Monday, October 06, 2008

More age of consent anomolies

Following this post, there's a couple I was reminded of in the comments that have to do with imprisonment and being a student. Here's another that I think is in some ways a parable for our times:
"Teachers should not be prosecuted for having affairs with their sixth formers, a union chief has said.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said it was an "anomaly" that a teacher who had sex with a pupil aged over 16 could go on the sex offenders register.

She told ITV's Tonight programme the law was wrong because a teacher could legally enter a relationship with a sixth former at another school."
I don't think any reasonable person could disagree that Chris Keates has correctly identified an anomaly here. The reason I think this is a parable for our times is because it springs from a confusion between rights and duties. It is clearly wrong for a teacher to have sex with his or her pupil whatever their age - but our culture seems incapable of expressing disapproval of something unless it can be shown that someone's rights have been violated.

Instead this sort of thing should be filed under a failure of duty. As a teacher you get pupils who fancy you and would potentially make themselves sexually available to you not despite the fact you're their teacher but because you are their teacher. Either you recognise this but don't care, in which case you're too bad to be a teacher - or you don't, in which case you're too stupid to be a teacher. I suspect amongst the pupil-shagging fraternity it is the latter who dominate. This doesn't make them Gary Glitter - just complete assholes who don't understand what their job is and so have no business being in teaching.

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