|Sex Between a Teacher and an 18-Year-Old Student - Illegal?
||[Mar. 31st, 2012|09:14 pm]
BucktownTiger, Lead Shopwrecker
Do you think that a sexual relationship between a teacher and an 18-year-old student should be against the law?
The Arkansas Supreme Court struck down a law that banned sexual relations between school faculty (teachers, coaches, counselors, and principals, etc.) and all students of that school that are under age 21. The court held the law was unconstitutional, and that sexual relations between consenting adults is protected under the Constitution. Twenty-four states have laws on the books banning sex between teachers and students, and California is considering drafting a law similar to the law that was struck down in Arkansas. Similar laws in other states have been upheld by their respective state supreme courts.
What say you? Do you feel that all sexual relationships between teachers and students should be banned?
As for my take: I don't see anything wrong with it, in this case. The student was 18, and the relationship was consensual. Not only was the student above the age of consent (16 in Arkansas), but the student was an adult. If the student was coerced in any way by the teacher, then that's a different matter, but in this case, the relationship was consensual. I see nothing wrong with it, Sure, I may be upset at the situation, but I definitely would not advocate that the teacher be locked up for 36 years, as the teacher in the case linked to above was. If the student was coerced into it by the teacher, then that's rape/assault no matter how old they are. If they were not - then who am I - or you - to stop adults from having consensual sex?
If the above law were upheld, then what would stop this from being expanded to college students? What would stop it from being expanded to include sex between ANY teacher and ANY student under age 21 (not just students at their school or in their class)? What would stop it from being expanded to ban all sex between ANY public official and ANY person under age 21, whether a student or not? Not saying... Just saying.
As far as whether sex between a student and a teacher is ETHICAL or not - I don't think it is ethical, no. Not at all. I would support school policies - even state educational policies - that would strip the teacher of his or her job and even his or her teaching license in such cases. No problem with that. But in the case of whether it is AGAINST THE LAW - no way. What is ethically and morally right goes way above and way beyond what is merely legal, and schools should have the right to restrict sexual relations and many other social interactions between teachers and students, as they do have the potential to interfere with the learning environment. But this is a case of the law, and of the teacher being locked up for 36 years for a consenting relationship with an adult. No.
Full disclosure - I have an 18-year-old sister and and an 18-year-old brother, who are both still in high school. In fact, tonight is their senior prom. :-)
I have to ask one question whenever something like this comes up: At what point does the term "adult" become nothing more than a worthless title to humans?
We often judge people on moral and ethical grounds based on situations, which is admittedly a good thing. Things SHOULD be situational, unlike the broad terms that many lawmakers tend to use. At the same time though, when do those moral and ethical judgements impede, if not trample, one's right to happiness? Things like incest, polygamy/polyamory, zoophilia, LGBT rights... A majority of these subjects are heavily based on moral and ethical views. One culture or religion may protect some of these views while condemning others.
I myself am polyamorus, having two mates and an IRL master. I am of a religion that, in the eyes of many, would have no right of protection because they feel it's "made up". Hell, me being otherkin would make some people question my mental stability and moral judgements, simply because that don't agree with their own. However, my beliefs include the "right to love between two or more beings of sound mind and judgement", and don't acknowledge marriages of any kind (a family simply "is" a family). This means that ployamory, incest, and even LGBT unions are more than welcome (among others). My religion also holds a core belief of "to each their own", respecting the views and opinions of others while condemning the practice of zealotry.
All that said, my moral and ethical viewpoint is that it shouldn't matter what their occupational situation is. So long as the student isn't taking advantage of having a teacher for a lover, and the teacher isn't showing favoritism towards the student or being dishonest with their grades, why should it matter if they're teacher and student? Even more, what right do we as outsiders have to judge them for their love? We defend the rights of minorities and sexual orientation in love, but why not defend the "right to love" as a whole?
As I said, though, my views are rather unique, so take them as you will.
My only problem with consenting adults acting in a sexual manner in this scenario is the concern for favoritism or abuse of power. As in giving incorrect grades for sexual favors or as a punitive act. The teacher/student relationship is inherently unbalanced power wise and so I am concerned of abuse. Not even going to touch the "inexperienced" actor with the older adult issues inherent to the scenario as that opens up a can of worms.
Should this be illegal? Not necessarily. However I think culturally there should be some taboo to the act due to concerns of abuse. Perhaps even internal policies like the ones you describe or ones mirrored to the policies colleges and universities often have in place.
My question is this:
If an 18 year old is old enough to vote, old enough to smoke, and old enough to have sex without parental permission, why is he not old enough to drink?
I asked that exact same question today.
Only if the teacher is physically unattractive... If she's hot *High Fives*
I put it in the same category as a boss having sex with a subordinate. It should be covered in an ethical code of conduct, but it certainly shouldn't be illegal. The same set of standards should apply. If a teacher coerces a student to have sex from a position of power, that would be covered under "sexual harassment."
It's legislation to drive morality. Religion 2.0, in my humble opinion. If the threat of Hell won't scare you away from such acts, maybe jail time will!
While not necessary should be criminal. I am saying a teacher having sexual relations with a student is professional and morally unethical.
I see an unintended consequences wild be rise of sexual harassment complaints.
I think it is ok, but I have issue with it if the student is actively taking that teachers course due to conflict of interest. Kind of like how military can only date other military if they are the same rank.
Should not be illegal, but the power imbalance makes it an ethical and moral issue. School policy should prohibit/frown upon Student-Teacher romantic relationships until final grades are in, and maybe after considering recommendation letters and such. Any time there is an extreme power imbalance, any relationship should be under heavier social scrutiny.
As the teach is the more "adult" of the parties. It really is their responsibility to not engage in such relationships. Yeah, the heart wants what it wants, but it can wait a few damn months if it wants it so bad, too. We aren't talking about years of celibacy here.