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Sunshine40

Bullied by Seminary teacher

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So, last week my son was shoved up against the wall by his seminary teacher.

I will give further info. In our ward we have two seminary teachers. They trade off each week. One loves my son and gets along with him great, knows how to handle comments that he may not necessarily agree with, and recognizes the thinking behind my son's comments.

The other teacher does not. It would be one thing if he did not "love" my son, but he very much dislikes my son and his commentary in class. FOR INSTANCE. A few weeks ago they got into a discussion in class about the star which appeared in the sky at the time of Jesus' birth. My son was commenting on the scientific probablilities that made that possible. ( not IM possible, mind you, but POSSIBLE) and the teacher just argued and argued and argued with him. My son was saying that the star had to be visible by day on the eastern side of the planet. My son cited the song "the first Noel" and the line " and to the earth it gave great light and so it continued by day and night"..and the teacher said it didn't happen..and that the greeks had no record of it (although upon further research we found that the chinese DO have a record of it) and so the teacher argued with my son, and just basically said he was wrong. And was rude about it. NEVERTHELESS, my son can handle that. He does not like it, but he handles it fine.

But last week that same teacher called him out of class (before seminary started..this is at 6 am by the way) to tell him (and him alone) to settle down, and that he could come back into class when he was ready to "calm down"...well my son felt he was TOTALLY ready to calm down and proceeded to go back into the room when the teacher said "no you don't" and shoved him back through the door and up against the wall.

The teacher realized that he "over reacted" and apologized to the class for "overreacting"..but later that same week, after my son left early to get to school for an NHS leadership meeting, my daughter reported how that teacher bad mouthed my son to the rest of the class. ( So, SHE yelled at the teacher (a "how dare you" sort of thing),...and she's the quiet one).

I would have gone to the bishop but he has been out of town dealing with his wife's cancer. When i do not think about it, I am fine, and this week they have the other teacher. when I think about ti. I am livid and want to rip that teacher's head off, and have him arrested, BUT I like his wife (who has also probably been shoved up against the wall a time or two).

that's enough of my ranting...

Any advice???

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So, last week my son was shoved up against the wall by his seminary teacher.

I will give further info. In our ward we have two seminary teachers. They trade off each week. One loves my son and gets along with him great, knows how to handle comments that he may not necessarily agree with, and recognizes the thinking behind my son's comments.

The other teacher does not. It would be one thing if he did not "love" my son, but he very much dislikes my son and his commentary in class. FOR INSTANCE. A few weeks ago they got into a discussion in class about the star which appeared in the sky at the time of Jesus' birth. My son was commenting on the scientific probablilities that made that possible. ( not IM possible, mind you, but POSSIBLE) and the teacher just argued and argued and argued with him. My son was saying that the star had to be visible by day on the eastern side of the planet. My son cited the song "the first Noel" and the line " and to the earth it gave great light and so it continued by day and night"..and the teacher said it didn't happen..and that the greeks had no record of it (although upon further research we found that the chinese DO have a record of it) and so the teacher argued with my son, and just basically said he was wrong. And was rude about it. NEVERTHELESS, my son can handle that. He does not like it, but he handles it fine.

But last week that same teacher called him out of class (before seminary started..this is at 6 am by the way) to tell him (and him alone) to settle down, and that he could come back into class when he was ready to "calm down"...well my son felt he was TOTALLY ready to calm down and proceeded to go back into the room when the teacher said "no you don't" and shoved him back through the door and up against the wall.

The teacher realized that he "over reacted" and apologized to the class for "overreacting"..but later that same week, after my son left early to get to school for an NHS leadership meeting, my daughter reported how that teacher bad mouthed my son to the rest of the class. ( So, SHE yelled at the teacher (a "how dare you" sort of thing),...and she's the quiet one).

I would have gone to the bishop but he has been out of town dealing with his wife's cancer. When i do not think about it, I am fine, and this week they have the other teacher. when I think about ti. I am livid and want to rip that teacher's head off, and have him arrested, BUT I like his wife (who has also probably been shoved up against the wall a time or two).

that's enough of my ranting...

Any advice???

Go to the bishopric. There are 3 people in that list plus the secretary. A seminary teacher getting abusive - both verbally and physically - needs to be addressed immediately. This is not the time to consider feelings of people who are irrelevant to the problem - like the seminary teacher's wife. She is not relevant. The bishop dealing with his wife's cancer, let him figure out how to balance the two. This is something he, or his counsellors, need to address. If he can't handle his bishop responsibilities in light of his wife's illness, he'll ask to be released.

