Dr Phil: The Student and the Professor
Dr Phil looked into a case of stalking and a dispute between a teacher and a former student that began when Kaila was a freshman in fall 2013. She became close with psychology professor Laura, and the two began connecting outside of the classroom.
One night, Kaila was sleeping at Laura’s house and had to go to the emergency room. When she returned, she was shocked to find that many of her possessions had been moved into Laura’s home. But she must not have been too uncomfortable, because she left her stuff there for months.
Dr Phil: Fired Over Fake Text Messages
When the two parted ways as friends, Kaila claimed that Laura sent her text messages as harassment. She showed them to the police and school officials. Ultimately, Laura lost her job, even though the police concluded that she did not send the messages. The women have been unable to put the past behind them, so they turned to Dr Phil for some help.
Dr Phil first wondered about Kaila living at Laura’s home. Laura recalled the incident when she called 911 due to Kaila’s stomach pain. She felt that the first responders were not taking her seriously, and later she found out that they suspected Kaila was trying to get painkillers to feed an addiction.
Dr Phil: Harassment Via Electronic Communications
Laura also recalled having her son and a group of others help move Kaila’s things into the house. She seemed to think she was acting in the best interests of the student. I suspect that it’s always a good idea to be cautious about inviting people into your home as tenants, especially if you have a professional relationship with them, as a teacher would with a student.
Later, when Kaila took text message evidence to the police, Laura was charged with a felony for harassment via electronic communications. Dr Phil noted that the charges were dropped, and Laura said that is because she never sent the death threats. Phone records proved that the messages did not come from her phone.
Dr Phil: Did Kaila Create the Fake Text Messages?
“It turns out that there are cell phone apps that you can download where you can send fake text messages to other people,” Laura said. Dr Phil showed one of the text messages in question and compared it to messages between Kaila and Laura that are not in dispute.
Kaila had a tell that might give her away: either as a quirk of her own speech or due to the autocorrect function on her phone, Kaila frequently capitalizes the word “But,” even in the middle of a sentence. Among the messages that Laura was accused of sending was one that capitalized the B in “But,” and Dr Phil insinuated that Kaila actually fabricated the messages to make trouble for Laura.
Dr Phil: #StalkingDrama
Laura did lose her job due to all this #StalkingDrama. Her dismissal was part of her former employer’s zero tolerance policy regarding violence and threats. Though she has been vindicated by the police department, her position had yet to be reinstated.
“I would feel compelled to hire you back, and then I would immediately fire you for inappropriate conduct as a college professor, because you don’t recognize boundaries,” Dr Phil said. He told her it was inappropriate to move a student in and share text answers with her.
Dr Phil: Can Laura’s Career Recover?
Dr Phil also told Laura that she was not qualified to help Kaila deal with the issues in her life, which might have included an eating disorder, among other behavioral concerns. I wonder what new career Laura might consider once she puts this incident behind her.
Was Laura hoping that taking her case to Dr Phil’s audience would help to clear her name? I can see the value in that among her peers, perhaps. Hopefully Laura has learned a valuable lesson and can rebound from this.
Dr Phil: What Should I Do If I Am Wrongfully Accused?
How can you move on when you have been wrongfully accused? Dr Phil has talked about this topic in the past. His advice has a lot to do with getting real about the situation. Think practically about what power you truly have to change the circumstances. The unfortunate truth may be that you have to accept that you were put in a negative position, and you have to just move forward from there.
This seems like a golden opportunity to be the bigger person. Unless you want to continue reliving the trauma for the rest of your life, you will have to get good at ignoring rumors and innuendo. You can also appeal to the people closest to you in your life, who are most likely to accept and believe your truthful version of the events.
Do you have any advice for Laura now that she has hopefully put this situation in her past once and for all?