Two Male Teachers (Ontario)
I am in a school from kindergarten to grade 12. We are in a small town. I was in grade 6 when I noticed that our science and social studies teachers, both males, stand in the hallway outside their classroom doors and laugh as they look down female student’s shirts. A lot of the girls wear low cut tops and show way too much I think it’s dumb, but I guess these two teachers are ok with it. I see these girls just laughing at the teachers. They just roll it off like it’s a joke. It’s so disgusting. What perverts these two men are. We are just kids. I know this is wrong but is this bullying? I think about reporting them but I get scared. How do I prove this? It would be 2 teachers against me, or even a group of us, and we are already labelled as “silly teenage girls”. I have not told my parents because it is gross and they are having problems. So what do we do?
Dear Students in Small Town
Thank you for writing to us and sharing this example of what you and your peers are experiencing. I am glad you have reached out for clarification and guidance for this is a serious matter. I do understand your reluctance to report this for fear of not being believed, or bullied. I also understand this would be difficult to talk to your parents about. First I want to advise that these two teachers are not demonstrating bullying behaviors. What you describe in your letter is actually unprofessional, unethical, and inappropriate behaviors of potentially sexual harassment and/or misconduct. All of the above places students like yourself in very uncomfortable and difficult situations. This is extremely unfair to all of you. My recommendation to you is to trust your parents. Though they are having some problems, they will want their child to share this with them. Have them read this column and discuss it with you? If this is not possible then please share this with another adult in your life i.e.: school counsellor, aunt or uncle, or even your best friend’s parents. An adult will need to assist you with this. An adult will need to report this to your principal and have your name protected. An adult who is trained and experienced with these matters will need to investigate this immediately. Once you report this, it is up to adults to address this. You will still need support and reassurance from time to time so be sure to let those who love you know that. But you will need to trust that your loved ones will manage this and ensure that all of you and your peers are safe. It will be out of your hands but you can be proud to be the person who began this process. Please let us know how this turns out for you.