Friday, January 16, 2009

Law and Morality ... Oh, who am I kidding, this is about teenagers having sex with teachers

Caught this story on the radio yesterday: Outrage Follows Washington Court's Ruling That Teachers Can Have Sex With Students. Well of course it does when you put it that way. In the realm of more informative news, what the Washington Court of Appeals actually did was strike down a law banning sex between students and teachers as overly ambiguous. Specifically, the issue involved those students who had reached the age of 18. While the outrage is predictable, it's also troubling in it's own right. Apparently, there's no one left in the world that can understand the simple concept that law and morality can and do occupy different spheres.

"I'm shocked and surprised," Connie Severson told "They're going to be teaching our students and the last thing you want is sexual relations on their mind."

Severson, whose son Stephan is a junior at Hoquiam High School, said the ruling has "opened up the eyes of other parents" in the district.

"This shouldn't be OK," she said. "They are teachers. Every one of them should know better."

Severson said the ruling could dissuade parents from enrolling their children within the Hoquiam school district.

"I'm hoping from a parent's perspective that when my daughter is 18 and dating that she's not having a relationship with her teacher," she said. "This is not college, it's not a university, this is high school."

Dr. Judy Kuriansky, a clinical psychologist and sex therapist, said the ruling sends a "very bad message" to students and teachers alike.

"Normally I would respect what the courts have to say, but this is a highly inappropriate message and one that is potentially dangerous," Kuriansky told "This is where ethics come in conflict with the law."

Kuriansky said the trauma that can be associated with such a relationship can last long after early adulthood.

"It can be very traumatic and be buried and repressed in their minds, and then emerge 10, 20 or even 30 years later when there is some kind of trigger or similar experience," she said. "It has the potential to create tremendous tension and trauma."

Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright, an author and sex educator, said other potentially troubling scenarios could arise and become somewhat acceptable due to the ruling in Washington. One such scenario, she said, would be a female student who is vying for the attention of an older male teacher.

Having a relationship with an older man could be seen as a status symbol, she said, but "It can certainly rob a person of their natural growing-up process and having first experiences with someone their age."

Overall, Fulbright, who writes the SEXPert column on, said young women who have sexual encounters with older men typically become sexually active sooner, which can lead to reproductive issues.

Those of us with common sense know that there are plenty of perfectly legal activities which are ethically and morally questionable. Equally interesting is the last bit from the Fox News Sexpert, who hints at the problem between relationships between young women and older men of all sorts (not just the teacher variety). That sort of discussion (given we're talking about young women who have reached the age of 18) seems to delve even further into the realm where no laws tread.

But what do we expect when we're bombarded by the right and the left with calls for the government to run our lives and make moral choices for us, be it about sex, abortion, gambling, or smoking. What are people supposed to think when we've given the government the role of mother and father?


Anonymous rose said...

hahhaha too funny. i was watching this crap on tv the other day. these experts kept coming on blabbing about how we need to have teacher training programs in place to show them its not ok to bang your 13-year old student.

riight. we should expand corporate sexual harassment programs to include rape. spend a week on how Penetrode Inc. doesn't condone rape and ways to deal with rapist impulses.

i dunno. i'm more likely to believe the hiring process was flawed, rather than a lack of training when a 40 year old women is banging her 13 year old student. but that's just me.

9:35 AM  
Blogger lonely libertarian said...

That's exactly it - people seem to want to adopt this "the sky is falling" attitude regardless of circumstances. Why do we need special classes and programs to tell us that the obviously wrong is obviously wrong?

You would think from what some of these people say that this law in Washington was all that was keeping pedophiles and child molesters from teaching, as if knowing that having sex with an 18 year-old student was illegal was literally keeping predators at bay.

3:39 PM  

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