On Tuesday The Oregonian did a great article on state lawmakers trying to improve laws protecting students from sex-abuse by their teachers. The article showed examples from Salem-Keizer School District on what is accepted and what is not. It is a excellent and well thought out list except….for two points that raise questions (see bold below).
List from S-K schools:
• Maintain appropriate personal space.
• Talk to students about their learning and growth in conversations that focus on students.
• Keep student relationships centered on academics, school events and activities.
• Maintain clear gender boundaries when involved in extracurricular activities.
• Pats on the back, shoulder or arm are fine when appropriate.
• Use Internet, e-mail and electronic communications only for educational purposes or school-sponsored events.
• Invade personal space or engage in close physical contact.
• Make comments that are personal or physical, such as flirting or causing embarrassment.
• Spend time in or out of school alone with students beyond educational conferences.
• Cover for or provide excuses for favored students, such as writing passes to cover tardiness or absence.
• Use Internet, e-mail, texting or social networking sites to discuss personal issues with students.
“Keep students relationships centered on academic school events and activities” — that seems to discriminate against a teacher talking about their ethnic, religious or common heritage in class. If it is not a school subject is it illegal?
“Don’t spend time alone” — This one will really help stop a lot of abuse, but does this hinder teachers spending extra time to help a student who is having problems in a unrelated school issue. Maybe the teacher is a expert chess palyer and is teaching the student some moves to play against his friends?
Maybe I am exaggerating these issues, maybe not. Please give me your feedback.