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Teachers: What you should know if you are harassed by students

When people think about harassment or misconduct between students and teachers, it is common to imagine the student as the victim and the teacher as the harasser.

However, this is a dangerous misconception, as teachers at all levels can be mistreated by the very students they are trying to help. Unfortunately, people often overlook these situations or minimize the impact that they can have on teachers. But the fact is that harassment against teachers has the potential to derail their lives and livelihoods.

Recently, for instance, a teacher reported that she has been the victim of student harassment. She says there were more than a dozen instances when students targeted her by making profane calls, touching her and sending her inappropriate emails. One student even accused her of making sexual advances, which she vehemently denies.

School's failure to act

The teacher says she reported one incident to the school, but they did nothing to remedy the situation. As a result, she decided not to file additional claims until another teacher reported similar harassment. 

After multiple complaints, the school district made a statement saying they are looking into both the harassment and the allegations of improper action and investigation by the school.

Impact on the teacher

While it may be a relief that something is being done to address the situation, the action comes too late to adequately protect those who were hurt. In fact, the teacher stated that she will be taking a leave of absence as a result of medical conditions she developed since the harassment took place.

What this case means for Florida teachers

While this situation occurred in another state, it should be a reminder of the types of issues teachers face when it comes to harassment on the job. In similar situations, teachers often deal with the pain of harassment, the fear of losing their job and the frustration with a broken system.

However, teachers across Florida should know that they have rights in these situations, including the right to consult an attorney. These cases can be highly emotional and stressful and a legal representative can help teachers protect themselves and secure a fair, timely outcome.

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