Turchin's Take: Terrible teaching

Author: John Turchin, Crime Specialist, jturchin@local10.com
Published On: Apr 18 2012 03:57:04 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 18 2012 04:24:59 PM EDT

The last couple of years, dozens of teachers have been arrested for having sex with their students. Where are the moral standards of these teachers? Isn’t the primary responsibility of a teacher to educate our kids, the next generation, not demoralize our society's values and beliefs?

Teachers are adults and role models. Students are children and naive. It is completely inappropriate for a teacher to engage in a sexual relationship with a student.

How would you react if you found out your daughter and her teacher were having sex? What about your son with a female teacher? I can hear some of you now, ‘good for him, a notch on his belt.’ No. It’s wrong. It’s sexual assault no matter how you look at it.

And, no matter how mature a child may seem, they are still children - minors!  It makes me sick to my stomach to even think about this situation.  I remember a friend of mine in high school; she was 16 at the time, having sex with a male teacher. It went on for quite a while. I blew it off at the time, but looking back – it was wrong. He was twenty years older than her. She didn’t know any better then. He did. That’s the bottom line.

Sadly, for most that are caught, their sentences are usually something ridiculous, like probation or a slap on the wrist. In the case of former Broward County teacher Kristen Sullivan it was a little harsher. Accused of having sex with one of her middle school students, she accepted a plea deal allowing her to avoid sexual predator status. She will serve three years in prison, followed by five years of probation in exchange for not being labeled a sexual predator.

So, why would a mature professional man or woman, often married, ruin his or her career, his or her life and their family’s life to sleep with a 14 year old or 16 year old? How sick do you have to be? How little self-esteem do you have to have? How desperate?

Dr. Robert Shoop, Director of the Cargill Center for Ethical Leadership at Kansas State University and author of “Sexual Exploitation in Schools” says “these teachers have a poor concept of boundaries, so they don't recognize when they've crossed the line into inappropriate behavior.”                                                                                                                                                                        

Whatever the reason, people like this do not need to be teaching.  Nor do I want these people around me or my kids. I have five, by the way. My youngest daughters are ninth graders. I consider these people pedophiles. So does the law.

Teachers are in a position of power and authority, while students are in a more subordinate position and relatively powerless. You shouldn't have sex with your doctor, your pastor, your employer or other people in positions of power -- teachers included.