‘I’ve got four years’ good conduct, I have-‘
‘No, that was four years’ Not Found Out,’ said Vimes.
– Terry Pratchett, Night Watch
An unnamed teacher at an unnamed Catholic high school has been disciplined after calling one of her students a “slut” and – in a move which really doesn’t seem to be outraging people as much as it should – scornfully referring to that student having an abortion.
As Coley put it,
It’s interesting that a lot of the commentary about the teacher who called her student a slut hasn’t mentioned that the teacher was holding /
A class on abortion being evil knowing at least one of her students had terminated a pregnancy. And made her stand on a chair 4 not behaving
The teacher has not been barred from teaching again, because apparently we excuse gross breaches of people’s privacy if they’re tired and emotional and have:
a previously unblemished record.
The above quote from Pratchett’s excellent novel Night Watch sprang to mind, for obvious reasons.
Let me illuminate the point with some personal anecdata. At my Catholic high school – and if I ever find out this is the same one I’m going to have some fucking unladylike words to say – some girls were told in an RE class that if they didn’t believe in God they would go to hell. And when they told another teacher that – several of them with the exact same story, mind – they were told “no, [X] wouldn’t have said that.” Never mind that several girls from the same class were all saying they’d been told the same thing, it was simply hand-waved away on the basis that it couldn’t possibly have happened.
It probably helps that no one left the class in tears, or – and I have to guess here because the story has very few details – has parents who won’t accept that kind of shit, or an ally on the staff.
The opening paragraph of the Herald article says the teacher “[referred] to her having an abortion in front of classmates”. Think about that framing. It’s as though the problem is she let some little secret slip, or that it was only problematic because other people were there. And let’s compare that with what the teacher actually said:
The teacher said words similar to “stop acting like a S-L-U-T” …The teacher then referred to the girl being pregnant and said words to the effect of “if you think having an abortion makes you an adult then it doesn’t”
And let’s remember that this is a Year 10 class, and let’s think the fact that the pupils in that class are 14-to-15-years old, and let’s consider how vicious and unethical a person you have to be to:
- Know a pupil in your charge who is under the age of consent has had an abortion
- Force her to sit through a lesson about “Pope John Paul II’s stance on abortion” (spoiler: used the phrase “culture of death” a lot) – or not even have enough empathy to think about how it would affect her
- When she (strangely enough) gets disruptive, punish her and – because you really want to demean her – not only call her a slut but spell it out like she’s a toddler having a B-A-T-H
- Throw the fact she’s had an abortion back in her face – right after a class which has happily laid the ground for everyone to feel moral and righteous about judging and persecuting people who have abortions
I feel quite comfortable stating that this person shouldn’t be allowed near young women, much less in charge of them.
But all she gets is a slap on the wrist and a ruling to “inform” any future employers about what she did. Like that’s going to hurt her employment chances.
Remember, it’s the antichoicers who are the compassionate, moral ones, and us nasty feminists who actually hate women.
[TW for bullying and abuse apologism by authority figures]
Ian McKinnon, principal of Pukekohe High School, has a bit of an integrity problem.*
See, several of his students attacked another of his students, possibly in a sexual manner.
And Ian McKinnon seems to think that there’s a magical line between assault-which-is-just-boys-being-boys and assault-which-is-actually-something-he-actually-has-to-give-a-fuck-about.
“The incident involved a male student who was held by others and who was then assaulted.
“Whilst what took place may well have started out as a joke among a group who knew each other, its outcome was far from that. It was very upsetting for the victim and for a number of students in the area, many of them friends of the victim.”**
Here’s your problem, Ian: you think just ganging up on a guy and pinning him to the ground for the purpose of giving him shit for transferring schools is just a joke amongst a group who knew each other***.
Presumably once possible sexual assault with a weapon is involved, it’s “gone too far”.
And here’s the thing: Ian McKinnon thinks he’s showing no tolerance for this shit. I mean, the boys involved have been excluded, parents have been informed, what else has a guy got to do?
