This Woman Used Chalk To Catch Out Her Teacher's Sexual Harassment & Years Later She's Tweeting The Whole Story
High school can seriously suck. I remember counting down the days until graduation starting my sophomore year. Turns out, adulthood isn’t that much better, but at least I don’t have a curfew.
Whether you’re grounded for making a bad grade in a class, attempting to make your acne go away before picture day, or reeling from a bad break up before homeroom, those four years of your life can be full of stress. On top of all the stressors from the classic hallmarks of high school, imagine having to deal with sexual harassment coming from a teacher you have to see everyday. It sounds like a nightmare, but this nightmare was the reality for Twitter user @JodiesJumpsuit and her female classmates when they were in high school.
Yesterday, Oct. 29, JodiesJumpsuit recounted the tale of her high school teacher, who allegedly placed his genitals (through his pants) on the desks of high school girls. Yuck, I know. This was a frequent occurrence, so JodiesJumpsuit devised a plan to get the chalkiest revenge. Don’t take my word for it, though. JodiesJumpsuit says it best in her own. In 13 tweets, JodiesJumpsuit weaves a satisfying tale of conflict, ingenuity, and revenge.
Situations like this are especially upsetting to navigate, because clearly the balance of power was in favor of JodiesJumpsuit’s high school teacher; that, and young students might be discouraged from speaking out or not know what their resources for doing so are, if any. This story took place 20 years ago, a time when a male teacher could have easily denied her accusation and made her life — and the lives of the other girls in the class — a living hell.
JodiesJumpsuit acknowledged the other students in her classroom are the ones who pointed out what their teacher was doing, and she was the one who decided to take action. “I am not the hero of this story, I am merely the one who decided to play a trick,” she tweeted.
Upsettingly but perhaps not unsurprisingly, some of the boys didn’t believe that this was happening. Remember, JodiesJumpsuit said the teacher only did it to the girls in the class. As unfortunate as it was that she needed "proof" of the incidents, JodiesJumpsuit decided to verify the claims.
This particular teacher was known for playing with chalk and his khaki, unbuttoned polo uniform. JodiesJumpsuit knew she could use this against him. She rubbed chalk on the front of the desks before he walked into the classroom.
Halfway through the class period, there was no doubt of what had been happening. The proof was right there on the crotch of his pants.
Again, as terrible as it was that she felt obligated to "prove" her harassment to make it seem legitimate in the eyes of others, there was one side benefit to JodiesJumpsuit's plan: her teacher was embarrassed, and inconvenienced at that. Chalk is hard to get out, especially if it’s in an awkward place.
The teacher never faced any real consequences for his actions, so the brief satisfaction of this story is still bittersweet. At the very least, though, the teacher stopped rubbing his genitals on his students’ desks, and the news about what the teacher was up to spread around the school quicker than a Burn Book. JodiesJumpsuit says she doesn’t think he did it to students the next semester, and hopefully took the cue to never do it again.
Granted, this happened to JodiesJumpsuit over 20 years ago, and she acknowledges that chalk might not be the best option for students dealing with perverted teachers in 2017.
“Chalk is not as ubiquitous in classrooms as it was decades ago: so support each other, look after each other, and speak up for each other,” she tells Bustle. “The chalk was an anonymous act in a time where complaining directly to the teacher or the principal would have been disregarded as dramatics and possibly punished: things have changed since then. You don’t need chalk anymore, just each other.”
The ERA has assembled a comprehensive guide for handling sexual harassment in school settings here; hopefully stories like JodiesJumpsuit's will one day be the last of their kind.