Kate Aurthur, the West Coast Editor of The Daily Beast, personally endorses a story in Sunday's New York Times Magazine about sexual abuse by teachers at an exclusive New York private school, Horace Mann. That's because she spoke to the story's writer, Amos Kamil, and editor, Ariel Kaminer, about her own groping by a teacher with a reputation while she was a student there. Her incident, which she wrote about for the Daily Beast, came during her first driver training class.
Because it was midday, I had gotten a bagel with cream cheese that I planned to eat after. While I was putting on my seatbelt—pretty much the only thing I knew how to do in a driver’s seat—I momentarily placed the tin foil-wrapped bagel between my knees. As the seatbelt clicked, Mr. Klein said, “I wish I were where that bagel is.” I looked at him. He was vile, with Strom Thurmond-style red hair Brylcreemed onto his head. I thought about how his reputation had preceded him. How everyone knew that he had been a math teacher but because he was such a lech, the school had demoted him to driver’s ed. I glanced at my fellow classmate in the backseat, who shot me a bug-eyed, horrified look. I laughed nervously, started the car, and proceeded to be groped by Mr. Klein for the half-hour I drove through the Bronx streets.
This incident is by no measure the most disgusting thing that’s ever happened to me. It is, however, the reason I never got back in the car with Mr. Klein again. At age 29 I had to enlist in the Grand Prix Driving School in Manhattan with another loser friend who’d never gotten his license.
But mostly, it makes me think about kids, teachers, power, schools, and sexual abuse.
Aurthur and Kaminer are friends and attended Horace Mann together. Kamil attended several years earlier and remembers being warned in his first days to avoid certain predator teachers.