Wednesday, June 29, 2011

An Aquittal

How can I describe how it feels to hear that one of your co-workers has been charged with aggravated sodomy, sexual assault against a person in custody, cruelty to children and sexual battery?

Somehow the words, alarmed, surprised, and disbelief don't begin to cover the emotions that wash over you.

This is a person that you may know well or a person that you see in the hall and tell him to have a great weekend.

In this case, this teacher was a person who was often chosen to show my co-workers and I how we could put the technology in our classroom to better use. I was always impressed by his knowledge and I will admit that I realized that I often rested on my laurels thinking that I knew enough about computers to keep motivate student involvement in the classroom.

When the news first filtered back to me via email about the charges I drew a sharp intake of breath. How could this be?

I mean at a rational level I understand that people who do bad things don't generally look like villains. It's not like they have the words "child molester" stamped on their forehead but the charges and my interactions with him just didn't jive.

Was I really such a bad judge of character? Should I have known? Is this even true? I had no answers.

After a few delays, the case finally came to court. I didn't even realize that the case was finally heard until I saw the headlines on June 24th, which announced that he was acquitted of all charges.

Once again I could hear the sudden intake of air as I gasped. Is this true? Was he really acquitted? Did this mean that the original charges were false? If so how can he possibly repair the damage that has been done to his reputation? Could he ever pursue a career in education again? Would there always be people who believe that he got away with it?

According to the article his initial reaction to returning to teaching was “no way.” But after some thought, he said he would like to earn his master’s and return to teaching.

I know that many of his students, coworkers, and parents of his students, felt that he was an excellent teacher. Will the specter of these charges forever tarnish his ability to teach for many others? I wish I had the answer.

I pray that my co-worker and his family and the student and his family can put their lives back together.

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