When I saw the news the other day that KSTP had discovered that Minnesota’s Board of Teaching had failed to report teachers suspected of sexual misconduct, my first thought was, “Of course—why should the scandal stop with the failure to license excellent teachers, when there are abusive ones to protect?”
The story was followed a day or two later by the launching of tin-eared statements by elected officials from both parties, who presumably see political profit from blaming each other, umbrage from the governor — who for years has turned a blind eye to that long-running excellent teacher thing – and the issuing of a statement by the board’s new director and longtime chair.
It was the board’s letter to KSTP that tipped me over the edge. It was two full pages of, essentially, it’s not our job, only a few got through on our watch, and we didn’t think the “boundary violations” rose to the level of criminal conduct.
No remorse, no “our thoughts go out to those impacted” language, no vowing to do better. Just exactly what we’ve heard in the ongoing licensure fiasco: a deep commitment to the status quo and the dismissal of anyone who challenges it.
Here are some words that do not appear anywhere in the letter: Child, family, abuse, victim, survivor, exploit, predator, hurt, heal. The word student is mentioned, but only in relation to the real actors here, teachers: “The Board is responsible for ensuring that students in Minnesota have qualified and effective teachers.”
The license of the teacher who abused me and a bunch of other students at the St. Paul Open School, No. 126873, is valid – right now, today — for teaching secondary Spanish, social studies and history and expires 6/30/9999, according to state records.