My High School Teacher Allegedly Assaulted Students for Decades…
...and we said nothing, even though we'd heard the rumors.
I've been following this saga for a few years now and it seems to have topped out, which is why I wanted to share it.
DISCLAIMER: The former teacher hasn't been convicted of any crime as of the publication of this article.
I went to high school in Wisconsin - grew up in a suburb of Milwaukee. Our high school theatre teacher was in his 20s at the time; he was well-liked and super fun to be around. Basically, it was "cool" to be in his circle.
His office was in the basement of the high school, behind the theatre. One day, the curtains were taken down from his office windows. A rumor circulated amongst students was that he'd had female students in his office; the administration found out and told him to take the curtains down.
Another rumor that had circulated was that a pair of size 6 Abercrombie jeans had been found in his office; clearly, they weren't his. The problem was, these were all rumors. Teachers and administration said nothing and we were all left speculating.
One thing that we ALL knew was that NONE of us students were going to ask because he was the "cool" teacher. For me, personally, I wasn't part of the "cool" crowd and I had a passion for theatre. I was afraid that, if I said anything, I'd be on his bad side and wouldn't be cast in any school musicals.
When I was a senior, he announced that he was getting married. He didn't talk about it much, obviously. We joked about getting him a hundred toasters for his wedding...and then we found out that he was marrying a former student who was two years older than us.
Naturally, we all thought it was an acceptable relationship because they were getting married, right?
I never saw him again after high school; he went to another school district to teach theatre. A few years back, I saw an article about him pop up on a Milwaukee news site - apparently, a student had alleged that they'd had a romantic relationship. The claim was being investigated; he 'd been placed on paid leave.
Yesterday, it was announced in the news that he had been stripped of his teaching license.
My high school friends and I have been discussing this for years. Yes, he was a great teacher. He was great at his job, he was an amazing director and he was friends with the most popular kids in school...which is why we never addressed any of the rumors we had heard about him.
One of my friends said she'd heard the rumors, too, but he capitalised on being the "cool" teacher, and that we were all too young to realize how creepy the rumors were at the time.
Hindsight is 20/20 and now, of course, I wish I would've said something. Problem was, I didn't see anything, so I had no proof. Now, former teachers have spoken out, saying that the rumors were well-known amongst them, too.
This was almost 20 years ago. Times are very different now, but I wish something would've been done a long time ago. And I wish I would've been mature enough to see what was going on.