Inappropriate Relationships Between Teachers and Students, Discussing Acceptable Couple Age Separation
Men and Women Relationship
Does Age Matter in a Relationship
We all know a couple or two that are basically the same age; my wife and I are only separated by five and a half months. I also know a buddy whose wife and himself are only a couple of days apart. To be honest our society really doesn’t care when a couple are so close to each others age, probably because it just seems normal. It also doesn’t seem to be too big of a problem if there is a substantial age difference, as long as both of the members in the couple are “middle aged” or older. However our society has a huge problem when a grown adult is dating a younger person; say late teens or even early twenties.
Age Difference in Relationships
The short answer is probably yes. Many people don’t pay too much attention to an older man marrying a younger woman, even if he is sixty and she is thirty five. The couple might get odd looks and she might be accused of marrying him for his money, unless he doesn’t have a large fortune, but for the most part people will leave them alone. Some men have even become icons because, despite their age, they seem to always have a very young attractive lady escorting them at all times. Tough life for that Hugh Hefner guy huh?
An older woman tying the knot with a younger man is also no big deal; we even have coined a term for it. If you have ever heard of the term “cougar” it is referring to an older woman who appeals to younger men. A TV show has been created about cougars and dating websites have been launched catering to clientele interested in being a cougar, or dating one; again, no problem here from the public opinion.
Where it starts to get complicated is when the couple has a very young participant, especially if that younger individual is still school age.
Is it OK for a Teacher and Student to Date?
How many times have we heard about a teacher, male or female, having a sexual relationship with a student? I don’t have an exact number to share but in my opinion one time is too much.
Parents have a certain amount of trust that when they drop their kids off at school they are going to take care of their child. This is another reason why school shootings are so difficult to hear about because schools should be recognized as some kind of protected and safe area for our children to be at. We have confidence that the teachers and administrators have our kids’ best interest at heart and will do everything they can to ensure their safety. Unfortunately some teachers have taken this responsibility a little too seriously and crossed the line into beginning relationships with their students.
I’m not referring to a Facebook relationship or something like that; I’m talking about dating and eventually developing a physical relationship.
Student Teacher Relationships
Mary Kay Letourneau
I remember back in the mid 1990’s hearing about a teacher who had an inappropriate relationship with a male student. Her name was Mary Kay Letourneau and she was having sexual relations with a student who was thirteen at the time. Their relationship eventually led to her conceiving two children with him and jail time for her, where she ultimately gave birth to both children. Long story short they are now married; she has taken his last name of Fualaau, and they haven’t had anymore children.
Recently another teacher student relationship has received national attention in Modesto, California. Modesto is kind of in the middle of the central valley of California and I just happen to live about thirty minutes from there.
School Teacher and Student
Reports state that their relationship started when he was thirty-nine and she was sixteen but the couple maintains that no sexual contact was made until she turned eighteen. Their story wasn’t much different than Mary Kay’s because Hooker was married and had kids just like she did; ironically Powers is basically the same age as Hooker’s oldest child.
He left his wife to move in with his younger girlfriend alienating his family and his friends. In the same motion he managed to make a bigger enemy, Powers’ mother Tammie. Her disapproval was obvious and their drama even made it onto the Dr. Phil show.
Teacher Teaching Students
Of course a case like this causes adults to wonder if something could have been done to discourage this kind of relationship. Unfortunately there isn’t always an easy answer to this kind of inquiry. However a local Modesto politician, Kristin Olsen-R, just had to try to draft legislation that would have restricted this kind of relationship. Not only would the legislation have made this kind of connection a felony but it would have stripped the teacher in question of their benefits and pension. On paper it made sense but it lost support when the law would have penalized the teacher even if the student was a legally consenting adult, in California that is eighteen years old.
Every parent is asking themselves what they can do to not have this happen to them. As a father of a daughter I know it is something that I have thought about. I don’t know the family situation on either side here but I hope that we have created a decent enough relationship with our daughter that we would have an open line of communication between us when she starts dating.
I’m not sure that we, as parents, can ever stop our young adults from doing something like this. Part of life is real world learning and this situation might just be one for Powers.
Shortly after moving in together Hooker was charged with an inappropriate relationship with a minor in the 1990’s (shocking) and Powers moved out. While many people thought she had come to her senses about the whole relationship, rumors have been swirling that she actually moved back in with him just a couple of weeks later. How this story ends remains to be seen.