Sexual attraction is inevitable and needs talking about
Published on April 3, 2013 by Nick Luxmoore in Young People Up Close
The news was full of it. A schoolgirl had run off with one of her teachers. At first there was the worry that the teacher might have killed her but then the story changed as CCTV pictures showed them arm-in-arm as they left the UK on a ferry to France. Now they were probably hiding somewhere in France, perhaps in a cheap hotel, perhaps sneaking out for walks together, kissing…. A fifteen-year-old girl and her thirty-year-old lover.
In the schools I visited, everyone was talking about it because everyone, I suspect, had an investment in the story. Every student had imagined the romance of falling for a teacher and every teacher had imagined what it would be like to run off with a student. While the story ran, the schoolgirl and her teacher were the objects of everyone’s vicarious interest. What would happen next? Would they be caught? Would their relationship last?
I don’t know how many teachers would admit publicly to their interest in this story, however. Sex with anyone under the age of sixteen – however consenting - is illegal in the UK and any sexual relationship between a student and a teacher leads to the teacher’s instant dismissal. I’m not for one moment challenging the rightness of this. Of course teachers are in positions of trusted authority and of course they’ll sometimes be the objects of student fantasy. They must never abuse that authority or compromise their delicate role in the lives of young people. Of course!
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What I am challenging is the implication that good, responsible teachers won’t have feelings for their students which will sometimes be sexual. They will. It goes with the territory. Indeed, it can happen from time to time in any profession...