Christ. The answer is they fire him mid-year, or you say you're going public/filing a lawsuit. Your kid is poised, but I'll bet infinity dollars that other kids were less so, and now they can tell you what Mr. Dynamic's penis feels like.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:49 PM
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159 pwned by 149 & 151.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:51 PM
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And only then if he and patents are okay with the email being forwarded/gossiped about/misinterpreted.

The school administration is obviously already aware of this.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:51 PM
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Lawrence Lessig testified as an adult against an abusive boarding school teacher. Maybe ask him, or find out who the attorney that dealt with that case was.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:52 PM
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163: A little more vivid than I was willing to go, but pretty much my thinking as well.

Someone has to clap a stopper on this teacher's playtime; I'm sorry it has to be you, Humbert, because it won't be much fun.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:53 PM
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that other kids were less so, and now they can tell you what Mr. Dynamic's penis feels like.

This is my major concern about not pursuing this more.

Since I am jaded and crude, when my ex told our son that she believed him when he said Mr. X hadn't put his hands on him, I whispered "what about his mouth and penis?!?!?!"

Gallows humor.


Posted by: Roosevelt Humbert | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:54 PM
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Late to the party, and basically just agreeing with everyone else here, but:

The e-mail is totally gross and the teacher is a predatory scumbag. 118.5 is awful, and .8 is really sad.

Your son may be mature and smart and very honest, but he's also a teenager away at boarding school, and vulnerable to pressure from authorities, peers, and the sweet, charming, passionate and popular teachers who have taken a special interest in him. I don't think that your son gets to have the final say in what happens to this teacher. The teacher should be fired. He definitely should not get to have any further contact, professional or otherwise, with your son.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 2:59 PM
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People do freak out, have emotional crises, and start behaving in ways that aren't really indicative of what they have done in the past (or necessarily will do in the future). In and of itself it's probably a fireable offense, but, on the evidence on offer, I am way less inclined than most here to necessarily take it as a symptom of a longstanding pattern of predatory behavior.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:01 PM
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A good working assumption is that private school administrators are the worst, most craven people in the world and are driven primarily by cowardice and being excluded from the tier of wealthy people with whom their private school connection gives them a loose affiliation. Their absolute overriding concern will be to make this incident go away silently, or, if that can't be done, to minimize it. Thinking about it, the fact that they have offered the voluntary meeting with the teacher shows that they are already going down this path. So, it seems, there are two real choices -- you either let it go almost completely, trust that nothing will happen again, and trust in the school's silent approbation of your being willing to take own for the team to help out your own kid's future. The problem with this course is that you may be abetting a serious teen predator, and that it's generally a shameful approach to take. The other course is to lawyer up now, demand an immediate firing, and put the school on notice that this is for real and will blow up severely if they try to screw around with a result. The worst possible course is a middle course where it seems like you are complaining but the school has a chance to minimize the incident or suppress it anyway. That increases the likelihood of harm to your kid. So I think you're serving everyone's best interest if you lawyer up and get formal about the situation, right now.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:04 PM
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I am way less inclined than most here to necessarily take it as a symptom of a longstanding pattern

But see 118 numbers 1 and 3 (along with 118.2). Yes, it's possible there's a benign explanation for his short tenure despite his high skill, but given everything else, I don't think the evidence points that way.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:05 PM
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school administrators are the worst, most craven people in the world

My brother.

But this is now the third thread in which I will ask you (fruitlessly!) for a paleo book recommendation.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:06 PM
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173 -- I dunno that there are great books. Why do you need one? Robb Wolff's book is OK.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:08 PM
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Why do you need one?

Because I want to read about it, dickwad.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:11 PM
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I am way less inclined than most here to necessarily take it as a symptom of a longstanding pattern

TWYRCL is probably tired of hearing me say this about local news reports of the latest sexual assault by a teacher/priest/troop leader, but (i) sexual predators never stop at one and (ii) they never stop voluntarily.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:11 PM
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Flippanter/TWYRCL topics of conversation:

- How Bonhoeffer changed my life.
- Denim in the freezer again?
- Sexual predators never stop at one, you know.
- something something Bach something something.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:14 PM
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Then probably Robb Wolff's book. It's a mix of good and stupid. There's not really one "paleo" approach, it's best seen as a hypothesis and heuristic about diet and lifestyle choices.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:15 PM
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In the interest of cross-cultural acceptance, let me note that this a situation in which "what would ISIS do?" is a lot more satisfying than "what is the school administration likely to do?"


