Teachers must not cross boundaries
There is an epidemic in this nation’s schools. The problem is far more serious than standardized test scores, children not getting left behind and bars or other ill-reputed establishments opening their doors near schools.
The predicament is teachers having sex with students.
Jokes and references to songs such as Van Halen’s "Hot for Teacher" flourish when talking of the mere surface of such instances of teachers cavorting with students. The year the Van Halen song was released and the name of the album from which it came, 1984, could very well have been a simpler time, and when one reads the lyrics to the song there is not a mention of actually having physical contact with the teacher. It is more of a fantasy.
Twenty-four years ago this might have been just talk between boys about their attractive history teacher, or girls in a school discussing the cuteness of a science instructor. All very innocent for a time when going to school was much simpler; gun-toting third graders were not as prevalent and a kid could walk home from school without much fear of being accosted by a pedophile.
Today’s youths have so much to contend, with and we expect them to grow up sooner than their age and to make hard decisions about everything from whether to log on to MySpace to succumbing to peer pressure about drug use or casual sex.
Now students must scrutinize their teachers more closely as well. Arizona teacher Angela Csader had been charged with three counts of sexual misconduct, and six months later was still on the job at the head of her kindergarten class, The Associated Press reported. Csader is just the latest in a slew of teachers taken off the job because of sexual relationships with students.
Outside of parents and relatives, a teacher is among the most trusted individuals charged with the education and socialization of children. What does it say when a teacher thinks it not only appropriate to have a sexual relationship with an underage student but to continue the role as educator? It speaks to a breakdown in moral fiber and character that should have been instilled in these "adults" long before they considered teaching as a vocation.
This is not to rail against every teacher. There are those now trying their hardest to get students in the passing percentage on mandated tests and even more who might lose their positions because of students’ inability to pass these tests – like the 25 teachers in the Dallas area who, The Houston Chronicle reported, will be fired because of poor student performance on state exams. Most teachers show up to work every day with the hope that their students might have a breakthrough and perform better than they did the day before.
Yet, there is the small percentage of teachers who feel classrooms are their own personal stomping ground to seek out a partner for activities that ought to occur between two consenting adults.
Are these ill-mannered teachers unaware of Internet dating sites? Are there no other places for these teachers to seek companionship than schoolyards? Of course there are, but these so-called "adults" go out of their way to prey upon children who need a parent’s permission to go on a field trip to a museum.
Take the case of newly arrested Houston-area teacher Christopher Evans, who is charged with two counts of sexual assault and one count of indecency of a child, as reported in The Chronicle. Evans, a now former teacher at North Houston’s New Heights Christian Academy, would touch, hug, kiss and even lay his head in the laps of his female students, the Chronicle reported. On what planet does this guy think this type of behavior is at all appropriate?
Such a blatant violation of one’s role as educator, authority figure and human being should not be tolerated or even experienced by children in school.
Though these teachers turned sex offenders are rooted out eventually, this is little consolation to those students who are now victims; however, it is comforting to see the mug shots splashed in the newspaper and on national newscasts drawing attention to the faces of those few who have sullied teachers everywhere.
For now, parents will glare at teachers when picking up children from school, principals will watch over the teachers under their charge closer and school districts will have to figure out how to prevent sex offenders from entering a classroom. Furthermore, educators who willingly blur the relationship lines between teacher and student are cautioned that they will one day appear on state and national sex offender databases.