MILL VALLEY (KPIX 5) – Two North Bay high schools have been rocked by allegations of sexual harassment after a stunning claim from two teacher who say they were abused by students for years.
The Tamalpais High School teacher went public with her charges last week after – according to her — administrators failed to stop it.
Math teacher Eva Rieder says she has been sexually harassed by male students for years at Tamalpais High School.
“Time my story be heard. It’s time I say, ‘Me Too,'” Rieder said.
Rieder spoke out last week at a meeting of the Tamalpais Union High School Board of Trustees.
She has said that the district has done nothing since she brought the abuse to the attention of officials.
“I’ve been sexually harassed, stalked, intimidated, threatened, bullied, slandered and defamed by male students,” Rieder said at the meeting.
She went on to describe some of the more than a dozen incidents she claims have occurred over her 15 years at the school.
“I have been touched more than once by a students who also thought it was okay to describe his masturbatory habits in the classroom,” said Rieder.
She also said she’s gotten lewd phone calls and emails from students. Despite reporting the incidents, she said school administrators did nothing.
“It’s a district-wide negligence problem,” said Rieder.
The school district said it could not respond about specifics, but sent out a statement saying, in part: “…the District has retained the services of an attorney who specializes in workplace investigations to look into the complaints and review the district’s protocols for responding.”
In the meantime, Rieder is getting support from her colleagues.
“It is not at all surprising to me that…male students feel they have the power dynamics available in our society to harass female teachers,” said Tamalpais High School social studies teacher Luc Chamberlain.
Rieder says she was encouraged to speak out after another teacher did last month.
Two weeks earlier, Redwood High School teacher Jessica Crabtree tearfully shared her story, not only accusing the district of complacency, but worse: “When you do this to women, you are telling them that their voice doesn’t count,” said Crabtree. “And when you look at the national scene and wonder how the Harvey Weinsteins are made, we’re making them.”
Even after two whistle-blowers stepping forward, KPIX 5 talked to one part-time teacher who says she hadn’t heard anything from the district or the schools.
“That’s awful. I don’t know anything about it, so I don’t really have a comment,” said the teacher.
There were signs at Tamalpais High School advertising the school’s ‘see something, say something’ tip line, but the students who go there said harassment isn’t the culture in classrooms.
“I definitely can see how it could happen. I could see kids saying something, but I don’t think they mean anything by it,” said senior Tristan Mitchell. “You know, we’re just high school guys and I know we can be inappropriate sometimes, but I don’t think she was ever in any danger.”
“How do we, female teachers who have confronted various forms of sexual harassment, confidently convey to the female students that they will be supported, believed, protected, or safe in a district that has repeatedly failed to support, believe, or at times even respond to us in similar situations?” asked Rieder.
Rieder says the trauma from all of this has caused her medical problems and that she’s taking a personal leave next year.