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:15 PM
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Can't wait for Halford's own paleo book, right after his history of the LAPD.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:15 PM
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That ice cream was going bad anyway.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:17 PM
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Then probably Robb Wolff's book

Thanks. #1 best-seller among paleo books on Amazon! Can't go wrong! I'm just assuming that the "theory" stuff is mostly stupid, but I want to get a sense of what the arguments are about saturated fats and how best to get all nutrients.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:17 PM
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Things I learned at my fancy conservatory education.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:19 PM
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how best to get all nutrients.

This seems like the last thing you'd worry about. Meat and non-starchy vegetables? What would you worry about missing?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:20 PM
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That'll work then. Also screw you Nosflow I will write that book someday.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:20 PM
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What would you worry about missing?

Vitamin C? Fuck if I know. Thus: book.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:23 PM
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183: "You mean things like not recognizing the riff from 'Smoke on the Water'?"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:24 PM
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Also screw you Nosflow I will write that book someday

Great, see if you can figure out how they killed my friend while you're at it.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:37 PM
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OK, now I'm not on my phone and can type longer comments.

I do think this is a situation where what is best for the individual person (RH's son) is not necessarily what is best for society.

What's best for society is immediate, serious action; lawyer; going public, etc. etc. I would bet every dollar I have that this is not the first offense, and won't (absent publicity) be the last.

It pains me greatly to say this, but doing that DOES also impose a burden on RH, and more importantly on his son. Going public is inevitably going to trigger some people who are angry that you messed with their idyllic image of the teacher, and they'll express that anger in petty or spiteful ways. There are also the "no smoke without fire" people who in the name of "fairness" are likely to say "but but but I'm Just Asking Questions about what the stuuuuudent did to contribute to this?"

I'm repeating myself, but: This is why the escrow model of harassment/assault complaints is a good one. That way no one person has to bear the brunt of making a public accusation.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:52 PM
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||Sometimes you just can't beat LA Times local news headlines. Here's the current scroll: "Woman who evaded intruder on roof starred in Whitney Houston's 'Sparkle'"; "Deputy L.A. city attorney pleads not guilty to child porn charges";
"L.A. serial killer gets 3 life terms, screams, 'I didn't do it!'"; "Woman, 65, is attacked by 300-pound bear, fights back and survives"; "Woman huddles in rooftop hiding place as intruder looms [Photo]"|>


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:53 PM
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Also late to the party. But I find this situation horrific for you, Roosevelt, and for your son.

Personally, I think the guy should be fired. I don't think your son needs to be (or should be) in a meeting with the school and Mr. X (no explanations are really necessary and potentially could be further damaging to the kid), although I have no issues if you'd like to go and hear what he has to say. Could be difficult.

I think the main pressures for your son wanting to stay in class is to not make a big public stink, feel responsible for some guy loosing his job, and having peers be really angry because it's his fault. That's a lot of burden to bear, even though, of course, he's not responsible at all. But, he's not going to _feel_ that way, no matter what you say. People, particularly teens, do not want to make a stink and draw negative attention to themselves. Particularly when there's sexuality involved (even if he is straight, he will be no doubt worried what peers will be thinking of his orientation; being called "fag", etc.)

I say some of this as a person who happened to end up in boarding school do to an abusive situation. This is a very insular environment. I think you need to be discussing the situation further with the headmaster most of all to be sure (a) your son will be protected (and how they plan to do that), and (b) what plans do they have for getting rid of the teacher.

Good luck with this shitty situation.


Posted by: rance | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:55 PM
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97 I mean obviously it's not the first email to this student

Really? It seems like all the previous communication could have been in person. I would have thought getting the student's email address wrong is more likely if this was the first email to this student.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:59 PM
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Oh, and to 161: As soon as you put it explicitly in e-mail, it can be shown (forwarded!) to the teacher. It can be seen by a secretary or colleague when you leave it on your screen or print it out and leave it on the printer.

