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    Teacher Student Sex Scandals and Double Standards

    challenge posed by Andy Nash 104 days 23 hours 28 minutes ago

    Category: Education
    Challenge Forum

    Teacher Student Sex Scandals and Double Standards

    With 26-year-old married Stephanie Peterson accused of having sex with a 14-year-old student in Florida, teacher-student sex scandals are on the rise. It’s estimated that female perpetrated sex offenses account for about 10% of all reported nationwide, and for about a third in teacher-student cases. Sadly, the amount of teacher-student sexual misconduct has gone up, and the number of female-on-male transgressions increasing as well. But if the media were any indication, you’d think the majority were female, as there are far more salacious stories of reporting on female teachers.

    Some blame increased use by more students of smartphones and social media; and that female teachers tend to ‘lure’ their victims via social media more so than male teachers. I did a previous forum on whether schools should ban social media interaction b/w teachers & students altogether.

    One of the Psychologists and experts suggest that for males the motivation is usually just lust, but with women, some of whom were married, it’s a mix of a desire for power or control, or living out some fantasy, or they’re looking for affection.

    Whatever the reasons, the question of double standards arise. It seems both parents, especially a father, would be outraged if a male teacher preys upon a female student. But female on male, maybe not so much. Perhaps the mothers might, but the fathers especially, not as much. While cases vary with charges and circumstances, punishments generally seem lighter (more probation, less jail time) for females unless convicted of assault or rape. Should we be less afraid for our sons than our daughters? And is there a double standard in the media for reporting more heavily on female teachers than males?

    What do you think is at the root of the rise in this behavior, particularly among female teachers? And is society to blame writ large for somehow thinking that a male teen is perhaps less adversely affected than a female teen? Nevertheless, people in whom we place our trust as students and parents betray that trust more often, feeding a viscous circle of abused kids, as some perpetrators were abused themselves. What do you think would help reverse the trend?

    Re: Teacher Student Sex Scandals and Double Standards

    I think this is an extremely interesting topic. While I feel in general (outside a school setting) there are more males sexually harassing women than female to male, in schools I have been hearing about it the opposite. Every story I hear lately is about sexual encounters with a teacher and student is a female teacher. I think while this scenario happens with male teachers, it is more of a problem in the media with women. I feel they should be punished as a man would and not lightly. They are still preying on these young children and are committing child molestation. These acts should not be treated loosely because they are females. This is a big issue that needs to be addressed.

    Re: Teacher Student Sex Scandals and Double Standards

    Hey Andy!

    It is extremely disturbing and sickening that any teacher male or female is abusing their privilege to be an educator and instead is using that power to molest children... what is wrong with people?!! The only reason why I could think women are treated less harshly than their male counterparts who also molested is because of social norms. Society often views women as nurturers and caretakers, and thus when they do these heinous acts it is seen as something less aggressive and harmful than if a man does it. This should not be the case! It completely minimizes the fact that they molested their student. I don't care if the teacher is male or female, if they are going to sexual abuse children they need to be punished harshly with jail time. When I was researching this before responding, it was really eye opening and sad how prevalent sexual abuse is between teachers and their students :(

    Best,

    Abby

    Re: Teacher Student Sex Scandals and Double Standards

    I don't think that there is an unusual rise in behavior, merely it is just being exposed more and spread by the more recent phenomenon of social media. I believe that society is definitely to blame for perpetuating the double standard. It comes down to the classic belief in the "right of passage" that a young man sleeping with an older woman makes him a man and he should be congratulated. That doesn't make it right by any means, it is just engrained in our culture. I think that more strict laws on teacher/student communication should be enforced and that young male teens should receive more education about how female teachers can pose a risk and how they should be aware when they are being taken advantage of.

    Re: Teacher Student Sex Scandals and Double Standards

    Hey!

