Slayton’s bizarre tale shows teachers at risk

At yesterday’s Escambia County School Board workshop, board member Bill Slayton, the former principal of Woodham High School, gave a weird example of an incident that he didn’t think required reporting to law enforcement.

Fellow board member Linda Moultrie asked Julie Collins, the SESIR (School Environmental Safety Incident Report) expert from the Office of Safe Schools, about what qualifies as a consultation with law enforcement. In 2010-11, the school districts have the option of coding SESIR incidents on their campuses as having had a consultation with law enforcement.

Slayton stepped in and gave the example of a student hitting or bumping a teacher in anger, but did so “inadvertently.” He told Moultrie that the principal, teacher, parents and school resource officer could meet and decide that it wasn’t a SESIR incident.

Battery on a teacher or any or employee of a school district is a third degree felony, under Florida Law. No one said it at the workshop, but Collins switched the topic quickly. And I think Slayton realized that he had slipped up.

Before you think I’m stretching this tale too far and that no principal would do such a thing, I received an email today from a reliable, credible source that described how one teacher was assaulted by a student and the principal of that school had him apologize to the student. Another teacher was falsely accused of sexual assault by a vindictive student. He had to retain a lawyer at his expense, only to end up with the student admitting she lied.

“Teachers are scared of losing their jobs at the hands of vindictive students, parents who don’t want ‘little Johnny or Susie’ to be wrong, or getting harassed by the administration,” wrote the spouse of an Escambia County public school teacher. “They just get by day to day, hoping some kid won’t scream at them or assault them.”