Perhaps most likely: Whoever else has access to your e-mail account will also see it. I'm pretty sure that at every place I've ever worked, I've had access to my boss's e-mail, and I know for certain dozens of colleagues at other organizations who handle their bosses' inboxes or have access privileges.

People don't have to be evil or malicious for someone to get a glimpse of the e-mail and then relay misinterpreted or half-understood info to their two closest friends...and their friends...and theirs....

I love using e-mail to document stuff, and I occasionally do it with the expectation that some lawyer will be reading it, but I think it's unrealistic that you send a spelling-things-out e-mail and it isn't quickly forwarded around. Like, what if the head of the school has a wife who is a lawyer? And he forwards it to her for her take? Totally normal for spouses to do. And she shares it with a colleague? Etc.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 3:59 PM
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At my boarding school, there was a teacher who had a couple of relationships with students. He was fired. My advisor was his wife, and it was super awkward for her. She left at the end of the year to work at a more urban school.

More recently, it came out that the headmaster who had always favored boys saw male prostitutes in NYC while on school business. This was in the paper because of some earlier allegations that he had been involved with boys. There had been the wife of the college counselor who had relationships with boys. That was pretty well known at the time.

The stuff came out, because the current head and the trustees sent an e-mail out and even mentioned a past settlement, because they had consulted a psychologist and were asking anyone else to come forward. I was amazed by how open it was compared to. 20 years ago.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 4:00 PM
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186: eat more seal.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 4:00 PM
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I also think Witt makes a lot of sense in189. The harm often comes by being in the center of a big controversy. Much more stressful that inappropriate teacher letters.

Although I can imagine why RH's son doesn't want things to be public, and I can totally get with that, I think he should probably be separated from the teacher. I kinda can't imagine the school not doing something about the situation now that they are aware of it. (Or, well, sadly, yes I can imagine that.) But I wonder if it's already too late?


Posted by: Rance | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 4:01 PM
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Oops, 192 was pwned by Charley in 109.1. I should read the whole thread before commenting. But if our asker is Humbert, is the teacher Clare Quilty? I'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest that murdering him is a bad idea.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 4:08 PM
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Also, shouldn't 49.2 be redacted? It's pretty easy to work out the identities of everyone involved in this story from that.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 4:23 PM
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What, everyone?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 4:27 PM
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190 didn't cajole a laugh out of me until [Photo]


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 4:31 PM
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199: Yeah. If my Google-fu is good enough, and if his LinkedIn profile is accurate, this teacher was working a lot of non-teaching jobs for the decade before he was hired at this school, so all the "contacting other schools" stuff won't really work.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 4:35 PM
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I am totally not figuring it out.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 4:41 PM
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Countdown to this thread going down the memory hole...


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 4:42 PM
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Anyhow, obviously Captain Deadpoets here should think about teaching college instead, and just get to know young people through the larger theater scene. That's what everyone else does.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 4:43 PM
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203: why wouldn't redacting 49 be sufficient?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 4:46 PM
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Could you just arrange it so that they fire him over the coming summer? Won't cause as much drama for the kid.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 4:48 PM
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206: or just get politicalfootball to add him to his drone strike list.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 4:55 PM
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206: or just get politicalfootball to add him to his drone strike list.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 4:55 PM
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I think the main pressures for your son wanting to stay in class is to not make a big public stink, feel responsible for some guy loosing his job, and having peers be really angry because it's his fault

This wouldn't be my guess. I can imagine a poised and confident kid thinking that he had handled it, wasn't in danger, liked the class aside from the teacher hitting on him and wanting to keep going out of enjoyment. The teacher is clearly in the wrong, but it might not be a big deal to this kid, this time, especially knowing his parents have his back.

