Intervening can make a prosecutor angry. I was not the President, just a school superintendent
I did not suspend the teacher accused of molesting adolescents without pay, which the law allowed. I had two reasons. Innocent until proven guilty, I thought. Teachers live in horror of false accusations. I wanted to assure the other teachers about how they might be treated if accused. I didn’t say the latter out loud.
I did not suspend the teacher at all. I reassigned him to my office. He spent his time organizing files. I took advice from my wife, who was a lawyer. I gave the teacher a short list of effective criminal lawyers in the area. The lawyer he used became a judge.
The lawyer was quick and effective. I don’t recall exactly what the defense attorney did. I do recall the charges were dismissed within a few weeks. There never was a trial. The teacher was reassigned back to his classroom. He was, I understood, no longer assigned foster children. I did not know then and still don’t know anything about his guilt.
At the end of the year, the prosecutor spoke at school. The sixth graders were graduating from an anti-drug use program. He and I met in the principal’s office. The principal stayed. Not to referee, exactly. To observe, maybe.
The prosecutor was not pleased with me. I had intervened and my intervention led to the guy’s release.
I asked. Asked might not be the best word. Yelled. We were both pretty loud. Its just that he was almost a foot taller than I was. Wider, too. Was the teacher any danger to the kids in my school I wanted to know. The prosecutor acknowledged that the teacher was not. That, I told him, was what I cared about.
I didn’t say it to him. Nor to anyone until now. I also cared about how vulnerable teachers feel in the face of accusations. I wanted them to know I would not leave them unprotected. Not that I said that out loud.