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I take it then that the individual in question is a member of your ward? I ask because I've seen seminary teacher as a Stake calling. If he's not in your ward your Bishop will be contacting another Bishop not dealing with it directly. So if you're in Ward B and the teacher is in Ward A contact the Bishopric of Ward A.

Edited by Dravin

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I am livid and want to rip that teacher's head off, and have him arrested, BUT I like his wife (who has also probably been shoved up against the wall a time or two).

that's enough of my ranting...

Any advice???

Having just completed 6 days of jury duty service, here's my POV:

You cannot be thinking about the consequences of serving justice if you want justice to be served.

You either want him arrested, or you don't.

You either want him to get a message about improper conduct, or you don't.

It's not your fault that he married someone that you happen to like.

It's not your fault if he may be abusing his wife, or not.

If you want to press charges, you press charges. You cannot become sympathetic to others in his life for his actions if you're going to do this.

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This is so wildly outside the bounds of appropriate that I don't know where to start. It really makes me mad. I'm also sad for your son. I was bullied by kids when I was younger. I remember one specific time in fifth grade, when I was being actively bullied in the classroom, my teacher knew about it -- she was right there, and she refused to intervene. I've never forgotten that moment or how abandoned I felt then.

Seminary teacher is a stake calling. In my stake, the bishop recommends a teacher from his ward, he/she is called by the stake, and teaches within his/her ward. If the bishop isn't available, I'd go straight to the stake president. Call today. Seriously.

Edited by Wingnut
typo

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Talk to the bishop.

Unless your son is in physical danger, DO NOT get the police involved. This is not a police matter. If you do, you will be very, very sorry you did. Personal spats between friends and acquaintances are not a matter for the police.

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A seminary teacher getting abusive - both verbally and physically - needs to be addressed immediately. This is not the time to consider feelings of people who are irrelevant to the problem - like the seminary teacher's wife.

THIS. Call right now. In my stake, being a Seminary teacher is a Stake calling, so I would call the Stake Pres, or if I couldn't get ahold of him, one of his counselors. Or as Anatess, said call one of the Bishopric counselors.

As to the Seminary teacher's wife...he could be abusing her in a much more serious way.

With any suspicions of abuse, you have to realize that what you see could only be the tip of the glacier. What you have experienced is not just suspicion, what he did to your son IS abusive. I have worked with teenagers with serious emotional issues they can be very frustrating, but we never put them up against a wall, there is no excuse for that.

The tip of the glacier idea is something I hope we have learned from Sandusky. Over the years, people saw what they thought were "little things". And yet, now that much of the sorid story has been in the news, we can see the problem is much bigger than anyone thought. Did you know the average "coach molestor" molests HUNDREDS of kids?

You have to consider the POSSIBILITY that this is NOT an isolated incident. You need to act now.

IF I am completely wrong, and this is the first time he has ever done anything physical, then intervention now could still help prevent his behavior from escalating. So acting now is still crucial.

You also need to show your son that you will be a mama bear and protect him. I know he's a teenager, but he still needs to know that his parents will fight for him if needed.

Please call someone today.

Leslie

P.S...whether or not to press charges, IMO is something you could counsel with your Bishop or Stake President about.

Edited by LiterateParakeet

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In our area we have a church educational system (CES) coordinator. It is not a calling like bishop or seminary teacher. It is a full time position, in charge of all the training of seminary and institute teachers for a particular area. That is who I would call in a situation like this.

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Seminary is a stake calling now. Talk with your stake president, or one of the bishop's counselors if the bishop is not available. Also tell this teacher that he is already guilty of an assault and battery, and if he does not reform, he could find himself with a criminal or civil law suit.

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I'm sorry, but this story sounded very one-sided. IF he truly was abusive, then yes it is a serious matter and you should definitely go to his boss to report it. But if he just happens to be a teacher that nobody likes very much and the stories you're getting are exaggerated, then please don't do anything to destroy his life.

Everyone here seems to be over-reacting when they don't know the other side of the story. That seems to happen too often- everyone being really quick to pass judgement. I can imagine a scenario where a young man is told to wait outside the classroom, but the young man ignores the instruction from his teacher and tries to go in anyway (a bit disrespectful), so the teacher turns back around and places his hand on the student's shoulder, gently leads him back away, and asks him again to wait outside. It's possible something like that could have happened and the student decided to exaggerate the details because he didn't particularly like the teacher.

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...The teacher realized that he "over reacted" and apologized to the class for "overreacting"...

...so the teacher turns back around and places his hand on the student's shoulder, gently leads him back away, and asks him again to wait outside. It's possible something like that could have happened and the student decided to exaggerate the details because he didn't particularly like the teacher.