I definitely get that he teacher grooms his students and almost certainly does this serially. I would be fine with firing him. But the kid is saying that he's OK and he might be. His motivations around teacher and the class aren't necessarily troubled.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:01 PM
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Nevertheless, what the kid wants in particular is not the whole of what should be done.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:02 PM
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I figured it out and I must have more beta-amyloid tangles than most of you. Delete that.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:04 PM
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Should definitely be deleted, and I'm pretty sure I know who the teacher is, or at least Essear and I are thinking of the same guy.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:05 PM
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And (this could be totally unfair to this completely innocent unnamed person) the Essear/me guy in question has a resume that's consistent with moving from place to place in the wake of scandal. Not that that demonstrates much of anything.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:09 PM
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No, you're right. The kid's interests aren't the only interests. I'm objecting to assigning feelings to he kid, especially ones that don't sound like what the kid himself is saying.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:11 PM
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193: I'm still not getting, though, what you think is going to be in an email that the school administration doesn't already know and could tell anyone they wanted to. I don't think sending the email I described is a huge deal -- mostly I was thinking of it as breadcrumb-leaving for the possible next victim if Humbert decided to let this pass without leaving a stink. But what's the difference between sending an email to the school saying "On [date] I received an email accidentally sent to me but intended for my son by Prof X, saying [quote]. Obviously, this worried me, and we need to investigate further and find out what's going on," or something along those lines, and the oral communication that's already happened. Yes, an email can be forwarded, but orally transmitted information can be repeated, and an email gets distorted less.

The kid probably doesn't want the story to get passed around school, but that will or won't happen depending on how the school handles it, and I don't think the presence of an email changes the odds much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:13 PM
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214: I can see the kid being more upset by what appears to be happening now than by the solicitation. That is not necessarily all sorts of traumatic. And yes, his interests aren't the only interests.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:15 PM
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It's more that people are lazy and there is limited time to tell people things orally. You can't spread things nearly as fast if you're depending on conversations. E-mail is so EASY to forward, and it happens with all that identifying personal detail helpfully attached.

I can't count the number of times somebody has forwarded something to me that they definitely, definitely should not have forwarded. And often it's three or four levels deep of inappropriate-forwarding.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:19 PM
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I can guarantee you that the school administration is hoping that all involved will conclude that a scandal would be worse for everyone than the incident itself, so that the administration can handle it quietly later (probably). That doesn't necessarily mean that handling it quietly is the worst course of action. But ot os a certainty that the administration is praying that everyone (parents, students, anyone who knows) will conclude that keeping quiet for now is the best thing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:19 PM
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217: Sure, but there's nothing damaging to the kid other than his name and the general nature of the story, which is good gossip -- there's no content other than Prof X was maybe hitting on kid X. That much of the story will spread as fast by mouth as by email, and any more accurate details are protective of the kid, rather than damaging.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:23 PM
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205: If nothing more happens athread, sure.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:24 PM
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Is there any reasonable compromise available that isn't just doing what the school administrators want?

It seems to like the ideal outcome for the kid is for everything to just disappear for now so he can finish his senior year without any hassle. It's not unreasonable to expect the teacher in question to back off of him given the recent events, and from what he's said it sounds more like an awkward couple moments than a really big deal. And what's best for the kid involved seems like a really important factor here. But that's also in the best interests of the administrators, though, and probably also the teacher in question. And even if that teacher backs off in this case that's not necessarily going to result in him behaving any better in general (if he has jumped from school to school it's likely that past versions of this didn't). On the other hand that's pretty morally questionable and probably the worst case outcome for everyone else - especially any other students that might get victimized at some point in the future. The teacher should clearly be fired, and, if he has any past record, fired in a way that prevents him from getting any future positions where he can do this sort of thing.

Anything I could think of involves a situation where the school/teacher ends up saving face (like firing him at the end of a term for unspecified reasons) which is basically what they want in the first place. Maybe finding a way to put things off until the end of the school year, and then have the whole thing end up public? It's awfully early in the year to manage that, or at least I'm not sure how things could be slowed down to that point without them leaking out. But a scandal late enough that it didn't ruin the student's senior sounds like the only successful outcome to me.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:37 PM
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206: I would strongly suspect that is likely to be the preferred outcome for the headmaster - put enough fear of God in the teacher so that nothing more is likely to happen this year, and then take care of the problem quietly over the summer to ensure that there won't be any future year problems for the trustees to deal with, in a way that both teacher and school can plausibly spin as a voluntary separation to save face and prevent awkward questions.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:44 PM
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A reasonably compromise would be that the teacher agrees to committ some minor crime which doesn't have jail time but which would be grounds for immediate termination and that doesn't involve any students. Maybe embezelment.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:49 PM
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Oh! He could defame Brian Leiter!


