Occupational Hazard of Teaching

1

This story hits too close to home.  Ron Mayfield
became an ESL teacher late in life, although he always wanted to be an
educator.  Taking
early retirement after 20
years working on the railroad, he went back to school to get a
teaching degree from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas in 1992, the
same year his son, Robert, graduated from college. This was followed
by stints teaching English in Japan and Saudi Arabia.

Finally, tired of traveling, he returned home and got a job teaching
English to non-native speakers at Woodrow Wilson Junior High School.
By all accounts he was a stable and sober man. Then, late last year hew
was accused of "assaulting" a student in a wheelchair. He said he was
merely trying to get the attention of the misbehaving and disruptive
student.

Despite his word, testimony of other students, Mayfield’s spotless record,
an apology from the students parents and a police investigation
which completely cleared the teacher, his life was turned upside down.  His
picture was shown in the newspaper and on TV, neighbors began to whisper
about him, and he got more and more depressed.

So one late October morning he drove down the Blue Ridge Parkway to
a scenic 2-lane bridge 200 feet above
the
rushing
Roanoke
River where
he often
went
fishing for catfish with his son, and had gone as a child with his father,
a
photo of which he had installed as a screen
saver
on his
computer.  He
left his car carefully parked in a scenic overview parking area, slipped
a
neatly folded not into the bible on the front seat, and walked
to the middle of the span.  He took out his cell phone and called
his wife for a muted goodbye she didn’t understand.  Then
he carefully placed the phone on the sidewalk and jumped.

False accusations against teachers are rising at an unprecedented rate.
It has gotten to the point where the Dowbrigade is so worried about inadvertent
touching that he teaches with his hands in his pockets, which makes blackboard
notation difficult and has convinced his students he is some sort of
pervert, negating the whole point of the maneuver.

 

"There is a culture now where students know how to get rid of a
teacher, they know how to get a teacher removed from a classroom," said
Greg Lawler, general counsel for the Colorado Education Association.

Mayfield was warned about the troubled boy, Abdul Nahibkhil, at the
start of the school year by a colleague who said the boy disrupted
her class the year before. Abdul’s parents, Abdul and Shina Nahibkhil,
had come to the United States from India about 27 months earlier.
The parents, who speak no English, were interviewed with their daughter
Jasmine, 20, serving as interpreter.

"When the investigators came, my parents told them that in India,
teachers hit students all the time and they didn’t care if Mr. Mayfield
hit
Abdul or not," the daughter said. "They said if he hit
him, he deserved it. But it didn’t matter. They didn’t care if he
hit him
or not. They wanted the matter dropped, and they said that they would
make Abdul go to school and apologize to Mr. Mayfield."

When [his wife] got his final phone call at 8:01 a.m., he did not
tell her that was where he had gone. In the minutes after he dropped
into
the river, his cellphone, abandoned on the sidewalk, rang again and
again without answer.

from the Boston Globe

 

1 Comment

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    February 7, 2011 @ 7:19 am

    1

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