Yes, there are always two sides to every story but why would the story be told with the teacher apologizing if there was no need to apologize?

M.

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It might just be because he saw how the student and the sister reacted, so he wanted to try to smooth things over with them. I don't really know- that's all I'm saying- I'm not ready to start accusing him of abusing his wife or being a molester because of this.

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Yes, there are always two sides to every story but why would the story be told with the teacher apologizing if there was no need to apologize?

Perhaps he subscribes to the school of thought that others here have propounded, that it's better to apologize even if you haven't done anything wrong.

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But last week that same teacher called him out of class (before seminary started..this is at 6 am by the way) to tell him (and him alone) to settle down, and that he could come back into class when he was ready to "calm down"...well my son felt he was TOTALLY ready to calm down and proceeded to go back into the room when the teacher said "no you don't" and shoved him back through the door and up against the wall.

My wife is a teacher, and I was one before I became a chaplain...so I am very sensitive to classroom management issues and always cringe when there are stories of abuse. There is a lot in the OP that seems to make the case that this semiinary teacher is indeed abusive. You even imply that he is abusing his wife. All this may be...how are we to know in the sanitized environment of cyberspace? However, I'd like to parse this particular episode.

1. The teacher is preparing to start class and tells the boy to settle down. Why? Was he yelling? Was he laughing loudly? The OP insinuates that the class was unruly as a whole and that the son was singled out for unfair chastizing? Could it simply be that the boy was the loudest and most obvious in his behavior?

2. The boy is told to stay outside until he can calm down. OP says he felt calm enough and immediately set to return to the classroom!

Did we catch this? Obviously the teacher felt the boy needed a bit of time to quiet down. The OP seems to find the boy's response totally appropriate--and perhaps a humorous response. Might the teacher not have interpreted the son's action as rebellious and a challenge to his authority?

The teacher realized that he "over reacted" and apologized to the class for "overreacting"..but later that same week, after my son left early to get to school for an NHS leadership meeting, my daughter reported how that teacher bad mouthed my son to the rest of the class. ( So, SHE yelled at the teacher (a "how dare you" sort of thing),...and she's the quiet one).

Feeling disrespected and undermined by the teen, the teacher may have overreacted. Why the "quotes?" Is this an effort to imply that the action was indeed physically abusive? If so, report it! No more discussion. Otherwise...Could it be that the teacher realized he'd raised his voice and turned a small confrontration into something truly disruptive to the class? "over reacted" could mean anything from expressing unnecessary exasperation to a truly unwarranted and aggressive shove into the wall. None of us know.

I'm not so much saying the OP is wrong, or that her son was not mistreated. Neither am I denying that the teacher might be a spouse abuser and someone who is volatile and should not teach children. I just do not know that we have enough context to make that call here.

God grant this mother wisdom to protect her son and discern how to respond to the current troubles. In Jesus' name, amen.

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Prisonchaplain said

I just do not know that we have enough context to make that call here.

I agree, but. . . as Backroads said:

I still think bringing up the situation with someone in charge would give the teacher a chance to explain his side of the story.

Yes, let the Bishop be the neutral party and hear the teacher's side of the story. This is why I said to counsel with the Bishop regarding filing charges, because he knows all the people involved, he could hear both sides of the story etc.

So call the Bishop.

Edited by LiterateParakeet

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Apparantly I need a little more clarification. Yes, my son is loud and laughs a lot. I completely understand the teacher's request to settle down. I understand how my son's comment after this request was disrespectful. (in a feminine voice "no, you settle down"..in a joke tone..I have out of the mouth of two or three (ot twelve) winesses here.) I understand the teacher asking him to step outside to speak with him privately...Background on what i know about my son that the teacher does not give a chance to learn...I have used the technique of "you can come out of time out when you are ready to ...fill in the blank for whatever was appropriate" since he was very young, and he follows correction easily...he is my obedient one (this teacher would have killed my oldest)..and he WILL and does "sit down and shut up" when reproved in this manner.

Do not mistake me. There was no gentle guiding or putting a hand up or arm out to imply '"stop there" that my son could run into. ..What the teacher physically did was use his WHOLE body to pin my son to the wall. ...Not hands and arms..BODY. My son said, "you're pushing me now?" and then the teacher's force was more aggressive...until the scuffle brought a marine recuit out of the classroom to pull the teacher off.

The teacher went back into the class and my son and the other senior walked around the parking lot for several minutes.

After he returned the teacher apoligized. His apology was to the whole class. I never said he was a child molester. He is not. I never said he beat his wife. He does not.(at least I am pretty sure he does not) I do know , however that he has been extremely emotionally abusive to his wife from the mouth of his wife. And I would never have him arrested or sued over a minor thing. That was just momma bear coming out and venting...And I had to cool off my husband, (law enforcement guy) who went and sat in the class the next day.

