AIBU to let this go - former teacher who was sexually inappropriate with me, still teaching but not sure what else I can do(24 Posts)
Sorry this is long but don't want to drip feed. When I was in my late teens (16) one of my teachers at secondary school kissed and groped me (in school) but stopped when I asked him to. He was then sexually inappropriate with me on several other occasions, saying sexually suggestive things or trying to kiss/touch me again. When I rejected him clearly he became mean and cold toward me in a way that was obvious in my class. He was mid 40's then and the head of his department.
I also know for a fact that he was in a full sexual relationship with a girl from the year above me when she around 15, it was common knowledge in my friendship group. This teacher taught an arts subject and was very popular with his students, although most of the adults I knew didn't like him. In retrospect I think some of his behaviour could be described as grooming, he would drink with us, let us smoke and drink in his flat and on school trips and asked us to confide in him. He ran 'experimental' workshops in the art form he taught, which required teenage students to access and express 'deep' emotions. At the time they seemed important and meaningful but in retrospect it was irresponsible and dangerous, he had no psychological training and there were no boundaries.
I didn't tell anyone at the time because I was 16 and I was embarrassed and ashamed. I'm now in my mid-thirties with kids of my own and I know he is still teaching teenagers (he is in touch with some of my old school friends on Facebook).
I told a friend who I went to school with and she remembers what happened in his 'workshops' and what happened with the girl in the year above mine. We went together to our old school and reported what happened to the current CEO (it's a private international school in another country). He was helpful and took me seriously, he explained that the school had no child protection policy at that time and that it does now. He said that there is no 'governing body' for international schools and there is no clear channel to escalate this. He did offer to call the head of this teacher's current school (which is in a third country) and report what I had told him, he did this but I have no idea how seriously the head of the current school took this. My old teacher is still in his role. I reached out to the girl from the year above mine and asked if she would back me up but she does not want to be involved and would rather simply forget the whole thing happened. Without her voice it's just me and its difficult to evidence there was grooming (which is what really worries me I think).
The truth is this bothers me but didn't affect my life in any tangible way, I don't feel traumatised, just creeped out. I do, however, feel worried about teenage girls who are in his care now, guilty for not saying something sooner and guilty for letting it go (which I would really like to do - I just don't see what other avenue I can pursue here). The teacher is English but living and working abroad, teaching at another international school in a senior position. Finally, he is now married with children (he wasn't when he taught me) and I feel guilty about the potential disruption and trauma this could cause his kids if he lost his job. AIBU to think I've done all I can?
You've done enough, if you're happy with what you've done. If you want to make a police report, I think they will probably take one. The process is quite gruelling although I think the police are much more sensitive than they used to be, but as you say grooming is hard to prove especially historically, so it is unlikely anything much will come of it and thus if you think it is not the right thing for you to do no-one in their right mind would condemn you.
He may very well be up to the same old tricks with other impressionable teenagers. I would actually report it to the police myself but I understand if you don't want to. If you did - nothing may come of it but it may put him off abusing /grooming other teenagers. If you did report it and something came of it then you will be helping to protect these people.
I think I would consider reporting it to the police but it's complicated by the fact that there are three separate countries. It happened in an international school in a country in Africa in the mid 90's (and I'm actually not sure what he did was even illegal at that time and in that place). I now live in the UK he lives in a third country in Asia where he teaches in another international school. Not sure which police I could even report it to.
It seems like you're not at peace with your decisions in some way. Do you think it could be representing something else for you? like there's some other unfinished business you'd rather not look at so you're thinking of this situation as a substitute?
When I had counselling I was surprised a few times when the work I did revealed that the emotion I had about one situation really belonged in another part of my life. I'm not sure if that makes much sense but basically - if your intellect is satisfied that you've done what you could then why is it stil troubling you? If you find the answer to that then your path may be clearer.
I hope you find peace with whatever decision you make.
Is he British? If so I would probably get it put on record here just in case he returns.
Otherwise other than making sure his present school are informed (preferably in writing), there isn't much you can do - which is how people like this still get away with it.
Yes, he's British.
I don't think this is about anything else Tesselate, my job sometimes involves working with child protection professionals and I think I have just gradually come to understand more about predatory adults and the potential consequences for young people.
