Zeeland teacher fired after inappropr...

Zeeland teacher fired after inappropriate behavior complaints

There are 45 comments on the WZZM Grand Rapids story from Apr 21, 2008, titled Zeeland teacher fired after inappropriate behavior complaints. In it, WZZM Grand Rapids reports that:

Unless he appeals, Zeeland music teacher Timothy Oonk is fired. Monday night the school board unanimously voted for termination.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at WZZM Grand Rapids.

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dan muskegon

Orem, UT

#1 Apr 22, 2008
f king pevr

Since: Mar 08

Rockford, MI

#2 Apr 22, 2008
What kind of teacher send a message that hes in love with a student? They should have to pass a psychiatic and behavior test before becoming a teacher. If he would of send that to my daughter ,My husband would be kicking somebodys butt.

“Taz say Hi”

Since: Jan 08

Holland,MI

#3 Apr 22, 2008
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
Batch 37 Pain is Good

United States

#4 Apr 22, 2008
So for 20 years he has taught singing without any problems. He illustrates breathing techniques by pointing out which muscle group to use. And what kind of love was he talking about. Sounds like the teacher was very comfortable in his position. Maybe too comfortable where he forgot that society has changed. But who really knows the truth.
singersmom

Grand Rapids, MI

#5 Apr 22, 2008
My child is a voice student at a major US university. Her best teachers have been those who explain and illustrate how to use your body, which is your instrument. Touching the back/stomach is part of that. However, I'm sure it can make younger students uncomfortable. At best, he should have been more sensitive. At worst, he should be removed from the classroom. Let the facts speak.

Since: Apr 08

I am right behind you

#6 Apr 22, 2008
I'm on the teacher's side. If the prosecutor said there's no reason to prosecute, he should keep his job. Now, when he appeals, the school is going to have a tougher time proving their case.
Kristine

Sterling Heights, MI

#7 Apr 22, 2008
Perhaps this teacher went a bit too far in expressing "love" (and it doesnt say he said he was 'in love', but 'fatherly affection')although the suggestive remarks sounds questionable. However, as a music instructor it is quite common to instruct students on proper breathing technique by placing a hand on the abdomen and back...however, I always ask permission first or have the student place their own hand in the proper position so they can understand the muscles being used. One thing I can say this article points out is how our society has become extremely paranoid...not every touch or word of affectio is sexual in nature.
Anonymous

Syracuse, NY

#8 Apr 22, 2008
WITCH HUNT COURTESY OF ZEELAND
WHY DOESN'T THIS SURPRISE ME?
PARENTS, GROW UP! THE KIDS ARE MORE MATURE THAN YOU ARE.

Since: Aug 07

Denver, CO

#10 Apr 22, 2008
Kristine wrote:
Perhaps this teacher went a bit too far in expressing "love" (and it doesnt say he said he was 'in love', but 'fatherly affection')although the suggestive remarks sounds questionable. However, as a music instructor it is quite common to instruct students on proper breathing technique by placing a hand on the abdomen and back...however, I always ask permission first or have the student place their own hand in the proper position so they can understand the muscles being used. One thing I can say this article points out is how our society has become extremely paranoid...not every touch or word of affectio is sexual in nature.
I agree with you! Our society is very paranoid

“Any good mice lately?”

Since: Mar 08

Hairball Holler

#11 Apr 22, 2008
singersmom wrote:
My child is a voice student at a major US university. Her best teachers have been those who explain and illustrate how to use your body, which is your instrument. Touching the back/stomach is part of that. However, I'm sure it can make younger students uncomfortable. At best, he should have been more sensitive. At worst, he should be removed from the classroom. Let the facts speak.
Do those teachers refer to a student's "boobs" as part of vocal coaching?
Shamma-Mom

Kalamazoo, MI

#12 Apr 22, 2008
One of the most important social rules I teach my kids ... KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF. If the girl or guy cries fowl (abuse) someone will pay attention and you will find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, guilty or not.

Teachers should know how society is out there these days and follow that rule ... KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELVES and never, never be with a student alone.
SLEEPIN BEAR

Holland, MI

#15 Apr 22, 2008
Zeelands railroad job. Must be learning from Kent County and the state Judicial Tenure Commission.
JustMe

Ionia, MI

#16 Apr 22, 2008
Miss Meow wrote:
<quoted text>
Do those teachers refer to a student's "boobs" as part of vocal coaching?
...sure....chest should/should not rise....how many young kids that aren't getting the grade their parents would expect of them would start making noise????

Since: Apr 08

I am right behind you

#17 Apr 22, 2008
Miss Meow wrote:
<quoted text>
Do those teachers refer to a student's "boobs" as part of vocal coaching?
Having read the report, there was no one that referred to "boobs" at any time.
LHG

United States

#18 Apr 22, 2008
Did you read the complaints? He did indeed refer to "boobs". The only way this was "fatherly" affection, is if your father was a pervert. He crossed a line. Even if it WAS just flirting,(and I think it was more than that) an adult teacher should know better than to flirt with students.
Dee

Canton, MI

#20 Apr 22, 2008
Ever meet a teenage girl who wasn't a "drama queen"? They felt "uncomfortable"....w hat the heck does that mean exactly. So, he touched their abdomen...that's what voice teachers DO to teach correct breathing methods! Somewhat similar to what many teen girls,(and boys)seeking attention and drama by posting their antics on You Tube, etc. I would find it hard to believe that these girls aren't jumping on the bandwagon to garner attention and be part of the drama. This will ruin this man's reputation and many years of successful voice training and an award winning choir. All because he cared about his students and his job performance. Not to be unsympathetice or crass, but when a student or students...anyplace..are killed or seriously injured in accidents, etc...ever notice how many girls are weeping and hanging onto one another when the cameras are on them? I'm sure some are feeling genuine grief, and knew the victims....but probably some never even heard of them, and are just performing.
Molly

Amelia Court House, VA

#21 Apr 22, 2008
You know, it doesn't matter whether or not he did something criminal. The fact has been substantiated that he overstepped his bounds as a teaching professional. He is not a father to these students, he is a teacher, and as such there is a code of conduct that should be followed and the Zeeland School Board stood up for that code. Personal relationships outside the school curriculum and grounds, whether sexual or not, should be prohibited.
joe schmoooo

Grand Rapids, MI

#22 Apr 22, 2008
i dont think anyone here has the brains god gave a goose

Since: Apr 08

I am right behind you

#23 Apr 22, 2008
Music teachers are unconventional in nature, compared to your English, Math, or Science teachers (or anyone else for that matter). I know, just as everyone else has said, that there sometimes has to be some physical contact (abdomen and back, sometimes even throat or upper chest, but not where the breasts usually are) when teaching someone to sing.

Teenage girls, for the most part, are drama queens, and believe almost anything, especially when it's other girls saying whatever it may be. To top it off, they are great at spinning a story out of control, and believing that whatever they say is the truth. I'm almost absolutely certain what happened in this case is one girl didn't like the teacher, and then told anyone else, and they believed it. Then, others got uncomfortable, and one or two others started to spin it out of control, especially by misreading the teacher's intentions.

I've had teachers say "I love you" in class, and I never found anything wrong with that. I didn't take it as a come-on. I just said "thank you", and knew that the teacher cared about her class.

Society sucks these days, I tell you... it's like people became stupid over the past few years.
not a golfer

Glen Spey, NY

#24 Apr 22, 2008
This is a witch hunt. There was no actual crime here... If it was any other place than ZEELAND, I might be suspicious of him but I can totally see this overreaction and gossip mongering happening there... I am VERY familiar with that there....

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