A teacher worries when a student with behavior problems finds out where she lives
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A teacher worries when a student with behavior problems finds out where she lives

In a recent post on Reddit’s “Teachers” forum, a teacher revealed that she was struggling with a safety issue. Not in the classroom, but rather outside – in your own home.

After several students noticed her leaving her suite, including one with behavioral problems, she asked other teachers if she had reason to be concerned.

A teacher is concerned when a student has “serious behavior problems” and her friends saw her leaving the two-family house.

“I am changing many details to maintain anonymity,” the teacher began in her post. “Basically (some of my students) saw me leaving the apartment. My only advantage is that I live in a duplex and they don’t know which half I live in.”

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For teachers, the line between personal and professional life can become blurred, especially when living and working in the same community. You are a huge part of your students’ lives and vice versa, so it can be difficult to separate identity from profession. You see kids at the grocery store, at soccer games, and even at community events.

That’s why many teachers choose to live outside of their district, which this teacher said she doesn’t have the luxury to do. Now he hopes it won’t become a security risk.

Knowing that living where she teaches is not “ideal” makes her even more concerned about children “gossiping” about her address.

She explained, “I live in the city where I teach. I know it’s not ideal, but there are no affordable housing options in every surrounding city, so I’m kind of stuck here. I would prefer to live outside the city, but the closest affordable place is about an hour away.”

While she admits that her students have “pretty serious behavior problems” and tend to gossip, she can’t help but worry that her address will become common knowledge among her classmates.

“I’m mentally preparing myself for children to show up at my door. The best answers? Should I sneak out the back door and never come back? I’ll probably never answer a knock again.”

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While most students with behavioral problems keep their misbehaviors confined to school, there are stories that stick out to many professionals about their safety at home.

Many teachers have been victims of student bullying, or worse, after leaving school, which is an unfortunate reminder of potential safety issues in their personal lives.

For high school students who are entering adulthood and dealing with complex and heightened emotions, teachers may feel uncomfortable enforcing consequences, especially if there is a history of inappropriate behavior. This is why it’s so important for districts to invest in counselors and behavior specialists – teachers shouldn’t have to bear the burden of serious behavior problems in the classroom.

Fortunately, most of the teachers who commented assured her that while living in a school district can be annoying, it often isn’t as big of a safety risk as you might think.

“I worked in a terrible school with at-risk youth. I have educated current gang members, witnessed crimes, and dealt with the “worst” members of my community. And all this while I lived in a house a few steps from one of the schools where I taught,” shared one of the teachers. “I have never been a victim of targeted conflict. I have paid former students handsomely to water my garden when I am out of town… At the end of the day, we are members of our community.”

The other teachers calmed her nerves by admitting that they had never really had bad experiences with students in similar situations.

Other teachers completely agreed, saying that the safety of their student neighbors was not a threat. Ultimately, setting clear boundaries helped eliminate privacy concerns.

While the teacher updated the post, admitting that she “slept on it” and felt much better after her initial concerns, many teachers offered tips in case the student actually paid her a visit.

“Chances are 99% of your students will never come to your apartment and harass you. The 1% that does will likely be children with behavioral problems. If it were me, I would open the door and tell them to leave me alone. If it hadn’t happened, I would have called the police and let them deal with it. Once it reaches your door, it’s not the school’s business,” one wrote.

Ultimately, no matter how unfortunate and “bad” the event may be, this is the reality many school employees face – their safety is their number one priority. Especially in circumstances where administrators will not be able to protect them, they must do what is best in their own homes.

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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango focusing on health and wellness, social policy and human interest stories.