Male influences in school - Johnny Jackson

It has been brought up in discussions and debates before: "Why aren't there more male teachers in secondary education."

One of many arguments I have heard, and has been recurring lately, is fear of persecution - fear of being accused of inappropriate behavior, from physical abuse to sexual abuse.

While we all can concede that these are, in many instances, absolutely legitimate claims, there are some that are questionable. Those claims warrant further discussion, not so much about why there are few male teachers, but why "fear of persecution" would even be a valid argument. And it is a valid argument.

I have heard initial reports about an area, male high school teacher, who was fired, based at least in part, on claims of inappropriate behavior with a student.

The initial reports, without much information, make me wonder if the teacher was fired without much of a fair shake.

Certainly, there are those in the world who have done worse and been given the benefit of doubt.

It is a tough chore to dance the line of between being proactive and being flexible and fair, particularly when children are involved - and fearful children at that.

As it is, male teachers can almost be stereotyped in every state of the union as holding one position or another in schools, as if they are limited to only those.

The few who have broken the mold have tended to make the difference, particularly in the lives of young, male students who need role models and guidance.

To some, it may seem to be a slight to female teachers to suggest that children need male teachers. But it is the male influence, to be sure, that so many educators have advocated. And why? The absence of everyday male role models everywhere else.

It would be a grandiose favor for corporations to give breaks - days off or some sort of credit - to their male employees who spend a day a month interacting with students/children who could benefit from their presence. It actually happens, but far less often than it should.

So, we come back to the first square of the puzzling debate. And that is where we may have to stay on the issue -- at last for awhile.

In the end, the aforementioned, accused, male teacher and the other that will follow may serve society better outside the traditional classroom. That is, unless there is another way to infuse a male presence into children's scholastic experiences.

Johnny Jackson is the education reporter for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at jjackson@henryherald.com or at (770) 957-9161.