“The Letter”

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So the infamous letter that I spoke about a while back, has come forth. This letter has been written by the First Presidency stating that men should not teach alone in Primary, or cubs, scouts or youth. They said the men can teach only if they are two deep. They also stated that in smaller wards where it is not possible to have 2 men then our choices are:

  1. husband and wife team
  2. windows put in doors
  3. member of presidency has to do constant checks on teacher
  4. classroom door to remain open

As a Primary president I have to shake my head in regards to this. I realize that this is safeguarding not only all children but all teachers as well. BUT………on the other hand, our lone male teacher already teaches a combined class of 10 9-10 year olds, 8 of which are boys and must be peeled off the walls most Sundays. He has been the only one that has had staying power in a never ending revolving door for that particular class. The children love him, respect him and they are LEARNING which to me is a bonus. I have already been told we have no more men to be given a calling to teach with him. His wife was just called as Nursery Leader Assistant for a Nursery that has 8 children and 3 more 18 month olds coming in the next 2 months so that option is closed.

We can not put windows in the doors, the doors can not be left open as they are those solid doors on automatic swing so will shut anyways. When the children are in class time, another ward is getting out of Sacrament and that hallway is a major one with heavy traffic. The children would be completely distracted.

I am not happy to have to pop in to “check up” on him as anyone that has ever been a teacher will know that any distraction from the teaching makes it very difficult to get the children back on track. And I firmly believe if I am going to do that with his class then it will be done for ALL classes. I will not treat this lone teacher any different.

We have our Ward Conference on the 23rd and I guess I have to decide what I am going to tell the SPP how I am going to follow this new policy or if I am even going to.

49 thoughts on ““The Letter”

  1. Rick, we always have options. We can choose our actions, but not the consequences thereof.

    Sally can choose to follow the instruction or not follow it. Then the Stake Primary President, the Ward Bishop, and others with responsibility for carrying out the instructions will have to decide what they need to do about it.

  2. of course I have options Rick, I always have options.

    1. I can opt to leave things as they are knowing in my hearts of hearts this particular teacher is not an abuser and the children will be fine.
    2. I can opt to get a quote to put “peepholes” in the doors as I know there is no budget for windows and I know the Bp would rather change the teacher to a female one rather then absorb the cost of windows;
    3. I have the option of having him released;
    4. I have the option of not following the actual council in the letter and then get released myself.
    5. I have the option of talking to the SPP and the Stake President himself and keep on talking till they see things my way.

    There are always choices.

  3. Sorry I should have clarified on one of my options
    #3: I can opt to have the TEACHER released not the Bp

    Just in case someone reads it wrong

  4. Require parents of students to sign-up to “assistant teach” every tenth week. A mother can take this role since the infrequency and rowdy company will not establish inappropriate intimacy.

    Release the teacher’s wife from nursery to team teach with him, he’s got enough active students to justify the second teacher. Ward must provide someone other sister to take her current role in nursery before the enrollment bubble hits.

    Is there any room in the building with a more public venue? A cry room with a window, any rooms with windows? A room with an outdoor window that the Presidency can tromp outside to peek in? Hold class in the Relief Society room where opening the door is less disruptive?

  5. You said that the door to the class closes by itself. You could put a door stop, and leave the door open at least partially. That might be enought.

  6. Johanna 2 of the boys father is the YMP and he right now runs the YM program on his own as his councilors are always no shows. So he is not available. Out of the 2 girls, one’s dad is the EQP and the other one the EQC so they too are teaching on Sundays. 2 more dads are SS teachers which are at the same class time as PM. 2 more sons are single parent children where dad is not in the picture. The other 2 have dads that hold Stake callings so are usually not there on Sundays to assist. We can not have just another sister in there with this male if it is not a wife. It would be putting them into temptation and that is not appropriate.

    I need the wife to be in Nursery right now. The Spirit has told me this very vehemently.I actually had thought of calling her first at the end of last year thinking his class was going to be too large come January and just non-chalantly asked her in passing and she nearly died of anxiety! She said no way she could never do that not even just to sit there and listen. She does not have English as a first language and did not want to have to speak. Babies and toddlers are different.. they don’t speak anything but babylese anyway :)

    Door stops won’t work.. well they will prop the door open but then with the amount of traffic going down our one hall during class time, the children would be more interested in what was going on out there then in the room itself. I am not sure what a cry room is?? Is that the nursery? I have never heard that term before… what do you use that room for? I am assuming by the name people go there to cry???

