These days I find myself often reading the news and saying out loud: “what’s wrong with those people?! Is it something in the water?” I refer to my distant colleagues, fellow teachers. Are the weekly revelations of bizarre and criminal behavior by teachers around the nation indicative of something new, or does the prevalence of the Internet simply make it easier to find what has always been going on? Here are a few examples of what I’m speaking about. Keep in mind, of course, I’m relying on media accounts, and everyone is always innocent until found guilty. The first, which occurred not far from me, from Fox News:
A Carrollton, Texas, high school teacher was arrested for allegedly recording students undressing.
I don’t think Fox intended this, but this teaser appeared in the article right after the first sentence:
THE WEEK IN PICTURES
I suspect, considering the topic, that might have increased readership, at least temporarily.
George Edwin Thomas III was arrested Thursday morning and charged with six counts of invasive visual recording, a state jail felony.
Carrollton police say the R.L. Turner High School teacher used hidden cameras to record female students who were changing into their uniforms without them knowing during the 2015-2016 school year.
According to an arrest affidavit, Thomas’ girlfriend had long suspected him of cheating on her. So when she and a friend found a random thumb drive on the floor of the apartment the couple shared, the friends grew curious and watched it to find disturbing images.
According to a warrant, the thumb drive ‘contained multiple video recordings of teenage girls disrobing in a closet.’ The report also states the thumb drive had ‘recordings that appeared to be at a teacher’s desk with female students being called to the desk.
Oh dear. Hell hath no fury…
Police say the camera was positioned in order to record under clothing.
When voluntarily questioned by Carrollton police detectives, the report says that Thomas ‘admitted that he recorded videos on his phone in class: but the recordings were of activities for the students to watch and learn.
Of course. It’s curriculum. Things “to watch and learn.” I’m that sort of thing would have been popular with the boys, though probably not so much for the girls involved and their parents. Modern teachers have to understand students might be filming them at any moment. Apparently it goes both ways.
This one is not something one sees all the time from teachers. Also from Fox News:
Georgia deputies raided a middle school teacher’s home and seized guns and $6 million in cocaine and heroin.
That would certainly tend to nicely augment a teaching salary. I don’t suppose Alvarez was planning on working summer school this year.
Fox 5 Atlanta reported Friday that [Karla] Alvarez is a teacher at Chestatee Middle School Academy in Gainesville. She also coaches the girls soccer team. She teaches Spanish, according to the school’s website.
‘I’ve worked drugs and gangs for a long time and it was one of the larger cocaine seizures I’ve ever seen,’ Hall County Sheriff’s Lt. Scott Ware said, according to the station.
Investigators executed a search warrant and found 61 kilos of cocaine, a kilo of heroin, guns and cash in the home, which Alvarez shared with Monica Pascual Brito and her brother.
Brito, 24, was arrested along with Alvarez. Ricardo Pascual Brito, 28, was being sought. [skip]
The Hall County School District is conducting an investigation as a result of the arrest.
Well, one would hope so. Here’s another one not far from me, also from Fox:
A Dallas teacher was arrested after he reportedly threatened to kill the staff if he didn’t get a raise, police said.
Omar Alanis, 29, was a world history teacher at Seagoville High School and reportedly used his school email account to message the principal and other administrators that they should pay him and another teacher the ‘Master Teacher Salary’ and back-pay them from August of last year, Fox 4 News reported.
He told them that they should make sure they were paid unless they ‘don’t want to burn alive.
Hmmm. Is Alanis really a “master teacher?” Just how long has he been working there anyway?
Police documents show Alanis has been employed with the school district since August.
Police said Alanis sent a second email adding that those who don’t comply with his demands would be “put down immediately by Dallas PD. He attached an image of officers with weapons.
According to Fox 4 News, Alanis went missing for a week after the threats came to light, but returned a week later. He spoke to police on Saturday and admitted several times to sending the threatening emails.
Alanis told police that he was standing up to the administration to bring change in regards to pay.
I’m sure Alanis got “change regarding to pay.”
Alanis was charged with making terroristic threats and has been put on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. He was released from jail after posting a $1,500 bond, Fox 4 News reported.
His family said he is receiving mental help and that he wasn’t in his right mind when he sent those emails.
‘You know, there’s a back story to that,’ Arlene Alanis told Fox 4 News. ‘As far as we’re concerned, he’s not mentally stable at this point. He had some sort of mental breakdown.
One would hope so. If not, Alanis really got the wrong message from Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People.
Sadly, this sort of thing is not at all unusual. There is little doubt teachers have targets on their backs. I’ve seen careers ended for far less, and for non-criminal complaints. But there are more than enough criminal complaints these days. Teachers should be aware–I can’t imagine they aren’t–of the potential dangers.
I’ve been somewhat amazed to find so many female teachers around the nation getting into trouble by having sex with their students, male and female.
I’m curious, gentle readers, what do you think is up? Are we just hearing more about such things these days? Has our overall culture changed in destructive ways? Are principals, who do the hiring, at fault, or are these people who initially look good, and loon out later? I’m anxious to see what you think.