Earlier this week, a former teacher at Emporia High School pleaded guilty to two felony charges of sexual misconduct with students:
1. Attempted unlawful sexual relations — teacher with a student; and
2. Indecent liberties with a child under 16.
These legal descriptions are just cleaned up ways of describing some perverted and disgusting actions that happened in the teacher’s own classroom at Emporia High School and with his own students.
The fact that a teacher would attempt to have sex with a student and fail to recognize appropriate physical and emotional boundaries with a student should horrify us ... and cause us to demand some answers.
This is not some random news headline from a random small town in some random part of the country that has no immediate impact on our lives. This story has been unfolding right here in Emporia for some time now. It involves a long-time, trusted, and well-known teacher in town and several local Emporia kids who were victimized by his gross indiscretion over an extended period of time.
The victims have spent the last year of their lives issuing depositions, meeting with the county attorney, and participating in the whole legal process of prosecuting one of their teachers who did some very bad things.
These kids could have been anyone’s kids. In fact, there were more charges made against him from four more students, but because of how the legal system works and in order to get a charge to “stick,” they were whittled down to just two separate felony charges.
Mr. Bosiljevac got his day in court and it’s good to see guilty pleas to at least part of what he was originally charged with. (And even though he wasn’t convicted on the other counts, it doesn’t mean they didn’t happen or that those other students weren’t impacted by his actions.)
Of course, the sentencing is yet to come, but this isn’t the end of the story. In fact, this should be the beginning of a vigorous conversation about what isn’t working and what we can do to ensure something as horrifying as this never happens again in Emporia schools.
It is shocking that the story has made local, state, and national news over the last 12 months, and yet has not garnished a statement from our school district about the seriousness of what was obviously going on inside one of their schools, their disdain for it, and what they are going to do about it.
Something is obviously not working.
We hope that changes.