    None of the classrooms from the PM or YW or YM or SS or RS or Seminary have windows in the doors. None of them. I don’t follow how opening and closing the RS room door is going to be less disruptive then a PM class room door? Most of the classrooms have outside windows but have heavy drapes in front of them and you actually have to stick your face right on the window and cup your hands around your face to be able to actually see in. The only thing that would get you is someone calling you in for being a peeping Jane lol

  7. It is my understanding that all buildings are going to retrofitted with classroom window doors.

    This should be from the General Building Fund and not your ward primary fund. Just let your bishop know which doors need to be done first.

  8. Another item is what is the time period to get into compliance with the new policy.

    One month seems impossibly short and five year is too long.

  9. The time period is immediate and Roland where did you get the understanding that all doors will be retrofitted? I have the letter and there is nothing in there in regards to that.

  10. Mum

    It is a building issue so it doesn’t come out of primary budget. So don’t worry, your budget won’t be affected. Either stake pays for it, or all the wards will pay a portion of it.

  11. oh I know it comes out of the building fund.. but our membership has dwindled so badly since last year that all of the auxiliaries had to cut their budgets down as there is just no money from the Stake etc. Will have to wait and see I guess what they say on the 23rd.

  12. This one is really hard for me. It tarnishes things for me. It pulls me away from the ideal, which is celestial living. All the PC jargon only causes me more frustration…

  13. I want individuals to be protected, for children to be safe and teachers to follow the ideal…this new counsel just confirms to me that they are not. That we are in the world and of the world. Seriously bothered by this.

  14. yes we are in the world and of the world.. that was why we were placed here in the first place.. to learn of Christ, to feel sadness that we may know happiness. Living here was part of God’s plan from day one basically. We all have choices to make from the moments we wake up every morning.

    We will live an ideal life in the next life. This time around we are living a real life and with that comes idiots and perverts and meanies. It’s life.

  15. Hi Kim,

    I’ve been in wards with a predator twice in my forty years. One got a girl near my age. After I was a mother, I moved into a ward where they had just had a problem and the predator only recently gone.

    Sally–I’m not sad about the child protection policy, but I am sad that we can’t have a woman assist a man who’s not her husband once every two months. I understand why we wouldn’t have unmarrieds team teaching together every week. Single mothers are sometimes looked at as especially threatening.

    You said: “We can not have just another sister in there with this male if it is not a wife.”

    I didn’t like how you call him “this male” and not “this brother.” You sound like he is a predator already.

    How far has membership dwindled? Can you go to one sharing time and give the class of boys the Primary Chapel for their class? That’s an easy room to monitor.

    It’s a hard policy to follow, but it is at least as worth doing as the rules not allowing men and women to have any private conversations unless they’re relatives or married to each other.

  16. “I’ve been in wards with a predator twice in my forty years. One got a girl near my age. After I was a mother, I moved into a ward where they had just had a problem and the predator only recently gone.”

    So two down. 25,000 more to go.

  17. “It only protects children if there is a risk. How many wards actually have a predator in their midst?”

    Seat belts protectus only if there is an accident. Front door locks protect us only if there is a would-be intruder. The overwhelming majority of car trips happen without accident, and the overwhelming majority of homes go through the night with no attempted intrusions. But that’s no reason not to use seat belts and locks. Similarly, since we usually can’t know when we have a predator in our midst, we take safety precautions.

    There seems to be a perception that these precautions are somehow insulting or humiliating to men. They’re not. They’re just safety rules, to be followed for the sake of all.

    By the way, rules like this don’t just protect children. They also protect men from false accusation.

  18. Johnna

    “I didn’t like how you call him “this male” and not “this brother.” You sound like he is a predator already.”

    how does calling a teacher a male/female make them predators? How do you figure just because I didn’t call him this brother I think he is a predator? If you read my original posting you will see how I defend him and comment on how I plan to go to bat for him and that I will NOT treat him any different then any of my other teachers. How does that make him a predator?