    I do not think we should be less scared for our sons than our daughters. Whether a child male or female is victimized by an older individual, that should be cause for alarm. If a female teacher wants a relationship with a young male student, that is just as bad a male teacher preying on a female student. These double standards are mainly due to social constructions we have created in our society. We believe that males are stronger than females and that they are also capable of protecting themselves. Whereas a female is weak and needs constant protection from all forces. But a child regardless of gender does not have the mental ability to realize that they are being taken advantage of. They may think that they are in an amazing relationship because they are dating their teacher. It is sick.

    Thank you for this forum I hope you have a great day!

    Tom

    Re: Teacher Student Sex Scandals and Double Standards

    Howdy Andy Nash,

    At my past high school there were 2 sex scandals. One was with a female guidance counselor and the other with a male teacher. The male teacher was accused multiple times, by multiple students, however was never found guilty. There was also very little media attention put onto this teacher. The female guidance counselor on the other end was given a tremendous amount of media attention before being found guilty and she was later found guilty.

    For the most part, I don't think anyone should live in fear for the sons or daughters. Sexual assault cases have actually went down in the past 20 years (https://www.rainn.org/statistics/scope-problem). I think the media is just trying to push the stories that will get the most eyes. Society definitely sees males less impacted by sexual assaults, however I don't think many people view them as not impacted at all. Pretty much everyone agrees that sexual assault is bad for any child impacted though.

    Thanks for Reading,

    Tera

    Re: Teacher Student Sex Scandals and Double Standards

    Before getting into the topic to much, I will say that I support the punishments being handed out fairly to both men and women. The law, more so the prosecutors and judges, should not alter the consequences based on the gender of the perpetrator.

    I do agree that these issues and situations are being brought to light more often due to the rise of social media and the ability to track interactions between teachers and students. I believe those in power positions have always exploited those under them, no matter the gender sense the birth of civilization. I see no difference between male or female when they chose to molest children and create an unsafe environment for which those kids have to go to everyday. As a society, we need to better groom our teachers and instructors, not just for the case of better academics, but also for better role models to our children. Our children are the future of our own society, and if we let them be abused and molested, then they will grow and continue those same practices.

    Re: Teacher Student Sex Scandals and Double Standards

    Hi Andy,

    This is a deeply concerning issue, especially for me as a soon-to-be licensed teacher. I think we need to first of all teach our students to be aware of all questionable physical, verbal, and online contact with teachers and fellow students. Teachers in New York have to attend a 6-hour DASA (Dignity for All Students Act) training course which, among other things, discusses the dangers of harassment (sexual and otherwise), cyberbullying, and other such issues in the classroom, as well as the right of every student to receive a complete and equal education in a safe, nurturing environment. I think every state needs to have this, and every teacher needs to have annual training in these areas.

    Abused individuals, as you mentioned, often were previously abused, and all are trying to fulfill a desire. You mentioned that desire as different for men than women, but I believe it to be essentially the same. Those seeking sexual intimacy with someone crave the deep connection, comfort, and fulfillment it brings them. Maybe on the surface it may look like just lust, but all humans crave that deep connection with another person. If they have been previously abused, feel extraordinarily alone, or have other deep-seated unsolved needs, they may become desperate enough to sexually abuse another. What abusers fail to realize is that this connection is so much more meaningful and so much more fulfilling if it's with someone who feels the same. I'm not attempting to excuse the behavior of the abuser, but rather trying to understand the abuser's motivation in order to find a solution to the problem.

    I think a portion of the problem may be due to the failure of our mental health care system in the U.S. The scars of abuse often last a lifetime, but so many of the abused or mentally disturbed could have been prevented from becoming abusers through affordable, accessible therapy. Abusers may also show warning signs, though slight, that those in proximity to the abuser may be able to see beforehand. Schools should offer training courses for students and teachers to outline the parameters of appropriate conduct, prevent getting into potentially dangerous situations, and handle oneself in such situations. Having a second or third teacher in the room may also help.

    In general, men seem to get more publicity and harsher punishments for the same sexual misconduct crimes, which I don't think is fair. More to say but running out of space!

