In the 30-plus years in the profession I cannot think of an incident where one teacher sexually harassed another, which is not to say that offensive remarks are never heard among our ranks. But if, let’s just say, a teacher is confronted with an overbearing suitor (fellow teacher), there are two-word phrases that work beautifully in blunting his/her advance: “No thanks;” “Back off;” “Get lost.” And there are longer, more stringent phrases that involve reflexive pronouns to really make the point. I have heard a thousand, no make that 10,000, off-color/crude/downright indecent remarks from my colleagues. Some of them were pretty funny. Some were in bad taste. None of them, however, ever had anything to do with control or exercising power over another human being.
I taught at Wilson Jr. High for six years and remember, back in the day, a particular faculty gathering spot, notorious for the name plate on the door, “Dirty Lounge.” It was a place where we teachers could come together and let our hair down. Sometimes the humor was a little raucous, a little risque and yes, even crude. Anyone who ever stumbled into this room and was made uncomfortable by the atmosphere either rolled their eyes and protested weakly (“Oh, please”) or made the decision to go to another lounge where more professional dialogue prevailed.