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Teachers on (witch) trial

Mar. 21, 2000

While sexual molestation by teachers and coaches has long been an issue in US schools, teachers have recently voiced a concern of their own: children crying wolf, THE GUARDIAN (UK) reports.

Recently, Ronald Heller, a 54-year old Maryland gym teacher, nearly lost his job and his reputation when six girls and one boy — aged 11 and 12 — accused him of sexually molesting them. Two weeks ago, all the children admitted they had invented the accusations, and Heller was fully exonerated.

Since being cleared, Heller has become a poster-boy for teachers who fear that any physical contact, however innocuous, may become a career-threatening mistake. The Maryland state teachers’ union says its members are in constant fear of a false sexual accusation.

Read THE GUARDIAN (UK) story here.

JG

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