    Thanks,
    Rebecca

    Re: Teacher Student Sex Scandals and Double Standards

    Hi Andy,

    This is an interesting topic, and very relevant given the times we live in. I can't comprehend what attributes to the rise in this kind of behavior, only that I hope that it stops. The media definitely portrays the female teacher male student relationship more often than the latter. I agree with Tom's post above, this is alarming and we need to ensure that are students are cared of and that this is not taken lightly. It's sad that lately so many of our worries for our children are occurring in school, a zone we would like to consider safe.

    I think that social media plays a big role in all of our major issues in our country, specifically right now. When news happens, it happens very publicly. It's a great tool for raising awareness, but sometimes I think that maybe it gives people ideas to do horrible things. I pray that these issues get resolved and we can safely send our children to school and that they grow up in a safer world.

    Thanks for the interesting post!
    Megan

    Re: Teacher Student Sex Scandals and Double Standards

    The root of the problem with this double standard is solely the media. I feel as if men, stereotypically are portrayed to be more dangerous than a woman. When however, this is not the case. Both genders are capable of doing good and bad, this has been shown throughout history. You should be tried and convicted according to your crime and not in accordance to your gender.

    This is just one of the issues with today world that social media is majorly responsible for. They portray things in way so that they seem better than they really are. A crime is a crime, and you definitely should not receive any type of lenience for the actions you chose to take.

    Thanks for Reading!

    Re: Teacher Student Sex Scandals and Double Standards

    I believe that one of the solutions is to train kids when they are in elementary school to learn what is safe and what is wrong for an adult to do to your body. Show them how to deal with it in an emotional and how to tell someone that person trusts about what is happening so that it doesn't happen anymore.

    Re: Teacher Student Sex Scandals and Double Standards

    Hey Andy,

    Great topic. As a parent and the spouse of an LEO, I worry constantly about the stuff I hear going on between the adults that we trust to care for our children. It makes me absolutely sick and even at such a young age, I constantly try and stress communication with my daughter and truly try and listen to what she is saying.

    We as parents have to be very cognizant of all situations our children are in. We need to know and make our presence known among these adults that we are paying attention and are engaged and are also willing and able to take action.

    Bottom line, it is not acceptable for either gender and we have GOT to give the innocence back to our children and let them grow up with normal experiences. We all need to be aware of our surroundings and if you notice or feel a child is being abused or subjected to something, you have GOT to speak up and do something about it!


    Thanks,
    Morgan

    Re: Teacher Student Sex Scandals and Double Standards

    1. Any educator having a romantic type of relationship, sexual or not, with a student should be severely disciplined. Certainly if it is sexual, then the teacher should have his or her license to teach revoked. Why? Because if not, we are sending mixed messages to everyone. That we only care about this if someone complains. If no one complains, then what's the big deal!?? We must make sure adults know that this is not okay!

    2. I am wondering if women, as you say, are more complicated in their motives? Is it okay if the two individuals are in love and want to be together? I still say no!

    3. Today's adolescents are bombarded with sexual messages. It is no surprise that they sometimes are luring adults in, whether they realize it or not. A vulnerable teacher, not in a good emotional place should be very careful to not let his or her guard down!

    Re: Teacher Student Sex Scandals and Double Standards

    We should not be less afraid for our sons than our daughters. Male victims of sexual abuse have every right that female victims do. The reason there is a legal age to consent to sex is that we cannot trust children to be making these decisions on their own. There needs to be an age where we draw the line and say this is too young. Teachers are in a position of power over their students and some students may be blinded by that and consent to sex that they would otherwise never consent to. There is a double standard in the media and in the courtroom when it comes to male victims or female victims and we need to be protesting that and getting that changed.

    I am not sure that there is an actual rise to the behavior or just a rise to the reporting of the behavior. It was not acceptable for victims to come forward for a long time in our history, and male victims of female abusers were especially not keen on coming forward because they would be teased for calling it abuse. We can blame society for that.

    The excuse that “abused people abuse people” is pretty silly because the majority of survivors do not go on to abuse others, and many abusers were not abused. Abuse is a choice of the abuser, and no other factors are to blame. With education, support for victims, and harsher sentences for abusers, we can stop abuse from happening to our children.

    Monica M.