A convicted child rapist has spoken out in defence of his wife being allowed to teach at an unnamed Perth kindergarten, after she stood by him despite his crimes.
Perth Now reports that the man was jailed for five-and-a-half years in 2008 for raping and taking inappropriate photos of a 13-year-old who was staying at his home.
But the man has argued that his wife – a kindergarten teacher – should not be punished for his crimes by being barred from her teaching job.
“Why is it all going this far, I don’t understand,” the man, who cannot be named, told The Sunday Times. “I’ve done my crime, I’ve done my time. I just want to move on. It’s all crap basically as far as we’re concerned.”
He added, “The Education Department is fully backing my wife anyway. She’s done nothing wrong.”
Parents at the school are outraged that the woman has been allowed to continue teaching, seeing as she supported her husband during and after his conviction. At the time of sentencing, the judge described the couple’s relationship as “happy and positive.”
The paper reported that parents have removed their children from the school where the teacher has been employed and that and she has been moved three times in response to parents’ anger.
It’s reported that parents are particularly incensed that the teacher’s husband attended the school one weekend to help move furniture.
Many of the complaints leveled at the teacher and her husband by parents and community groups centre around children’s physical safety at the school. But the school – and common sense - make it very clear that the teacher herself poses no danger to students.
The broader issue of the teacher’s judgment is another matter.
Teachers and others who work with children have a duty to their pupils to act as a ‘safe place’ where they can comfortably report violations such as sexual or indecent assault by adults.
In fact, teachers are required by law to report any suspicions they may have about a child’s personal safety to law enforcement.
How can parents be confident that this woman is properly vigilant about child protection issues? How could they feel reassured that if their child was compelled to report sexually inappropriate activity to their teacher, that she would take their complaints seriously, and respond with swift and if necessary, punitive action? Would her compassion for an alleged perpetrator inform her responses?
The answers aren’t easy. The teacher is not responsible for her husband’s crime. There’s no suggestion that her love for her husband means she condones his actions.
And it’s easy to look at the parents’ complaints from a position of rationality and dispassion and conclude that they may be overreacting or behaving, as the teacher’s husband told The Sunday Mail, like “vigilantes.”
But a parent should feel that they can leave their children at school every day in complete safety: physically and emotionally. It would be difficult to drive away each day if you were plagued with unease.