In the wake of a decision by the district attorney not to bring charges against two teachers who had sex with a high school student, some people wonder whether the state's laws are strong enough. At least two legislators have proposed changes to toughen laws against student-teacher sex. Is it necessary? And will the changes protect students? Or will they encroach on the rights of consenting adults?
Terri Miller, President, Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation
Assemblyman Jason Frierson, District 8
Assemblywoman Marilyn Dondero Loop, District 5
Amanda Fulkerson, spokeswoman, Clark County School District
Seems like you're all too old to remember what it's like to be a hormonal teenager. I would have loved to hookup with a hot teacher. If we are over the age of 16, we are not victims. I dont get it, if the law says those over the age of 16 are capable of having a sexual relationship, why does the state get to dictate who that's with? We seem to be fighting human nature with more and more useless legislation and creating criminals of everyone. Someone mentioned that "looking at a student" could be construed as sexual harrassment. Dont send all my teachers to jail please. Why dont we make growing breasts before the age of consent illegal too? There are real crimes against children and the vulnerable, none of which take place in Highschool. John M –Dec 3, 2012 17:14:41 PM
This issue is not restricted to educators, but this is a specific example of a situation where an adult can have knowledge of the vulnerabilities and needs of children and use those vulnerabilities to exploit those children. It is not surprising that often teens, especially older teens, will not press charges or come forward. If children lack support and loving environments at home or in other parts of their lives and an adult, like a teacher, shows them affection, they often feel flattered and may "willingly" engage in a relationship, however I think that we need to acknowledge that these children are really not able to developmentally consent to a sexual relationship with an adult and understand all that that means. Adults need to take responsibility, and we need to appropriately describe these as situations of molestation and abuse. Daniele Dreitzer –Dec 3, 2012 09:40:25 AM
While I agree with all the efforts to address this issue - I see no reason why educators alone should be targeted in the legislation. What about employers and others who hire high school students under the age of 18? What about the dropouts who knew a teacher prior to leaving school? Undue influence and unequal power distributions occure outside the school setting as well - and may not direclty involve a licensed educator. Confining this only to persons within the education field seems overly limiting and incomplete. Protection for children needs to be comprehensive to be a workable and provide for an effective legal protection.Gary Waters –Dec 3, 2012 09:24:16 AM