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 5:57 PM
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223: "boy, if only he'd knock over a bank or something. Then we'd have him!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:03 PM
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Oh, of all redactings to miss because I was busy hiring a principal! I'm with just about everyone in saying parent(s) should meet with the principal without the son's involvement, though whether you meet with the teacher is up to you. I probably would.

(As an aside, one of the people we interviewed but didn't hire tonight was a name I knew from Nia's casefile. Her intervention as an admin at Nia's kindergarten school resulted in Nia's entry into foster care, and hearing that Nia is loved and doing so well and close to adoption brought her to tears. I wish she'd be willing to be an assistant principal because she'd be great, but apparently she doesn't want the pay cut.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:10 PM
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Remember, it's not entrapment if it's not the police doing it.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:11 PM
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It's not a (potential) victim's responsibility to protect future victims by coming forward, unless they want to take that on. However, one idea for a compromise: teacher gets to finish out the year provided he agrees to school hiring a private detective to investigate his previous teaching positions for any hushed-up similar scandals, with Roosevelt getting a copy of the report. If nothing turns up, well and good. If previous victims do surface, maybe one of them will decide to come forward publicly, and then it's a question of supporting their story with this email, rather than Roosevelt's son being the primary source of the scandal. And even if none of them do, teacher knows that this report is now out there and could potentially leak, should, e.g., he take a future teaching position that shows up in his LinkedIn profile.. Not perfect, but it does offer some protection to potential future victims.

Probably too complicated to get everyone to agree to, though.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:11 PM
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The idea of "finishing out the year" may be too much to ask, since the school year just started about 3 weeks ago.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:14 PM
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Some guy is going to get an email from Linked in telling him a bizarre assortment of people with no commonality he can discover have looked at his profile.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:15 PM
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In related news, LinkedIn has suggested that I link in, or befriend, or whatever, the potential boss of one of the jobs I applied to. I don't think LinkedIn knows about the email address I put on the application. Probably should have changed my profile to be optimized for every potential employer looking at it, oh what does it matter.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:18 PM
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Yeah, fuck finishing out the year. Schools can respond to abrupt changes in personnel. Get Mr. X out of there.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:24 PM
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I don't have a LinkedIn account, I was just looking at the guy's public page.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:31 PM
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-l


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:33 PM
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! I'm with just about everyone in saying parent(s) should meet with the principal without the son's involvement, though whether you meet with the teacher is up to you. I probably would.

Under no circumstances should anyone, parent, child, otherwise, meet with the teacher to discuss these issues. And I'd encourage having a third party present (I continue to think a lawyer would be best, just rope in someone) for the meeting with the principal.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:51 PM
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I'm impressed that people identified the teacher. I accidentally figured out the other relevant name, thinking I was getting the teacher, but I didn't see any other clues.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 6:54 PM
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Before I had no interest in sleuthing out the teacher but now I feel left out.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:01 PM
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Thoughts:

1) The teacher does NOT get to plead his case to your son, which is in all likelihood what will happen if you agree to the nice little meeting with everyone. They can meet with you, with or without your lawyer, but bringing the kid into it is an excellent way to make him feel guilty if/when the guy is fired.

2) Witt's right that an e-mail has a greater chance of getting leaked; still, the paper trail is probably worth it, because an e-mail is also harder for them to deny that they knew X, Y, and Z.

3) The kid doesn't have to feel traumatized for this to be wrong, so he shouldn't have to perform "trauma victim" in order for this to be taken seriously. It's good that he's resilient. It is great when victims are resilient! Teacher is still a creep. Next kid might not be so resilient.

