Sleeping with students is class-less
By Ana Billotti
Round Table web producer
Sexual harassment by teachers, coaches or other school faculty of students in schools across the United States is an ongoing problem. As recently as February of this year, a teacher in Florida was arrested for inappropriate sexual contact with a student.
It is concerning that teachers and students are engaging in relationships outside of school. Teachers should and need to be professionals; they are hired to help students learn, grow and become capable individuals. They should not be partaking in a relationship that will never be accepted by the public and will only hurt those involved.
In 2007, Associated Press released a study in which it found “more than 2,500 cases over five years in which educators were punished for actions from bizarre to sadistic.” That was five years ago and, unfortunately, it seems as though that statistic has not improved.
Why do teachers and students engage in inappropriate relationships? Why do they step beyond the boundaries that are clearly defined? Why do teachers and students blur the lines between appropriate relationships and something that is far much worse?
No one is arguing that teacher-student relationships that go beyond the norm are okay. Well, except maybe the teacher and student involved.
Mary Kay Letourneau and Vili Fualaau are two such individuals who blurred the line of their teacher-student relationship. Letourneau was a teacher in Des Moines, Wash., when she began her relationship with then 13-year-old Fualaau.
Letourneau was eventually arrested after her former husband (whom she was married to while involved with Fualaau) notified the police. Letourneau served time in jail, but that didn’t stop her and Fualaau’s relationship. Today, they are married and have two kids.
The case of Letourneau and Fualaau is one of the most well-known cases of a teacher having a relationship with a student. When the story first came out in 1997, it broke national headlines. In the years since, the pair has been interviewed repeatedly and their wedding in 2005 was videotaped and sold to the press.
In recent years, more teachers have been caught having inappropriate relationships with students. Scott Spear, a former teacher and coach at a school in Maryland, was charged with a fourth-degree sex offense due to sleeping “with a 16-year-old female student from Richard Montgomery High School.”
Yet, in a surprising twist, Spear has been cleared of all charges. The normal reaction to this information should be “Why?”
According to Maryland state law, only full-time school personnel can be charged with having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student. Spear was only a part-time employee and was therefore able to get the charges against him dropped.
Spear now hopes to get his life and job back, reports CBS Baltimore.
This loophole in the law is incomprehensible. How can a teacher who was charged by the police with having sexual relations with a student get off scot-free? Spear, along with any other teacher who is caught having a relationship outside of school with a student, should be punished to the full extent of the law.
How dare a teacher walk away from this, not only without punishment, but with the possibility of once again working in a school system? These teachers have engaged in a relationship with a child and they are able to work with children again? That is so clearly flawed; it’s insane.
These young students, victims of an inappropriate adult relationship, are now going to be scarred for life. They will always carry the memories around with them and that is something that no young child should ever be forced to live with.
It is saddening that, in today’s world, the public no longer finds it shocking to hear that another teacher, coach or anyone in an advisory position has had an inappropriate relationship with a student. It is even sadder that the adults are often times able to get away with it.