Over the past decade, you may have noticed a dramatic increase in the number of sexual assault cases involving teachers and their students being covered by national news outlets. The common reaction you hear is, “It’s wrong for a teacher to engage in a sexual act with a minor.” What about when the student is 18 years old?
Now, states are beginning to protect all students – not just minors. Why? Because “Power” is the weapon such educators are using to facilitate sexual crimes.
In Fort Worth, Texas, a trial just finished involving charges against a teacher engaging in sexual acts with multiple students. According to testimony, all the students were 18 years old when the sexual acts took place at the teacher’s home. The evidence shown in the trial included video footage and text messages.
When such a case appears on the news, you may hear someone say, “What’s wrong with a 18 year-old-choosing to engage in sexual acts with a teacher? That is two grown adults who consented to the sexual acts.”
Yes, including one grown adult who is in a clear position of power and who is aware of the power she possesses. As an educator or a coach, it is always your responsibility to respect the use of such power and respect the boundaries of those you are in charge of leading – to never hurt the vulnerable.
Is a 18 year old student likely to be more vulnerable compared to the professional educator (“professional” because a teacher is licensed)? “Yes” and our country’s laws pertaining to sexual activity are created to protect the vulnerable.
EXAMPLE: Every state has a law saying a drunk person cannot give consent to sexual activity. You may be wondering, “If the drunk person says, ‘Yes’ to the sexual activity, why would it be illegal?” Because a drunk person is vulnerable. The law is protecting the vulnerable person from the one who knows what he/she is doing (the sober partner).
In the case of a “licensed” educator, the teacher should be the one knowing what he/she is doing when engaging in sexual activity with a 18 year old student.
Do you believe more states should be approving laws to make it illegal for educators to engage in sexual activity with students who are adults?