Eva Rieder, a California high school math teacher for 15 years, told her local school district’s board of trustees this month that she has experienced years of crude sexual harassment at the hands of her students, and that her bosses have done little to nothing about it.
The serial harassment, Rieder said, has led her to take personal leave over the next academic year and reduce her teaching schedule to part-time. She also said she was moved to publicly discuss the harassment after hearing the testimony of another female math teacher at a nearby high school, who made her own stories of abuse known at a board meeting in late January.
“I, like other women in this district, have been sexually harassed, stalked, bullied, threatened and defamed by my students,” Rieder told the board. The Marin Independent Journal published a partial transcript of her testimony on Monday.
From the Journal:
“It’s time my story is told,” Rieder said during the public comment portion of the Feb. 6 Tamalpais Union High School District board of trustees’ meeting at Redwood High School in Larkspur. “It’s time I say #MeToo.” [...] Most of the actual words or details were “so graphic that they are unfit for this public audience, but I can provide them if needed,” she told the board members.
“I have been slandered by a student spreading a rumor that I made a drunken sexual advance to him at a party,” she said, reading from a prepared statement. “I have been touched more than once by a student who also argues it’s OK to describe his masturbatory habits in the classroom.”
“I received profane phone calls and emails to my work and personal addresses,” she said. “Some were identified as coming from the school IP (computer network) address during school hours.”
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Referring to the pattern of harassment as a “district-wide negligence problem,” Rieder argued that the school board should implement mandatory sensitivity training for students.
“It is not at all surprising to me that male students feel they have the power to annex the animus in our society to harass female teachers—or anyone else,” social studies teacher Luc Chamberlain said at the hearing in February. “While I think we do a pretty good job of dealing with sexual harassment against students, I think we do a pretty poor job of dealing with sexual harassment against others.”
J.C. Farr, the principal at the school where Rieder works, told the Journal that there is an investigation into her allegations underway. “Please know that the district takes complaints of harassment and sexual misconduct very seriously and responds expeditiously to complaints by investigating and taking any necessary corrective action,” Farr said. “Due to privacy concerns, the district cannot comment further.”