4) I wouldn't say there's an obligation for a victim to come forward, given all that victims have to put up with. That's a hard question. But if the kid is feeling okay with it, please do. Better now than hearing in 10 years that this guy's been passed around after assaults keep getting hushed up -- (why did no one say anything? what about the previous cases? Were they just okay with it as long as it wasn't their kid? &c.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:01 PM
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I haven't the slightest clue who anybody is.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:06 PM
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Kid's already forward: the admins have the email. Kid doesn't have to and shouldn't be asked to do a single thing more. The question for the admins is whether they want to have a ticking time bomb under their roof.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:07 PM
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[cue remark about forty-seven-year-old balding men]


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:07 PM
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There are so many reasons not to meet with the teacher. For one, it may make it more difficult for the school to fire him. For two, you don't want to listen to the guy plead his case or have any more contact with him than necessary. For three, it increases your exposure when the teacher lawyers up, as he inevitably will do. For four, you don't want to make any inadvertent admissions that help the guy out. Just don't do it. Insist to the administration that they fire the guy or that he leaves, period. See if and how they follow up. Make that the school's problem. How noisily or quietly you want to make that is up to you, but put interactions with the teacher on the school, not on yourself.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:08 PM
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240 is also correct.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:08 PM
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Well, yeah, I have no real interest in the teacher's name, I just feel like a bit of a dope because I can't figure out where everyone else started from.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:09 PM
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Flip in 39 is my hero.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:09 PM
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I'm only 43.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:09 PM
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244: Inferring who the asker is -> asker's FB page -> asker's son's FB page -> name of school -> list of faculty. I should probably avoid dicking around on the internet in ways that intrude on peoples' privacy, but it's so easy to do.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:16 PM
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240: That is true. But it's unrealistic to think that the guy gets fired and no one speculates at all, so it's something for the kid and his family to keep in mind.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:18 PM
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Oh, that I could have done -- didn't, but could have. I was trying to figure out how to get to the teacher directly from clues in the thread. You'd have to be pretty far inside here to have gotten the asker -- the phonetic clue got me to the name, but it's not uncommon enough to go from there to the individual unless you knew it already (I actually didn't pick it up despite knowing the name, because I don't think of people here by real name).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:20 PM
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Inferring who the asker is

This is why I never ask you people for help in finding a mistress.


Posted by: Wry Cooter | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:21 PM
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I did not know Roosevelt's RL name until today. I do have minute knowledge of TFA, though, and was unable to determine the school/teacher despite industrious googling.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:27 PM
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There are three basic ways the administration could retaliate against (and harm) the kid. One is by firing the guy and then leaking and letting everyone know that the kid was responsible and that the firing was maybe legally appropriate but that getting rid of popular teacher x was all the kid's fault. The second is by not firing the guy but letting people know that the kid is some kind of troublemaker who tried to get beloved teacher x in trouble. The third is to retaliate behind the scenes without mentioning the incident, either with college admissions or teacher grades or some other way. I wouldn't put any of these three past school administrators in a boarding school culture. All of these options will seem attractive because the school has a vested interest in minimizing the problem, and one way to minimize the problem is to shift some of the blame/consequence onto the kid.

As I tried inarticulately to suggest above, to avoid retaliation/blowback against the kid you have to options. First, you could just let the school handle everything, be a team player, and let everything blow over until the administration handles it in a way they see fit (this, of course, is what the school wants). Second, you could credibly threaten that things will get much much worse for them if they do not fire the guy/respond effectively/not retaliate against your kid. The worst of all worlds is a middle ground, where you do something like send emails "to create a paper trail" without thinking carefully about what you're doing, or to "come forward" without making clear that *you* are willing to take this extremely seriously. It's in those circumstances where the school will feel most free to retaliate against the kid. Do not assume that private school administrators are anything other than venal, cowardly monsters.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:27 PM
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"two options"


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:29 PM
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Too options.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:31 PM
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250: You want more than the links to the website we gave you a couple days ago?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:32 PM
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Speaking of dicking around on the Internet, may I point out that there's a fair chance that the text of the email will become the center of some kind of litigation. If the teacher, or the admin, or any of the lawyers involved googles the text, they will find this thread. It's not impossible that the teacher already has, especially if he was notified of the spike in LinkedIn activity.


