Legally Kidnapped

Shattering Your Child Welfare Delusions Since 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Society and the Teacher/student Love Epidemic

Author: Shay Rosen

It began to seep into the national conscious with the tawdry tale of Mary Kay Laterneau and her then teenaged lover Vili Fualaau. Most recently, middle school teacher Kelsey Peterson took a young student across state lines and into Mexico so that she could enjoy a sexual liaison with the boy away from the prying eyes of small town residents in the community they both lived.

Improper student teacher relationships are nothing new, and it’s certain that these stories commanded so much attention due to the fact that the teachers involved are women. Abusive, innocence stealing and morally corrupt teachers of both sexes have been taking advantage of student’s youth since the dawn of mankind. Of course, it’s no reflection on the profession as a whole, as a percentage from any other profession would undoubtedly be just as guilty were they exposed to children as part of their vocation. In fact, there’s no evidence to prove that it’s happening more frequently, only that it’s being publicized more widely in the current age of investigative media exposure.

What is apparent, however, is an unfortunate change in the way larger and larger segments of society perceive these relationships. This itself is a further indicator of the “dumbing down” of the US population and how an unhealthy dose of double standards have managed to remain in place while moral standards fall by the wayside.

Type in the name of almost any female teacher convicted of this crime and you’ll undoubtedly come across comment fields on blogs and under news feeds, most of which are rife with opinions on how society shouldn’t stand in the way of true love. Since when did a twelve or thirteen year old know what true love is? Some adults have no idea what it means to truly love someone, including themselves, which is why things of this nature happen in the first place. It’s awfully presumptuous to state that a couple must have found “true love” simply because the relationship has lasted. Battered women are often found to stay in abusive relationships, which no one condones. The fact that one form of abuse is more visible than another doesn’t make the latter any less damaging to the victim.

Another popular argument is that young boys, as opposed to young girls, are mature enough to know what they are doing. This is not only a generalized falsehood, but even if it is true between individuals of the same or opposite sex on a case by case basis, it doesn’t make the situation acceptable.

There are many children who are remarkably mature for their age in some respects, but never in all respects. More importantly, it’s amazing how people can assume a level of emotional maturity based solely on physical maturity. Just because a person s capable of doing something doesn’t mean they are ready, or are ready for the associated consequences.

That’s why we have laws to keep underage kids from drinking. Those laws are not only meant to protect children from the misuse of alcohol at an age where situations can quickly become out of control, but also to protect them from the future consequences of their present actions even if they are able to handle the consumption of alcohol. Can a child physically have sex with an adult? Certainly, but that doesn’t mean that any child is capable of dealing with the emotional consequences of experiencing sexual intercourse before they are ready, much less with an adult who is supposed to be in charge of their well being. Young boys in war torn regions of Africa often find themselves with a gun in their hand committing acts of brutal violence against innocent civilians. Does the fact that their trigger fingers are mature enough to work in the same way that an adults can make that situation acceptable?

If the public reacted to these occurrences with well deserved, universal disdain, it’s likely more of the few teachers who engage in this despicable behavior would think twice before doing so. If people continue to condone teachers having sex with their underage students, regardless of the gender teachers and students involved, it can only lead to more pain and suffering for not only the victims, but society as a whole.
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