    And where do you get your information about a woman tag teaching with a man only once every 2 months? Where did that math equation come from?

    You contradict yourself in the same paragraph. In one breath you say you don’t see why a woman can not teach with a man she is not married with once every 2 months and in the very next sentence you say and I quote “I understand why we wouldn’t have unmarrieds team teaching together every week.” Then you go on about single mothers. Talk about double standards. You get on my case because you think I am already thinking my male teacher is a predator because I didn’t call him a brother and yet you say you understand why single women can’t double teach because they are perceived as a threat.

    Let me tell you a secret sweetheart. I am very married and I am more of a treat to men then some single mom! Sheeeesh

    As for the rest of your comment no I cannot go to one sharing time while I give the class of boys to the chapel. Again if you had read my original post you will see I mentioned that this class has TWO girls in it not just boys and I also comment that when we are in class there is another ward having sacrament. Last time I checked Sacrament meetings are held in the chapel. We also only have one sharing time in our ward not two. So no.. splitting the class is not an option.

  19. PS Johnna

    “It’s a hard policy to follow, but it is at least as worth doing as the rules not allowing men and women to have any private conversations unless they’re relatives or married to each other.”

    Are you from Regina Sask by any chance? Cause that is the only place on earth that I know of that would have come up with a rule like that. I would love to see that rule in black and white please and thank you!!

    I will have to tell my Bishopric Adviser I can’t have private conversations with him any longer.. He will enjoy that. I sat in his car in front of my house a week ago for nearly an hour.. just the two of us as we hashed our our Primary issues.

    Then I have to tell our EQP that I can’t have private conversations with him either in regards to his secretary taking care of his toddler daughter so his wife, my secretary, can fulfill her calling.

    Then of course there is the YMP and our conversation 2 weeks ago about the youth program and how I worry about my 11 year boys moving up to a program where his deacons are not registered scouters.

    Then there was my private conversation with the SSP just yesterday as we talk about his getting his SS teachers to enforce their students to be in their classes and not hanging around our Primary doors.

    But I can’t see why that rule is in place FOR ME cause after all I am not a young single mom so I can’t be a threat :-D

  20. Good grief this all sounds ridiculous to me. I have a hard time invisioning a man and woman locking eyes in nursery and the beginnings of an adultrous relationship born. At the same time, I’m quite sure they have been born of less and more ridiculous. I guess I’m of the mind that this doesn’t treat any sickness. IF someone is going to cheat, or abuse a child, they will find a way. Architecture, and team teachers are bandaids to much bigger issues.

    I guess my bitterness is similiar to that of prayer in school. The voice of the minority outway the faith and desires of the majority. So the needs of 10,000 people are overriden because of 1. Common ground becomes battle ground and celestial living becomes a fairy tale we read about in books, but don’t live in the halls of our own chapels.

  21. Unless, of course, you don’t agree. In that case, I would have to wonder why you think dismissive, one-word expressions of contempt are a good substitute for actual answers.

  22. I was in the nursery and begged for two specific men to be put in with us, because they didn’t go to priesthood anyway and the kids loved them. They were both young enough to be my child and we were all grandmas in there, we laughed at the concept of an affair occurring.

    But I’ve begged the bishop and stake president to put a window in the nursery door, because it’s so distracting when the parents keep looking in to check on their child. It’s maddening because you just get the kid to stop bawling when their parent sticks their head in.

    I think a man with no ulterior motives would simply understand that in this day and age, the church has to take extra precautions and not object to being checked on. My husband doesn’t care. He abides by all the precautions the church has in scouting and he’s glad for them. They protect him as much as the boys.

    It’s common sense these days.

  23. I personally think that mandatory criminal history checks should be instituted for all teachers/leaders as well.

    If you’re willing to submit to the urgings of the spirit that’s fine; me, I prefer the civil authorities.

    There have been several stories of molesters moving from one state/province to another and getting right back into teaching or scouting without any sort of knowledge of the local stake of their previous problems.

  24. Moses should have been subjected to a criminal history check. Don’t you think that whole killing and Egyptian, hiding his body in the sand, and fleeing the country should have disqualified him? Nephi, too. Imagine, cutting a man’s head off in his own home and then fleeing overseas.