Posted by: Unimaginative | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:38 PM
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Good point, 256. This whole thread should come down.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:39 PM
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they will find this thread

Really? When half of it is Coldplay lyrics and the other half is trite yet vague bullshit? Technology these days


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:40 PM
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In case this thread is put into evidence during a court proceeding, I'd like to be sure it contains the word "scrotum."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:40 PM
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258: Googling the whole text in quotes would get it, I suppose. I hate deleting threads -- you think throwing in a bunch of symbols to googleproof would be enough?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:45 PM
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When half of it is Coldplay lyrics and the other half is trite yet vague bullshit?

I think you've repeated yourself there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:45 PM
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260: Replace all the pronouns with Disney characters?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:46 PM
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Translate into pig latin?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:47 PM
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Eepingslay EautyBay?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:50 PM
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There, I rot13'd it. If Roosevelt wants the thread gone, he should say the word, but that'll block googling.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:52 PM
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Maybe also rot13 the headmaster's email?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:53 PM
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Inferring who the asker is

That was possible?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:54 PM
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There was a now-deleted phonetic clue that got me to a real name, which like an idiot I posted (also now deleted). The real name was the real name of a regular, if you happened to know it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:55 PM
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I think inferring is deduction and induction is that one that's impossible.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:56 PM
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If it were my site, I'd still take the whole thing down. For one thing there's a nonzero chance that putting Google aside the existence of the post gets revealed through litigation. And, putting litigation aside, that someone from the school could find this and figure things out.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:59 PM
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Just to be safe, let's only tell bad jokes for the rest of this thread's comments. I recently heard one:

Q: Why did the cowboy get a dachshund?
A: He'd always been told, "Get a long, little doggie."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 7:59 PM
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266: I thought "Don't be an idiot, there's no content in the headmaster's email -- there's no way google would find it." Then I tried, and the post popped right up. Rot13'd it is.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:00 PM
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I'm a fan of abduction.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:00 PM
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273 to 269.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:00 PM
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270: It's up to Humbert, but I have to say I can't really see any ill effects from the thread coming out in litigation. The parent sought advice from frivolous people? The google-proofing makes sense to me -- if the teacher were reading the thread the emotional temperature would certainly go way up. But there's nothing particularly embarrassing, secret, or damaging to worry about coming out in litigation here.

But absolutely, Humbert, say the word and the thread's gone. That's my take, but it doesn't have to be yours.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:04 PM
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I can't really see any ill effects from the thread coming out in litigation

Have you read 271 yet?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:06 PM
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271 was a joke on M*A*S*H.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:07 PM
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Now I need to google rot13. but I don't know what happened.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:09 PM
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Having now caught up, I had the same thought as 256 and 270, although mostly out of sympathy for the lawyer who would have to walk through this thread comment-by-comment with Humbert during deposition prep, which is a process much on my mind lately for various reasons relating to my day job. (Hi there, whoever you turn out to be, if you turn out to be someone!) Although I suppose it would ultimately be one of those stories you tell over drinks for years. ("So they had this thing called the Mineshaft, you see...")


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:13 PM
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259 to 279.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:17 PM
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I also heard a drummer-lawyer joke recently:

Q: What do you say to a drummer in a suit?
A: "Will the defendant please rise?"

That one stings a bit.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:22 PM
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Could have also gone with a Spinal Tap inspired joke ending in "rest in peace."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:33 PM
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maybe to be absolutely sure no one finds it we should ROT13 it twice.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:35 PM
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275 -- not necessarily damaging at all, but the thread contains various statements by the parent of one of the parties in question (potentially a party himself) about various near-contemporary events. This might be more important if that party takes action or becomes the subject of action by someone else. Just as the site operator, I'd say the better part of caution is to take it down, to avoid any possibility of having to deal with it later which could be a giant PITA. Your call though of course.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 8:55 PM
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Q: What do you call a drummer without a girlfriend?
A: Homeless.

Q: Why is the ocean friendly?
A: It waves.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 9:41 PM
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283: I think traditionally the only way to be sure is to ROT13 it from orbit.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09-25-14 10:01 PM
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If this were my child, I'd want

(a) that teacher fired

(b) that teacher to NEVER cross paths with my child EVER AGAIN (ok: untli my child is age 22, and has had 4yr of therapy)

(c) that teacher fired

I stopped watching Woody Allen movies when I learned he slept with his adoptive daughter before she was an adult.

