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Ask Amy: Teacher’s conduct pushes creep meter to 11

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I am a woman in my 30s. Recently I received a Facebook message from my eighth-grade teacher, “Mr. K,” wanting to say hello and reconnect.

He even mentioned meeting up to give me one of my papers that he still has. When I was in his class, I really liked him — he was fun, smart and made school interesting. All the kids liked him.

As an adult, however, I look back on that year and feel unsettled and squeamish; Mr. K would often comment on my looks and how he liked my hair styled best. He would drop by my house unannounced to bring me books, and once on a school-related outing, he drove me and a few other students to his home (he lived alone) to give us a tour of the house.

Nothing completely inappropriate occurred, but looking back I see that none of it was entirely appropriate, either.

My question is: Do I just ignore this message? Do I respond and let him know that in hindsight he comes across like a bit of a creep?

Am I overreacting? He is no longer teaching, but apparently he volunteers at schools (when they are open).

 

— Conflicted in OR

Dear Conflicted: You say that nothing “completely inappropriate” occurred back when you were in eighth grade, but everything you report about this teacher’s conduct is completely inappropriate.

I think many of us can look back and realize in hindsight that an adult in our life pushed the creep meter to 11, and often it was an adult who was nice, friendly and popular with kids.

But people who really love and understand children respect their emotional and physical vulnerability — and behave accordingly.

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