“Nobody condones this sort of behaviour or any type of physical assaults and it’s hugely upsetting when people have to witness it, and they were upset about it.
“Kids just don’t know when to stop with some of their behaviours.”
Oh, that’s right. We could take one fucking minute to wonder why some kids “just don’t know when to stop”. Or, hang on, we could look at the fact that their principal is explicitly saying that the beginning of this assault was just a joke, that the problem was that things like cornering another kid behind the gym and pinning him to the ground went too far.
And then we could pinpoint pretty clearly that the problem is that Ian McKinnon, right there, shows he condone bullying and violence against other students. Until the police get involved, and then it’s totes bad, mmkay.
*The Granny Herald also has an integrity problem for giving that article a headline analogous to “Bluebeard’s wife killed for being a nosy bitch”
**Bonus dickpoints for focusing on how upsetting it is for the witnesses, not the victim, Ian.
***Of course they fucking know each other, Ian, they go to school together.
The “reflective statement” required of an unnamed male teacher who was lightly slapped on the wrist with a wet bus ticket for saying things to Year 11 students such as “Bend over and I’ll take a photo of your tits” has been acquired by Ideologically Impure staff. We reproduce it in full here.
Reflective Statement of A Fucking Tool
Over the past few weeks I have learnt many things in a mandated behaviour management course.
I have learnt that just like my former students I too can pass a course by showing minimal interest in its contents, not visibly falling asleep or texting my mates, and memorising the model answers from last year’s class.
I realise I have made many mistakes. The comments I made to students were inappropriate and in any just society would have seen me cast out from the teaching profession because I am clearly a lecherous fucking douchebag.
However, I have been given a second chance and I am grateful for that.
In future, I will change my ways. I will only sexually harass students who are really vulnerable, or whose word and dignity will be completely discounted because they’re ratbags. I will be more menacing in my approach and ensure my victims are too scared of the consequences to rat me out.
My blunt approach, in asking a student if she was a virgin, was absolutely wrong. From this day hence my come-ons and harassment will be more subtle, quieter, vaguer, relying on societal indoctrination to make my victims question if I actually said what they thought I said, or believe that it must be a misunderstanding and they’ll just get into trouble if they make a fuss.
I believe I have changed. I am no longer a man who will be caught sexually harassing fifteen-year-old girls over whom I have authority. I promise to make amends to the teaching profession by encouraging an atmosphere of silence and intimidation amongst all pupils in my care. To the other teachers at my unnamed school, I can only vow that they will never have to face a pupil telling them about my actions, because none of those bitches will talk if they know what’s good for them.
Finally, I want to thank the Teachers’ Council for unleashing me upon the teenaged girls of New Zealand once more.
A Newlands College dean told a 14-year-old young woman that her short skirt made her look like a slut.
There’s a conversation going on at frogblog on the topic, with the usual suspects coming out to play – “she didn’t call the girl a slut, she just said she looked like a slut!” “I see heaps of girls dressed like hookers!” and there’s even a bonus “doing Gender Studies at university is useless because it doesn’t get you a job” bit of fail!
But let’s not get distracted by the kinds of comments that are obviously misogynist – there’s a little tidbit in the Stuff article which makes it clear this is just the bit of the iceberg that’s above water:
The school’s guidelines require girls’ skirts to touch the ground when they kneel
I would delight in the quaint Victorian-ness of it all if it weren’t so infuriating. In an article about school authority figures policing young women using gendered, sex-shaming slurs, this sentence is just dropped in as though it’s completely insignificant.
But this is where it all starts.
A commenter at frogblog tries to argue that boys face “sexist” uniform regulations too, in regards to hair length. And yes, this goes to issues about masculinity and the basic premise of high school, molding us all into nice little homogeneous GDP-generating units … but no cigar. Men’s hair is simply not routinely used as a tool to control and police their actions and lives the way sexuality, and “looking” sexual, is used against women.
But QoT, they just want everyone to look uniform and neat!
