I was appalled by the story of Fairfax teacher Michael Bullock, who committed suicide after an alleged sexual harassment probe {"A Complaint, a Harassment Probe, a Teacher's Suicide," front page, June 6}. While I am unable to comment on all of the purported instances in which Mr. Bullock supposedly made inappropriate remarks or otherwise offended some students, the particular case described in your article, if correctly reported, seems to indict the student and the Fairfax school system rather than the teacher.

The article states that the female student repeatedly poked Mr. Bullock in the chest, and when he requested that the student cease this unwelcome (and illegal behavior), she made a remark about the size of his chest. Mr. Bullock then responded with a remark concerning her chest size. This scenario raises a number of questions.

First of all, what right does the student have to put hands on the teacher without some disciplinary action on the part of the school? Second, why is her remark concerning his chest size dismissed, but his response regarding her chest size accepted as harassment? This situation is clearly inequitable. The female student is perfectly free to assault, insult and humiliate a dedicated teacher in his classroom, in front of his students, and his non-physical defense is the only thing that is prosecuted. What on Earth is happening to our society? I cannot believe that the teachers in Fairfax County would accept such a travesty of justice. They, too, may be subject to similar treatment.

It would appear that in its eagerness to pander to those who find sexual harassment in every vestige of society, the Fairfax school system has only succeeded in destroying a dedicated math teacher.


I am a former student of Michael T. Bullock. He was an unorthodox, loud and sometimes crude man who loved teaching and his students more than anything else. He held special classes in his home on Saturdays, worked after school with the sports program and was our class sponsor. He would get frustrated with our frustrations and seek new ways to make the academic material more understandable.

Michael Bullock was under investigation for a somewhat inappropriate remark that was provoked by the complaining party. As a result he was put on administrative leave, an investigation was being conducted and (I assume) a substitute teacher was being paid to attend to Mr. Bullock's classes.

When a teacher is blatantly hostile, lewd, hurtful or physically abusive, measures must be taken. This, however, is a gross mishandling of a caring teacher and public funds. I am appalled that taxes were used to churn up a matter that could have been better handled with an apology on both sides of the initial incident.

Now we have lost someone who tried to make a difference. He didn't always adhere to all the guidelines, but who always wants a rule follower? Do we want our teachers to be so afraid of repercussions from class interaction that they stick to boring and sometimes outdated teaching methods and become what too many of them already are, ineffective?

So many things are wrong with what happened, but it comes to this, a good and caring teaching took his life, public funds were misused and the students will be the ones to suffer.