I was from a stable background and pretty emotionally secure when he tried it on with me, I worry that his behaviour could have a more substantial impact on a young person who is more vulnerable.
Well can you think of any disadvantages to ringing 101 and asking if there's anything you could do? You may not get a quick answer but it would be an answer from the experts.
Your situation re other countries is unusal but I doubt it's unprecedented. There will be some form of procedure for historical abuse in a different country. Once you know if there are options then you may be clearer what you want to do.
Would it be worth finding out what safeguarding procedures are in place in the country he is currently teaching in?
I think I can guess the subject, did the deep emotions stuff have anything to do with Stan?
I've known similar charismatic 'characters' in that subject but it definatly sounds like he's crossed the line.
It's entirely your decision but don't worry too much about the procedure. If you decide to report it, just speak to your local police or call 101 and they will tell you what you need to do.
As a complete aside Tesselate what type of counselling was that? Sounds useful.
William Vahey abused dozens of boys while working in international schools. If you can manage it, I would urge you to make a statement because it will hopefully turn up in safeguarding checks, even if it's only if he returns to the UK.
Ok yeah I guess I could call 101 and ask. I didn't really consistent the UK police as an option, assuming I'd need some kind of evidence.
There isn't exactly a crime to report. I was 16 and the age of consent was even lower than that where we were. This is a moral failing but probably not a legal one, but I guess the UK police may have encountered something like this before and suggest something I haven't thought of. Worth a try.
I also thought about contacting his current school directly so it's coming from a person rather than an anonymous report. If it ever comes out it again and the school were warned and hadn't acted then they would have to answer for that. At least it might act as a deterrent if he knows he's being watched?
theyoniway with regard to evidence, your statement is the evidence. If the crime happened in the UK that would be all they need to start investigating.
I presume it is more complicated when the crime happened abroad but you don't really need to second guess that. The police will tell you.
With regard to whether it was a crime or not, again you presumably aren't an expert in the law of the country so why not let those who are experts decide if there's a case or not.
If you want to contact the school he works at currently then why don't you? I personally would think through any disadvantages first. eg if they didn't appear interested would that upset you?
I know you said you don't think this is about something else for you but then it puzzles me why you don't just take the action you have thought of. What's stopping you if it's psychologically straightforward?
I think you can be from a stable home and still have after-effects from abuse. Maybe you feel it's allowed to be protective of others but not to act for yourself?
How about talking it through with an organisation such as Survivors Trust
They will be able to explore your feelings around this in a way the police won't and maybe talk through some of the pros and cons of what you propose.
TheCakes person-centred counselling. I'll message you a couple of details.
they I don't know what country it is, but in the U.K. the age of consent is different in teacher/pupil scenarios. It's 18 because of the abuse of position in the roles.
If you phone 101 they can advise you what the options are, considering all the factors.
It's a difficult one, and the legality is complicated as you say.
My children are in an international school outside of the UK and I would want anything like this to be made known to my children's school if the teacher was there. I would not trust him with my children.
I think probably the best you can do is to write directly to the school and tell them. It may be that they have suspicions already and your account could help them, or at least it would mean that if something did come up, they would realise that he has a history.
After reading all the thread, I realise this is pretty much what you have said already.
This is definitely not unprecedented. There was a story a couple of years ago about a teacher who abused children in international schools over years - possibly decades. My children were in international school at the time and all the parents were talking about it. The problem with international school is that background checks are difficult to do or just not done...I subbed in my children's school without having any checks done on my background.
To get to my point...if you feel like you would like to do more, would you consider writing to the school? They may or may not pay you any heed, but at least you could be giving them a heads up.
Please don't minimise what happened just because you were over the age of consent. It is not acceptable for any person to force unwanted sexual attention/actions on anyone in any situation. Women do not become 'fair game' because they are legally allowed to have sex/engage in sexual activity. If someone in your workplace did this to you now, it would be sexual harrassment at least.
Apologies, that sounded a bit aggressive. I meant that you personally should not feel that you can't call it what it was. It would be morally wrong on his part if you had wanted to do it, but it is legally wrong if you did not want to, and if he continued to make inappropriate remarks etc after you had made your position clear.
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