Ask Amy: Rumor about teacher compels reporting
Dear Amy: I recently heard that a teacher from my high school slept with one of his underage students.
I know it is possibly just a rumor but based on the source (a close friend of the student), I believe it is true.
This would have happened 10 years ago, yet my gut instinct is to report this to the school. Afterall, he is still a teacher there.
Is it none of my business?
I do not know either the student or the teacher well. Based on conversations I've had, it seems as though many of my old classmates knew about this but said nothing.
Would it be wrong of me to blow up the life of a potentially innocent teacher?
And even if he is guilty, what if the victim has no wish to relive it. Shouldn't that be her choice?
Yet, I feel like it's my duty to say something.
What if he's still sleeping with students?
If I know about predatory behavior and I stay silent, aren't I part of the problem?
– Guilty Bystander
Dear Guilty: You have heard about this third-hand. You should strongly urge the person who repeated this to you (and is closer to the source of the information) to report it to the school. If she won’t, then you should. Simply tell them that this is what you heard and that you cannot verify it. They are morally and legally compelled to investigate.
Even if you assume that the student involved believed that she “consented” to this at the time, the reason this sort of relationship is a crime is because underage people cannot legally give their consent. And the reason underage people can’t give their consent is also why they can’t legally drive without a license or drink alcohol – an adolescent’s brain and emotions aren’t developed enough to make this sort of potentially life-altering choice.
Children and teens are vulnerable, and that’s why there are laws to protect them. Students are vulnerable to the power dynamic regarding the adults who are supposed to respect and protect them, and that’s why it is against the law (and school policy) for teachers and school staff to have sex with them.
And even if this former student believes that she graduated from this experience unscathed, there might be other students who were victims of this teacher who are traumatized.
So yes, people who have heard about this have a moral obligation to report it.
Dear Amy: My partner of three years has a bad habit of staying out all night without communicating, and then ignoring my texts and calls.
For example, he will come home at 1 a.m. on a workday, or at 4 a.m. after a night out with friends.
This is really distressing behavior to me and I’ve expressed that to him.
He promises he’s not cheating and says I’m trying to control him.
Is it unreasonable for me to expect a text update if he plans on staying out past his normal schedule?
Am I desperate for calling when he doesn’t come home at a reasonable hour?
Am I overreacting?
– Worrying at Home
Dear Worrying: Calling your partner is a logical consequence when he is extremely late and doesn’t respond to text messages.
I don’t see your actions as particularly “desperate,” but I do think you need to acknowledge that you are with someone who doesn’t mind the fact that his behavior distresses you so much, and then tries to gaslight you into believing that you are out of line for worrying.
He says that you are trying to control him, but his behavior indicates that he is trying to control you. He is trying to train you to leave him alone, and maybe you should!
I wonder how he would respond if he rolled in some early morning and realized that you weren’t there, fretting and upset.
I am not suggesting that you play games, but you might liberate yourself from some of these triggers if you took some time for yourself.
Dear Amy: Longtime reader, here. I don’t always agree with you, but your compassionate response to the trauma-survivor “Afraid to Rock the Boat” brought tears to my eyes.
Here’s the line that got me: “You are hard on yourself, the way survivors often are. It goes with the territory.”
How did you know that?
Dear Impressed: I know that because my own therapist said it to me, and though I am not a trauma survivor, I absorbed this important insight.
©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.