I prettty much said that I am upset over this and do not know what to do. Part of me feels "least said, soonest mended...but if it ever happens again, no more mister nice guy."

But my "one side" has the eyes and ears of my son, my daughter and at least 12 other youth in our ward.

I will NEVER question all the witness' stories and think they are all out to get the teacher or something.

If it happened to your son, what would you do?

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I prettty much said that I am upset over this and do not know what to do. Part of me feels "least said, soonest mended...but if it ever happens again, no more mister nice guy."

It sounds like the pushing was maybe an isolated thing, not a habit. The singling-out and mocking of your son, and other verbally abusive behaviors, seem to be an ongoing pattern. I would still speak with your bishop about it.

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What the teacher physically did was use his WHOLE body to pin my son to the wall. ...Not hands and arms..BODY. My son said, "you're pushing me now?" and then the teacher's force was more aggressive...until the scuffle brought a marine recuit out of the classroom to pull the teacher off.

The teacher went back into the class and my son and the other senior walked around the parking lot for several minutes.

If it happened to your son, what would you do?

If a public school teacher did this he would likely be put under investigation. With all the people involved, I would be astounded if your bishop had not heard about it by now. In any case, if it happened to my son, I'd inform the bishop and the stake, and anyone else with a say. In today's world, this kind of behavior cannot be tolerated. Ironically, your son may be strong and handle this fine. An issue for the ward may be that if this teacher does something like this to a newer member's child, who may not be quite so vested in the Church, there could be reasonable cause for litigation. After all, there are a dozen witnesses to this guy's volatility, and the leadership chose to keep him in place.

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After he returned the teacher apoligized. His apology was to the whole class. I never said he was a child molester. He is not. I never said he beat his wife. He does not.(at least I am pretty sure he does not) I do know , however that he has been extremely emotionally abusive to his wife from the mouth of his wife.

No, you didn't say he was possibly hitting his wife also, I did. And I stand by it. Generally speaking, if a man abuses a teenager in class, that shows anger issues that are even more likely to show up at home. Your comment about him being verbally abusive to his wife makes me feel even more concerned for her safety.

At any rate, it was not my intent to falsely accuse him, rather I was saying, "Don't worry about hurting his wife by reporting this because there is a possibility he is also harming her...if that is the case, then you are actually helping her also by bringing light to the situation."

I prettty much said that I am upset over this and do not know what to do. Part of me feels "least said, soonest mended...but if it ever happens again, no more mister nice guy."

What if next time is worse? You really need to report it and then let the authorities hear his side of the story and take appropriate action.

If it happened to your son, what would you do?

I would have called someone the same day, and I would not have my son return to that class. The real question though is what are YOU going to do? I sincerely hope you will call someone TODAY.

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...And I had to cool off my husband, (law enforcement guy) who went and sat in the class the next day.

I think your husband made a good choice.

I prettty much said that I am upset over this and do not know what to do. Part of me feels "least said, soonest mended...but if it ever happens again, no more mister nice guy."...

...If it happened to your son, what would you do?

I think a lot of posters have already said to talk with your bishop or SP. At least that way you may find out if the Bishop has already heard about it.

M.

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Seminary is a Stake calling. At least it was when I taught. Depending on where you live there is usually a person called to be Principal over Stake Seminary. There is also a member of High Council over Seminary. Someone may have covered this. I didn't have time to read all posts.

Ben Raines

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Do not mistake me. There was no gentle guiding or putting a hand up or arm out to imply '"stop there" that my son could run into. ..What the teacher physically did was use his WHOLE body to pin my son to the wall. ...Not hands and arms..BODY. My son said, "you're pushing me now?" and then the teacher's force was more aggressive...until the scuffle brought a marine recuit out of the classroom to pull the teacher off.

If it happened to your son, what would you do?

This would be a no-brainer. I would definitely call the police! If he feels like he can abuse your son and there be no repercussions from it, then what makes you think that he might not do this to another student? As in the case of most abusers, this is more than likely not his first time. I would definitely make him the example on this and send a very clear message that "in no way shape or form does he dare lay a hand on ANY child in this manner". Nip it in the bud now while you still can. The fact that you know the guys wife shouldn't mean diddley, jack squat if somebody is abusing your kid. No way! What if this teacher has kids of his own someday? This could possibly prevent further abuse (of his kids) down the road. Who knows, maybe if you call the police, the wife just might give you a silent 'thank you' for that. Good luck.

Edited by Carl62

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