My twitter feed exploded with this opinion column from Betsy Karasik on WaPo explaining why sexual relations between students and teachers should be decriminalized. The teachers should be fired, but not prosecuted.
She Karasik uses anecdotal evidence from her own teen and college years to explain why it's all right when she says
I’ve been a 14-year-old girl, and so have all of my female friends. When it comes to having sex on the brain, teenage boys got nothin’ on us. When I was growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, the sexual boundaries between teachers and students were much fuzzier. Throughout high school, college and law school, I knew students who had sexual relations with teachers. To the best of my knowledge, these situations were all consensual in every honest meaning of the word, even if society would like to embrace the fantasy that a high school student can’t consent to sex. Although some feelings probably got bruised, no one I knew was horribly damaged and certainly no one died.
What she misses here is the blatant abuse of power a sexual relationship between teacher and student constitutes. Teachers, especially at the high school level, wield all sorts of power over their charges, from the power to issue detention to power over grades to the fact that they are legally in loco parentis while those students are under their care. I teach college English, and while the standing in for the parent issue is moot at that point, the rest of the power dynamic still remains. As a figure of authority, it is up to me to maintain healthy boundaries with those who come to me to learn, to not abuse that authority for my own physical or emotional gains. That is true of every teacher.
So yeah, WTF, WaPo.