Oh no, Mr. Bill!

16 04 2010

This post is not going to be funny. I’m pretty sure you won’t cry, though. Unless you’re weird. Or pregnant, in which case you probably cry about everything.

In high school, I was in choir. And some other stuff, but try to focus here. I’m talking about choir. Not just any choir, either. I was in the top choir–Show and Chamber. (Are they a show choir? Are they a chamber choir? Aha! They’re both!) The choir director (we’ll call him Mr. Bill) was one of the most beloved teachers at the school.

One day, a friend and I were in the choir room talking to Mr. Bill. I don’t remember how this came about, but at some point Mr. Bill said, “Come sit in my lap.” Er…excuse me? I said, “Um, no, that’s okay.” So Mr. Bill grabbed my hand and pulled me into his lap.

So what’s  17-year-old girl to do? Well, I told my guidance counselor. And a few friends. Pretty soon just about everybody knew I’d accused Mr. Bill of inappropriate behavior. Fortunately, everybody was supportive and understanding, and Mr. Bill was severely reprimanded.


Yeah, I’m totally messing with you. Despite the fact that (as I learned during this process) Mr. Bill had several similar complaints, no action was taken. I’m guessing he got a letter in his employment file. I’m sure that was terribly painful for him.

As for public opinion…here’s a sampling:
“I can’t believe you would do that. He’s like a grandfather.” Considering I didn’t even sit on my grandfather’s lap…no.
“You just have a dirty mind.”
“You don’t understand how he thinks.”
“Why would you say that about such a wonderful person?”

Yeah. So I got to be even more of a social pariah than usual until people figured out nothing was going to change and wonderful, sensitive Mr. Bill wasn’t going anywhere.

Do I sound bitter about this? Well, good. I am. I’m angry that a teacher put me in that situation. I’m angry that I was criticized for reporting a completely unacceptable action.

Some who read this blog went to high school with me. They loved Mr. Bill, and that’s okay. But now that we’re 15 years past high school, I’d like those people to look at this from a parents’ perspective. What if it was your daughter? Would you care how grandfatherly and kind the teacher was? Would that make a difference in your judgement? And does the intent of the action really matter if the end result is a teenage girl who feels coerced and uncomfortable?

I know my answer.

*Booyah! No writing errors were found! WordPress has acknowledged my grammatical superiority!

**Crap. Booyah isn’t in the WordPress dictionary.