    How could such people have been allowed to hold positions in God’s Church?

  25. Yeah, that’s an apples to apples comparison.

    …and don’t quote fiction to me, it doesn’t help your case.
    ;)

  26. Yes, Rick, which is my point. You believe the Church is all a big lie. So why are you interested in the details of how it’s run? You hate talking about the Church, so why do you spend your leisure time doing so?

  27. Probably for the same reason you try to talk to me.

    It’s not always enjoyable, but it’s usually interesting as an intellectual exercise … and often quite amusing.

    I do it for the same reason that people talk about the weather.

    Does it bother you?

    Is your testimony at risk?

    Did you have a bad Easter and came back in a bad mood.

    You’ve been decidedly rough around the edges lately, are you ok?

  28. Rick you stated “There have been several stories of molesters moving from one state/province to another and getting right back into teaching or scouting without any sort of knowledge of the local stake of their previous problems”

    I can’t vouch for any other country but here in Canada you have to go for a Criminal Check BEFORE you can deal with any scout troup. The Area Commissioner just was here telling us that before we call anyone to a scout leaders position they HAVE to be registered AND go through the police criminal check THEN they can be called. Which doesn’t make sense…. we usually call people first.. how can they go get this done without telling them we want to call them as such???

  29. Yeah Sally, most of the anecdotes I’ve read/heard about were stateside, but I’ve seen some pretty lax due diligence in regard to some callings in my wife’s ward – so it may be onthe books but unenforced, and that bothers me.

    It sounds to me like any potential scout leaders need to do everything required (according to your Area Commish) to become eligible to be called. That sounds strict, but we live in an increasingly scarey world, too.

  30. Actually, Rick, I thought everyone had found me disagreeable from the start—not just since Easter.

    Your opinions on how the Church should operate are kind of like my opinions on how the Flat Earth Society should conduct its elections, or how the American Nazi Party should adopt amendments to its platform. In my case, I don’t care what such institutions do. In your case, you reject the institution and its members as deluded and irrational, but simultaneously take a keen interest in the details of its day-to-day operations. You suggest what the Prophet should do to indicate whether he is speaking with full authority, while you reject the existence of his authority or his status as a Prophet. You criticize the Church for having excluded Blacks from the Priesthood, while simultaneously denying that the Priesthood has any actual meaning or value (in which case, weren’t they better off without it?)

    Your answer above indicates to me that you just get sort of a kick out of messing with the minds of those you look down on as irrational, deluded fools.

  31. You do know that I married one of these “irrational, deluded fools”, as you so kindly put it, don’t you?

    You don’t think this entitles me to follow the emerging news, and basic tenets of the LDS?

    How terrribly xenophobic of you.

    How incredibly fortunate for me that I do not require your permission or blessing in order to engage in this dialog.

    Good day sir.

    I said GOOD DAY!
    :P

  32. Yes, Rick, I do know you married one. That’s another reason I’m surprised by the way you characterize the Church and its members as being deluded, irrational, and founded on lies.

  33. Hey Rick and ltbugaf you are going to have to put your heads on your desk if you keep this up… you two need a time out and or a nap… and what do your answers have to do with my original posting anyway?

  34. Hey Sally, I was trying to stay on topic but then came #31 followed by #34 and after that I was just defending myself. =)

    …and I think the port-hole idea for the doors is a good one. Unobtrusive and functional. Not even too expensive, although I don’t think the church has any problem with its’ coffers running dry any time soon.

  35. In today’s paper there was an article about a Catholic Priest (age 42)who killed his pregnant girlfriend (age 22) (they also have a 17 month old)after Easter Mass. He cut her head off, chopped her body up and disposed of her body in a garbage sack.

  36. Perhaps Bill is saying that people we think we can trust sometimes do bad things, so there are good reasons for taking safety precautions such as the ones required in Primary.

  37. Annegb, when Rick tells me I shouldn’t bring scripture into the discussions on a Church-related website, because they’re “fiction,” who’s being ornery?

  38. Windows on doors, two deep teachers, none of this is new. All these things were in my ward 30 years ago. New leaders new plans. Just like fashions come and go, so do the ideals of man.

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