|Posted by Matt Posner on May 31, 2012 at 8:10 AM|
Dear New York Post and New York Daily News:
It is with bitter disgust that I read the ongoing coverage of teacher sex scandals in the city newspapers this week. You see, I am a teacher – who does not have sex with students – and I think it is past time for the ethical majority of educators to be heard.
Setting aside the political reasons that the New York Post and the New York Daily News have for foregrounding these scandals, and my strong quarrel with their coverage of teachers and education in general, there still remains the fact that teachers should not have sex with students. Contrary to how these stories may have it appear, we not only do not have sex with students, but we don’t approve of sex between teachers and students. I don’t speak for United Federation of Teachers in any official capacity, but I am absolutely certain that our membership does not approve of sex between teachers and students.
Young people are full of life and energy that is appealing.Good teachers enjoy being with kids, but in an appropriate way. The mentor-mentee relationship has always had the potential to blossom into strong personal bonds. Contrary to the current absurd pedagogical focus on data and statistics, we are most effective with kids when we care about them and let them know that we do. The bonds that form are somewhere between parental bonds and bonds of friendship. We are there to let kids know they have allies in the world, to help them find their inner strength, to guide them on their way to a meaningful future. Our bonds with them cannot, must not, be sexual. The fact that teenagers have sex with each other is a reflection of their youthful difficulty making appropriate decisions. A teacher should not have that sort of difficulty. A teacher should understand that teenagers are not suitable sexual partners.
A teacher who does not understand this may rightly be labeled emotionally disturbed or mentally ill. This is a person who needs counseling and psychological support. I do not support firing any teacher as a result of suspicion or accusation, but any teacher who can be determined guilty in a justly conducted review of the evidence should be, compassionately, removed from the profession. Attention, media; attention, parents; attention,politicians: we teachers as a group do not sit around thinking of ways to protect each other’s immoral and corrupt behavior. When we see others in our line of work behaving wrongly, we don’t like it either.