The NT News story (Territory kids walk to school safely 17/5)
reinforced the fact that male teachers and principals need to be constantly on guard against community perceptions that can misinterpret and misconstrue their social behaviours. It was perfectly natural for Acting Larrakeyah School Principal Natasha Guse to be photographed holding the hands of two girls in preparation for this year’s ‘walk to school safely’ day. In fact, it would have been wholly appropriate for any female principal to have been in the promotional photograph.
That would not have been acceptable if the principal had been a male. At the very least, eyebrows would have been raised and there may have been more in depth questioning and follow up. A male principal holding hands or making physical context with students in such a photo could at the very least, expect to be counselled about the need for behavioural propriety.
Males connected with teaching in these modern times are faced with barriers and limitations on conduct that do not impact upon female teachers and educators. With the passing of years, those stringencies are becoming more pronounced.