Nope. The school’s regulation on skirt length is summed up as “must touch the ground when kneeling”. So are below-knee, at-knee, above-knee, mid-calf skirts permitted? What about the girls who get larger skirts which go down to their ankles to grow into in Year 9, or the poor girl who hits 5’10 sometime in the middle of Year 12 and simply cannot find a skirt to fit from the (horribly overpriced) uniform shop that goes anywhere near her knees?
Come on, QoT, the girl must be freezing in a skirt that short!
And she can take the hem down. Or wear stockings. Or maybe she’s one of those bizarre people (like many Cantabrian classmates in my past who rocked shorts and t-shirts year-round) who just doesn’t get cold as easily.
But what if the notorious Wellington wind blows it up and people see her underwear!
Only a problem if you think young women’s underwear is an inherently immoral thing. You aren’t … slut-shaming women in short skirts, are you, invisible questioner?
No! I’m just … concerned for her privacy! What if some pervert takes an upskirt photo of her???
Then that pervert is a pervert and the fault of a pervert’s actions fall … on the pervert. And probably a society that simultaneously tells young women not to look like sluts while massively hyper-sexualising The Naughty Catholic Schoolgirl archetype and idolizing youth/”innocence”.
I just want young women to look like ladies/nicely dressed/dignified!
And as soon as “ladies”, “nice” and “dignified” are set up in opposition to “sexual” … congratulations, you’re a slut-shamer using sexuality to control women’s choices!
Look, I just don’t think young women should go around dressed like hookers!
How precisely do “hookers” dress? What is inherently wrong with dressing like women who work in the sex industry? Isn’t “dressed like hookers” just a nice, anti-sex-work shorthand for “dressed in a way which is read as sexual”? So … isn’t that just slut-shaming?
Well, um … fuck you! Dogs and raw meat analogy! You are no lady! Asking for it! Childhood time of innocence! Sex bad!
The prosecution rests.
Skirt length regulations are first and foremost about making schoolgirls look “like ladies” or “respectable”, two concepts which are rooted in hiding and denying women’s sexual agency and sexual feelings. The dean at Newlands College shouldn’t be punished; she should be praised for at least being honest about their priorities.
It’s Maori Language Week, or Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori. Please excuse my lack of macrons, I do not wish to tempt fate and/or the fragility of WordPress.
First things first: serious, serious kudos to Nickelodeon. (Warning: auto-play)
Next: As soon as I saw Kelvin Davis had posted on Red Alert, in Maori, without providing a translation, I knew whinging trolls could not be far off. Call it instinct, call it seeing the same damn thing happen every time a university magazine publishes a Maori Language Week issue:
Linked via a comment thread over on The Standard:
Private schools await $10m boost
Private schools are poised for a big funding boost from the Government.
Some private schools have said they will be forced to integrate in the state system as the recession hits rolls.
Independent Schools of New Zealand executive director Deborah James said the “crippling” capped funding regime of the former Labour government, combined with the recession, had put “real pressure” on the financial sustainability of independent schools.
… Riiiiiiiiiight. So what you’re saying, private schools, is that it’s totally unfair that the Labour government expected you to, you know, cope on your own, what with being private schools charging thousands per pupil per term?
What you’re saying is it’s really unfair how you’re susceptible to market forces when you choose to operately privately?
What’s you’re saying is that just because you’ve rejected the state-school umbrella in great economic times doesn’t mean you’re so principled as to take the bad with the good?
Give me a fucking break. And the hilarity of the line about “no, honestly, some of this will go to scholarships for kids who can’t afford private schooling” is unlikely to be surpassed any time soon. Let me guess: said kids will also be surprisingly good at rugby?
This is not the big bank bail-out of the US. The economy is not dependent on private schools and their precious rich kids. The only issue here is that some people’s kids might have to go to *shudder* public schools with the underclasses (and until they scrap zoning, those public schools are still much more likely going to be in “better” areas anyway).
Smart kids will always do well. Rich kids will always have privilege and advantage in society. Private schools, which are going to turn around and scream “WE’RE AUTONOMOUS, LEAVE US ALONE” as soon as governmental funding comes with any actual strings attached, need to grow some spine and fuck off away from public money.