The Silent Victims of the Laurence Einuis Allegations

images (2)When the news first broke about accusations against West Springfield High School (WSHS) Band Director and Teacher Laurence Einuis having sexually inappropriate relations or conversation with a student came I was floored.  Simply shocked by what I had heard about a teacher that was a big part of my life.  As the days have come and gone since his arrest I’ve sat on the edge of my seat waiting for the next bit of news. What is going on?

I have so many questions about the case and what the police are finding.  I have so many thoughts flying around in my head because I simply am having trouble digesting the news and figuring out how to feel about it. With that in mind, I took to my blog.  I realized that the people around me now, 10 years after graduating from West Springfield High School and moving away, don’t have the same emotional attachment to this situation as I do.  None-the-less I needed an outlet.

Slowly I am learning that I am not alone.  I’ve received so much private feedback on this blog, emails, Facebook messages and calls from current students at WSHS, past students I’ve never met, teachers I use to have when I was a student at the school and former classmates who were in Mr. Einuis’ band class with me.  I’ve been overwhelmed trying to think what to do next. How do I respond.  It wasn’t my original thought that so many people would be reaching out to me so I had no plan on what to say to them.  What should I say? I’m not involved in this issue, I’m just a former student of Mr. Einuis’ who feels very emotional about all that has been going on.  Well, that’s what I can do. I can let all those other past and current students, past and current colleagues of Mr. Einuis’ and past and present family members of his students share their thoughts and talk. I ask that if you feel like you need an outlet to find one.  Reach out to anyone until you find that person that you can talk to about all that is going on.  If you are a current student at the school, from what I have seen recently, the counselor’s and staff deeply care about you and want to be there for you.

I wanted to share a note I received from a current student at West Springfield High School.  While I have received his/her permission to share this email I am omitting any information that impedes upon this students privacy including gender, name, and grade level:

I’m so sorry that this Einuis thing has been affecting you too. I was googling Einuis’s name again to see if any new information had popped up when I saw your blog. I’m a [STUDENT’S GRADE LEVEL HAS BEEN OMITTED] at West Springfield, and [OMITTED IDENTIFYING  INFORMATION]. I wish that I could say that we know more here in Springfield than you do in California, but we don’t. Only that we were just as shocked. There were no warning signs that anyone could see. I don’t even remember if I saw him pass a note to anyone in class, but I’m sure that it would have seemed so common it wouldn’t have merited remembrance. The day that all of this broke out, the administrators took him in the middle of our wind symphony rehearsal 3rd period to arrest him in the parking lot so that we couldn’t see. I didn’t believe that it could be anything more than a misunderstanding at first. Certainly he has an off-color sense of humor, and I initially assumed that he finally told the wrong joke to the wrong student. I have to agree, however, with the most recent information that as much as all that I know of this man from my time in high school makes me want to defend him, I’m afraid that he probably isn’t worthy of that defense. I’m not really sure why I’m writing this, partially to inform you if your friends and family aren’t as connected to the school as someone currently enrolled, and partly because it’s comforting to know that others are feeling the same way even years after leaving high school and while living on the other side of the country. Thank you for blogging about this, and I hope that for all of the students’ and alumni’s sake that all of this is resolved soon.

I think this student said it best when s/he wrote, “partly because it’s comforting to know that others are feeling the same way even years after leaving high school and while living on the other side of the country.”  That’s what I think a lot of us are looking for. Comfort to know we aren’t alone in the feelings we are having.

I’ve said it in various ways before, but I feel adamant about the importance in community and keeping in mind just how many people are being affected by this situation and hurting from it. The numbers of victims in this situation seem never ending when you step back.

Obviously my heart aches for the alleged victims and their family members who are directly affected by this situation. I can’t imagine what they are going through, but I also ache for the silent victims and people having to cope with this.  From Mr. Einuis’ family, to Mr. Einuis himself, to  WSHS current and past students and staff and anyone else that feels distraught by this. And yes, I do consider all of the people who are hurting or confused by this as victims.  Not that I need to explain why, but the definition of a victim is “someone or something that is harmed by an unpleasant event.” To me that is all of you.
Rest assured that if you are upset with this story you aren’t alone and no matter when you knew Mr. Einuis or were involved with WSHS you have every right to feeling distraught by this.
I think the current and past teachers and staff I have spoken to at WSHS have said it best to me when I asked, and I have asked multiple people, why we are all so upset by this (current students, current staff, past students, past staff and the general public) when I was told by one person:

 

I agree that it feels very personal [to all of us past and present].  This is someone we once considered a friend… someone who was invited into our homes, lives, etc.  We feel betrayed, and I think, really, most of us should because we trusted him. This makes students and those who have trusted and worked with him in the past and present question the motivation in every conversation we’d ever had… I get the feeling of having someone you respect fall “off the pedestal” so to speak. It stinks, for everyone.  So it makes sense it feels personal. It’s personal for everyone who feels their trust has been betrayed.

 

I think, as we continue to wait for more information to be released the best thing to do is to:
  1. Know you aren’t alone. A lot of people have strong emotions about these allegations.
  2. Talk to anyone you can about your feelings. Don’t question these types of situations alone.  Talk to your parents, classmates, teachers, counselors, therapists or do what this girl did and write someone and share your feelings for the sole purpose of being heard.  Sometimes we just need to know our feelings are heard and that there are people out there who relate to our feelings.
  3. Setup a Google alert for Laurence Einuis. So many of you have written me saying you came across my blog Googling Laurence Einuis.  Save yourself some time and have any new information added on the web emailed directly to you or check back here as I will try to keep updated as well.

Thank you for all your input, comments, feedback and support.  I have great memories at West Springfield High School and as I’ve started reconnecting with people from my High School past and connecting for the first time with many people who are now actively involved with the WSHS community I remember why. We are a caring, compassionate, loving, and smart community of people.

 

TO LEAVE PUBLIC COMMENTS PLEASE CLICK REPLY BELOW OR TO SEND ME PRIVATE FEEDBACK USE THE CONTACT FORM HERE.