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Platform for Action for falsely Accused teacher
Previously teaching was considered a profession for women, however; today a significant number of men are practicing the profession. Also, the importance of education in Canada continues to draw public awareness and scrutiny in the education sector. Governmental bodies and the media are regularly evaluating the effectiveness of the education sector. Consequently, there is an environment of fear amongst teachers because of high surveillance and stress which has resulted in false sexual accusations by parents and the learners. The number of false accusations made against the teachers is unknown because there is no sufficient statistics or database about the problem.
Wrongful, accusations are driven by a range of motives. Currently, it is common for children who constantly violate school rules by skipping classes to make false accusations. A significant number of legal practitioners fail to rely on their expertise when settling such cases thus promoting false accusations. The tendency of social morals to advocate that claims of sexual abuse made by learners against their teachers are absolute truth has made the educators easy target to accuse (Alberta Teachers’ Association & Fraser, 1994).
Further, the legal system acknowledges that cases against the educators are at times false however negligible reforms are in place to guarantee justice for the falsely accused. Consequently, it is imperative that successful attempt to clear the name of a wrongly accused teacher must be done in a systematic process. The paper discusses the procedure to implement when representing a falsely accused teacher, activities to engage in and parties to consult for the presentation to succeed.
Action plan and the timeline to observe
The school must take care of the student victim upon learning of the accusation while awaiting the determination of whether the accusations are true or false. The action is a precaution of preventing accusations of school authority complacency with the alleged criminal event (Johnson, 2012). The school must determine whether the student requires a leave of absence or medical attention. If the school decides that the student should continue learning accommodation on expected test result must be available. When the victim is comfortable other learners will feel confident to report sexual assault in the future.
After addressing the students’ safety the school head must then commence an investigation and determine the relevant disciplinary action. It is important that the school involves the police to help with the investigation. The step also involves consideration of interim actions equivalent to preventing the accused and the student from getting in contact. The stage also, ensures that the school gathers enough evidence to validate the wrongly accused teacher (Johnson, 2012). The evidence should highlight whether there was an incident of sexual assault and if the teacher undermined the policies of the school. The inquiry should reveal if the assault was physical or mental assault.
The school head must have an elaborate communication system in place to address the allegations. Clear communication helps unravel the truth about what transpired and prove the teacher’s innocence. The principal must determine what to communicate to the student and their family and also the school staff. The school also has the responsibility of knowing if the assault should be reported to the insurer. Informing the insurer on time ensures that when a lawsuit is filled the insurer will be liable. Allegations of sexual harassment by teachers attract enormous scrutiny from the media. Facts surrounding the issues are often assumed or manipulated undermining justice for the parties involved. The school should, therefore, consider developing a proactive story to share with the media (Johnson, 2012).
List of what to do
Several organizations are interested in cases of sexual harassment and most do their own parallel investigations. Therefore, the school principal must strive to coordinate with bodies that have interest in the case during the course of the investigation to promote transparency among all parties (Barth, 2006). Often, schools appoint a spokesperson that delivers information to the media and coordinates the follow-up. Good, follow up minimizes the chances of drawing different conclusions which undermine the school’s reputation and findings. It is imperative that the teacher never discusses the allegation with any other person apart from the legal spouse. The precaution prevents having a third party testimony when the court proceedings begin. The school should communicate in good faith and avail new information to the public when it arises. Open communication gives a chance for justice to be served. Confidentiality of the school staff boosts the credibility of the investigation. The school must evaluate the situation critically to know if to inform the insurer. The insurer should learn of the situation early enough to provide advice on the best method to mitigate the crisis. Besides, it is the insurer’s responsibility to bear the liability in case the case proceeds to the court (Alberta Teachers’ Association & Fraser, 1994).
List of what to avoid doing
The school procedures should discourage obstruction of justice for both the wrongly accused and the complainant. Further, the inquiry should avoid jeopardizing the police investigation. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms suggest that the accused teacher must avoid panicking because it results in irrational activities which can compromise the case (1982). The school must decline to accept resignations of parties that would assist in the investigation, for instance, information technology staff who help retrieve electronic communications
Information to collect
Information on the party which made the allegation is important in settling the case. The age of the student is essential because if the learner is yet to be an adult then the teacher faces criminal charges (Alberta Teachers’ Association & Fraser, 1994). The size and structure of the school are also important because it evaluates the credibility of the allegations. Particularly, it is difficult for sexual assault to happen in a low populated school that has many teachers without other parties realizing. Further, the Alberto teacher Association code of conduct explains that understanding more about the school knowing will help the teachers determine if the teacher interaction with the learner was undermining the dignity of the profession (2004). Similarly, the text messages sent through electronic gadgets must be collected.
Parties to consult for support and direction
The school administration figures such as the principal would be important parties for consultation. The school principal would offer insight on the content of school handbook and policies regarding sexual assault allegation (Johnson, 2012). The knowledge would be important in determining whether the teacher violated values such as maintaining personal space when interacting with students. Also, the school administrator would explain how the teacher has in the past observed objectivity and integrity when discharging duties. Learning about the accused past would give an idea of the possibility of the teacher committing the crime.
Further, the insight of teachers association would be necessary. The union would help identify teachers’ activities that cause conflicting ideas. For instance, physical education classes involve significant interaction between the student and teacher. Occasionally the interaction violates physical space which students can perceive as sexual harassment. According to the ATA Code of Conduct, the teachers union would explain whether the activity of the teacher was in violation of regulation negotiated by the association (2004). An independent investigator eliminates the bias of those supporting the complainants and the accused teacher.
Alberta Teacher’s Association. (2004). Code of Professional Conduct. Retrieved from the Alberta Teacher’s Association website: http://www.teachers.ab.ca/About%20the%20ATA/UpholdingProfessionalStandards/ProfessionalConduct/Pages/CodeofProfessionalConduct.aspx
Alberta Teachers’ Association, & Fraser, E. C. (1994). Teachers’ Rights, Responsibilities and Legal Liabilities. Alberta Teachers’ Association.
Barth, R. S. (2006). Improving relationships within the schoolhouse. Educational Leadership, 8-13. Retrieved from http://proxy.cityu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=20034796&site=ehost-live
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s 2, Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c 11.
.Johnson, L. (2012). Guidelines for dealing with educator sexual misconduct. A report from the National Association of Independent Schools (17 pp.). Washington: NAIS.