Dear Teacher, Stop Texting My Daughter

Rant 22

textingIn news that is sadly becoming "not news at all," another teacher has been fired for inappropriate behavior with a teenage student. But how's this for a twist? Arthur "Chuck" Matthews is suing Philadelphia area private school Springside Chestnut Hill Academy for discrimination over his texting relationship with a student.

He's using as proof the fact that the girl's parents have said that there was nothing improper about the texts exchanged by Matthews and the young girl. But is it ever really proper for a teacher to be texting a student?

I recognize that kids today are living in a digital world. Their gadgets are often their main means for communicating. And yet, as a mom, I'm wary of adults I don't know well interacting with my kid.

Teachers working with them inside a classroom is one thing. It's a controlled environment where the presence of other kids helps to keep things grounded. At the very least, a teacher who is thinking about stepping over the lines with a student has to be on their toes because they never know when another kid or another teacher is going to pop in and catch them in the act.

Jump to texts, and the threat of being watched is less. So what are they saying in those texts? For that matter, what could they possibly have to say in a text that couldn't be covered in the classroom?

And why would a teacher need a child's personal phone number? Call me old school, but I tend to shield my cellphone number from people who don't absolutely need to have it. It seems overly familiar to share it with people beyond that because it gives people access to me anywhere, anytime.

I know I don't want a teacher accessing my kid anywhere, anytime. That's for sure!

Do you think it's appropriate for teachers to text kids?


Image via kamshots/Flickr

safety, school


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nonmember avatar Cass

I have no problem with teachers receiving questions by text, so long as its on a school-monitored phone. Beyond that, no. Teachers should not be allowed to text their students until those students have graduated.

kelli... kelli0585

I think group text messages from teachers are great.  Reminders of assignments, notification of impromptu morning tutorials, or changes of plans. . . things of that nature. 

But personal text messages not pertaining to class from a teacher, no matter the gender, race, or sexual orientation may or may not be a little concerning.  With what little information that has been presented, I wouldn't dare say that the teacher was grooming the student with seemingly innocuous messages. 

However, I do believe that parents should follow their intuitions.  Take it up first with the teenager, then the teacher, and then go further if necessary.  They have that right.

CPN322 CPN322

I agree with kelli0585 that group texts wouldn't be so bad, but the uses for it that she described are why they have this online webpage called Blackboard for VCU students to do just that. I feel a website would be a much better idea than texting. Texts between teachers and students makes me quite uncomfortable. Thinking back to when I was a teen, I wouldn't have wanted my teachers texting me.

Flori... Floridamom96

No. I also think its inappropriate for this man to cry racism for being held accountable for his actions. For shame.

quinn007 quinn007

I don't remember there ever being a time in all my years of schooling where a teacher contacted me directly via phone (I graduated before the advent of texts and emails...yikes).  In any case where contact was necessary, the teacher either did so during school hours or by contacting my parents.  These days there are other means as CPN stated so I see no need for a teacher to be in direct contact by cell phone with a student, or why a teacher would want to do so considering the trouble it has caused for some many!

nonmember avatar kayla

you forgot to mention that he is saying it is "racial discrimination", because he is a black man in a predominately white school. i feel that is important to note.

mande... manderspanders


And yes, I'm dead serious.

Responsible parents who parent their child responsibly don't need to give their children cell phones; and wouldn't give their child a cell phone just because they "wanted" one.

Flori... Floridamom96

Why is that important, Kayla? Would it be as important if instead he were the only redhead in a school of brunettes?

EvaSa... EvaSamuel

I kept a list of my students' cell phone numbers when we went to a competition and then an amusement park.  I was able to let them know about meeting times and they were able to be in touch with an adult at all times even if they couldn't see the adult.  All the parents knew I had the numbers and I did not retain the list beyond the day of the trip.  I really see it as a great thing in that circumstance!  However, anything beyond that is unnecessary and can give the appearance of impropriety.

nonmember avatar Kristin

I think it's fine as long as it is school related. I am an itinerant teacher and text my students all the time; I'm assigned to various school districts and buildings and do not have the time to call each building separately to ask about my students' attendance. It's way easier to text the student and get a quick response. I always make sure the parents know about the texting; I get the student's numbers from their parents so they are well aware.

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