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7th-grader accuses substitute teacher of inappropriate conduct

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SEATTLE — A Seattle substitute teacher is under investigation after a seventh-grade boy’s allegation of inappropriate conduct.

The 12-year-old special education student at Hamilton International Middle School reported the alleged incident Wednesday to school officials, who called police.

The substitute teacher isn’t employed by the school district, but a spokesperson said he won’t get any other assignments in the district until the police investigation is complete.

The boy, who is not being identified since he is underage, said the alleged incident happened between classes while he was alone in a bathroom with the substitute teacher.


Hamilton International Middle School

He said that when he walked into the bathroom, the teacher was already standing at a urinal.

“I pulled my pants down and started using the bathroom and he started peeking over the side of me, trying to just stare at me, and I kind of,  like, moved my body this way so he couldn’t see me over it. Then he started peeking on this side of me,” the boy said, adding that he asked the man to leave him alone.

“After I said please stop staring at me, he said, ‘I don’t really feel the need to stop,’ ” the boy said. “And I said I feel the need for you to stop and he just didn’t stop. He just kept staring at me.”

The boy said the teacher never touched him, but the youngster added that while he was washing his hands, he heard the man pray and allegedly mumble the word penis.

The boy’s mother said, “They (the children) should feel safe at all times when they’re in the building and in this case that didn’t happen with him. Now he doesn’t feel safe and he’s not going to feel safe going back.”

The mother said she got a call from the school around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday and police officers were there when she arrived.

“I still feel that he (the substitute teacher) needs to be prosecuted for what he’s done because he clearly violated our child and that’s not acceptable to us,” the mother said.

Seattle police said they could not comment because it is too early in their investigation.

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  • Anonymous

    This is not the first complaint of this sort. Generally, the selection of substitute teachers at Hamilton has been atrocious. Most of them are simply plain useless (they don't do any actual teaching, and merely make sure students are reasonably quiet while the time passes and time to release them), but, it seems, that some of them are actually creepy and possibly dangerous. The principal of Hamilton should start to pay attention on the quality of substitute teachers.
    A Hamilton Parent.

      • HIMS mom

        Another case, I know about happened last year and was not sexual in nature. At that time the investigation was going on for more than a month while the sub in question was still teaching. Some parents removed their students from his class (another ones didn't even know about what happened). After a couple of weeks he was removed from HIMS quietly with no explanation.

  • Anonymous

    Oh and a couple of additional things. Yesterday, the same teacher, doing substitute classes in the same school, on the same day, explained 7th graders how he managed to 'knock up' one of his fellow marines during his stint in Vietnam. (???) And he asked strange questions from the female students and rewarded them with lollipops and said things like this to the girls: "You are really pretty, look like my wife. Do you play volleyball?"
    The same Hamilton Parent.

  • momofstudent

    I am the mother of the student that was on the news and I am really furious that they are not doing more…WE ARE "following policy" by having to wait over a week and meantime he is being denied an education simply because he is scared to come back to that school!!

    • Anonymous

      You're right, neither SPD or the school are doing nearly enough. A 7th grader was violated by someone who wasn't even a teacher while SPD "will assign a detective to the case soon" i am really dissapointed about how this is being handled. My condolences, by the way.

    • Graduate

      Meanwhile i am FREAKING OUT. Graduate here, and i believe i may have shared a class with him last year (recognized "Alex's" voice). Im kinda panicking for the poor kid

  • Dadofstudent

    Oh my gosh, my 6th grade daughter, who attends HMIS, just came home and told me about this. I had no idea this happened. For crying out loud, Principal Waters will send an email blast about shutting the school down so a student could have 'privacy' during a medical emergency–which freaked everyone out–but she can't seem to follow the same policy around this awful incident. Why did she not let all parents know about this???

    • Student

      Because she's scared if she publicizes it, she'll get fired. She abandoned protocol and didn't do a background check on this man. I believe she should own up to her own mistakes and step down, whilst a new principle who wont let pedophiles walk straight in the front doors of a middle school takes her place.

      • HIMS mom

        I think to do a background check on the substitute teachers is not the Principal's job. I think it is managed centrally by the SPS HR Department. The question rather is that what kind of quality check / screening they are doing at HIMS on the substitute teachers especially at the first time when they come to the school?

    • HIMS mom

      She did send out a general message next morning (Thursday):
      Dear Hamilton International Middle School Families:
      There was a television news report yesterday regarding an alleged incident involving a substitute teacher and one of our students.
      Our students’ safety and security is our top priority, and our staff is committed to ensuring a safe learning environment for our students. I want to assure you that when we were informed of this allegation yesterday, we took immediate action. The substitute teacher will not be receiving assignments from Seattle Public Schools pending the outcome of a police investigation.
      Please contact me if you have questions or concerns.
      Cindy Watters, Principal

      • Dadofstudent

        I found it in my inbox, so that's my fault for missing it amongst the hundreds of other emails in there. However, as it reads it feels like she's responding to any negative fallout from the news story instead of getting in front of the actual incident. This email should have gone out Wednesday, the same day of the incident instead of letting a news story drive her response. My daughter says many students were talking about it without having any actual facts about what happened. I understand that nothing can be said during the investigation, but SPS should have a communications policy in place that informs the faculty and student body of what is going on. One of my daughter's teachers told the class that she didn't have any information. So now there's rumor and innuendo racing through the hallways at HMIS.

    • momofstudent

      I totally agree and brought that up to them. Not only that but when I sent my son and his brother into the school to get their belongings out of their lockers the security guard came to him and escorted him out of the building like he was the perpetrator!!!

  • Graduate

    Hey. HIMS graduate here. I graduated last year. Anyways, when I saw this on the news, i was like, freaking out. To imagine that happening at my old school, it was just plain inhuman. The worst part is that this "Alex" kid, i believe that I had a class with him last year. I recognized his voice. Though im having a hard time figuring out which kid he was, i am convinced that I knew him when he was still in 6th grade. I was also a special ed kid admittingly, and there were a couple 6th graders in Ms. Spiers class. I think he was one or them. This has me rather freaked out for his safety and the rest of my previous school. Must everything scary happen in the bathrooms (rumored ghost in girls bathroom. I believe the balloon that stalked me wuz her)?