This is sickening.

Your child needs to NEVER be within a mile of this bag of organic chemicals.


Posted by: Chet | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 12:39 AM
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I stopped watching Woody Allen movies

Guess you showed him.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 4:59 AM
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It doesn't matter to me whether it stays or goes.

The sleuthing you people do is impressive.

I haven't said anything here that I haven't essentially said in two or three emails to the school, copied to multiple people.


Posted by: Roosevelt Humbert | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 5:05 AM
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Stays it is, then.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 5:06 AM
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Now I see that Chthulu wrote to Rosey's son. If the Old Ones want your son, offer him to them.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 6:10 AM
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After all, a quick death is the most merciful. The rest of us will suffer.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 6:24 AM
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Let the school admins know that if they don't take decisive action they will be roundly mocked in unfogged comment threads.

That should get them to clean up their act.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 7:22 AM
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The balancing act of protection of one's child v. protection of future children is delicate. Meeting with the headmaster in person late this afternoon.


Posted by: Roosevelt Humbert | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 7:26 AM
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Oh whee. Good luck!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 7:53 AM
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Keep us posted, and good luck, and fuck those snakes in the administration.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 7:56 AM
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There is a missing girl in our area as well. A friend pointed out this Blood Meridian quote which perhaps makes me want to gather more information:

"When the lambs is lost in the mountain, he said. They is cry. Sometime come the mother. Sometime the wolf."


Posted by: Roosevelt Humbert | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 8:00 AM
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Best of luck. It's an ugly problem, but it sounds like a tribute to your parenting that your kid is OK and it wasn't worse.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 8:31 AM
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Good luck with your meeting with the headmaster! Here's hoping the situation will go as best as can be expected (however that's supposed to be). And what 298 & 296 said.


Posted by: Rance | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 9:41 AM
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Obviously, we're nosy as hell about how the meeting goes. Equally obviously, use your best judgment about what it makes sense to tell us about it, if anything.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 9:47 AM
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One of my cousins got accused, along with a bunch of other teachers at the school, of groping a girl. Google his name, and the police stuff is the first thing that comes up in a NY paper. Everything was dropped, and he now works at a charter school MA. I really don't know, but I'm not inclined to think that he did anything wrong.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-26-14 2:58 PM
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have I mentioned that you should KILL IT WITH FIRE? the students will be vicious little shits, though. like, so horrible. sorry humbert junior. really, really sorry.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-28-14 4:30 AM
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Meeting went well. I am mostly satisfied with the claimed investigation. Sufficient detail, good and bad, to make me think it happened.

For now, I am ok with it being labeled a veering across boundaries, and not grooming. (Understanding that it is never grooming, until it is.)


Posted by: Roosevelt Humbert | Link to this comment | 09-29-14 7:15 AM
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I'm glad you are mostly satisfied. The real challenge is what happens as things move forward (in my experience, they move super slowly; probably in an attempt for people to cover their ass). Have they made any decisions on what to do with said boundary-veering teacher?


Posted by: Rance | Link to this comment | 09-29-14 9:21 AM
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I'm glad the meeting went well and hope the administrators are being genuine and that your son feels OK. it must be hard having him far away from you every day since you can't really monitor his mood very well. I have an irresistible inclination to assume everyone at the school is lying to you in an active conspiracy of lies, coverup, and wrongdoing. and...I'm not sure how to put this without sounding patronizing or like I'm telling you "you're wrong" because you have access to a million details about the situation that I don't and are much more likely to be right than me, but...I don't think there's any meaningful category of teacher-to-student communication that missive can fall under other than grooming, if we're all on board that it has nothing to do with any ongoing weirdness. I mean...sort of what else is there, if you see what I'm saying? everything I reach for mentally is a synonym for "hitting on." but in any case one hopes teacher mcsomeoneshouldpourbatteryacidonmydick is chastened and fearful and will leave your son alone forever.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09-29-14 8:56 PM
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So is the teacher getting fired?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-30-14 1:57 AM
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