Kurt Dussander: To the whole world, I am a monster… and
you have known about me. Go ahead, call the police. But just remember this:
when I am caught, when those reporters stick their microphones in my face, it
will be your name I will repeat over and over again. “Todd Bowden… Todd
Bowden. Todd Bowden, yes that was his name. For months, almost a year, he
wanted to know everything. That was how he put it… yes… everything.”
Todd Bowden: You’re crazy. They’ll never believe you.
Kurt Dussander: It doesn’t matter. And besides, lying to
judges and reporters isn’t as easy as you think. You have to be brilliant! Can
you do that? I know I can. And in any case, do you know what such a scandal can
do? It never goes away.
This week, two fringe candidates in the Georgia governor’s
race had a door to the past opened that I’m sure they would have preferred
remained shut. In unrelated incidents, Ray McBerry Jr. and Carl Camonhad been
accused of in appropriate relationships with female students while they were
teachers. In both cases, the men denied wrongdoing and yet resigned shortly
after the allegations surfaced. In Camon’s case, he noted that the girls
involved were concocting stories about him due to bad grades, noting that at
least one had promised to “get you.” McBerry noted that he had been trying to
counsel a student who had substance-abuse issues when the student became
attached to him.
I don’t see enough written about this to make any kind of
intelligent determination as to if either man was guilty. To be fair, anything
is possible and if either of these guys committed these actions, they deserve
what they get from both their employers and the public. However, on the other
hand, most people who get accused of something like this have a track record of
this type of behavior. Thus, when the first person finally breaks the wall of
silence, usually many others follow with similar statements of incidents that
took place over a long period of time (see: Woods, Tiger and Waitresses, Truck
Stops). That didn’t really happen here. In either case, that’s not what concerns
As an educator, I do my best not to think about it, but when
something like this comes up, it freaks me out. A career built over years of
study, work and determination can fall apart in a vengeful instant. A student
who doesn’t like you, a grade someone feels is unfair or more could bring you
crashing down. A student’s Machiavellian maneuver borne of anger, frustration
or some other under-thought reaction can yield a lifetime of misery for the
target of their spite.
We rightfully protect our children, as they are the most
precious things we have. They are also vulnerable and the damage that can be
done to them by vultures, con men and other evil doers can reverberate for
decades. A damaged child is one of the most painful things to see because you
know they hurt and yet there’s nothing you can do about it.
And, yes, there are creepy bastards out there who get an
overdeveloped sense of ego and entitlement. It’s the 30-something, balding, fat
coach (or conversely, the guy who was a “total stud” in high school and now feels
saddled with three kids and a wife who hates him) who is suddenly surrounded by
smoking hot, sexually budding female volleyball players in shorts that are way
too short and tight who usually cracks first. The girls giggle as girls do and
suddenly, well, there’s a hand on an ass and you can figure it out from there… Those
guys? Fry their asses.
However, thanks to jagoffs like that, we’re all on alert. I
never really thought about it all that much until I ended up with a slightly
imbalanced student in my class who kept hanging around after a night class. It
dawned on me that this student was likely to fail the class. It also dawned on
me that she kept sticking around, trying to talk to me about non-school stuff
and we were alone. Nothing happened, but it’s like when you’re suddenly aware
that you’re by yourself on a dark street in a shitty neighborhood without a
cell phone. You don’t like that feeling. The next day, I laid it all out for my
boss and he monitored the situation carefully. (It’s good to have a good boss.)
What makes this worse is that these things never go away.
These two guys will have this tin can tied to their tail for all of eternity.
And it’s like a football player with a blown ACL: Even after it’s fixed, it
doesn’t take much to blow it out again. The next time there’s an accusation,
they’re as good as guilty.
Certain things will fade with time. Steal? Hey, people will
eventually get over that. Lie? Yeah, well, I’m sure there was a good reason. Go
all Bernie Madoff or Jayson Blair? Get a book deal! Not all scumbaggery is
created equal. We even kind of got our minds of the false allegations against
Richard Jewell. However, the things uttered by teenagers regarding who did what
to whom always remain a maddening whisper of suspicion.