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Teacher Has Sex With 18-Year-Old Pupil — Should It Be Illegal?

A high school teacher accused of having sex with a senior at his school has been cleared of any illegal wrongdoing. This week a Washington state appeals court dismissed the case brought against the 33-year-old choir teacher, ruling that state law does not ban teachers from having sex with 18-year-old students.

While the ick factor suggests that an 18-year-old having consensual sex is different when the partner is a school teacher, should there be a legal difference? Would you like to see this choir teacher face criminal charges?


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PinkNC PinkNC 8 years
That teacher should never teach within the school system again. Who knows how far their sick thinking goes when it comes to thinking that a child is attractive. The same teacher could be moved into an elementary school and soon have an attraction to a 14 year old child. Which may lead her to munipulating that 14 year old child into having sex with her. That chick should be banned from teaching anywhere within the school system.
Indyprogirl Indyprogirl 8 years
I'm on the line here about this. My first instinct is "ewww" but when I think back to high school...there were a couple of cute teachers my senior year. Wasn't exactly my style back in the innocent days, but still. The point is, though, I'm not sure it should be illegal. It shouldn't be allowed, but the police should stay out of it unless the student is claiming rape. The school, however, should be able to fire the teacher citing that it is violation of his/her contract. I agree with Michelin on that the teacher has a lot of power & that student is obligated to go to school (even though at the age of 18, he/she can drop out).
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
Was he even her teacher tho? Also it says he resigned. I would think any 18 year old dating a 33 year old is weird, regardless as to their professions. I would wonder how much they had in common besides a physical attraction. Shouldnt be illegal though.
kh61582 kh61582 8 years
More people said No It's consensual than I was expecting. That was my answer and probably unlike a lot of other people commenting on this I have personal experience here. I have always, and will always, prefer older men. When I was a student the only men I met that fit my criteria were my teachers. I didn't actually have a relationship with a professor until I was 19 and in college but I would've had a relationship with a teacher earlier had the opportunity presented itself with someone I was interested in. Not every 18 year old can handle that type of a relationship but I would have so why should it be for someone else to say whether it's right and I know what I'm doing or not?
bleached bleached 8 years
Inappropriate, yes. Illegal, no. It should definitely be cause for reprimand though
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
I don't think any parent wants to send their kid to school so that a teacher can take advantage of them.
poetryman413 poetryman413 8 years
Wow, I've seen several boards on this topic and have to say this is the most reasoned discussion i've seen. First, the court did not make the law, just said what the law is. Outrage at the court system is misplaced, since the court basically was not dealing with the question of whether it SHOULD be illegal, just whether the statute put people on notice that it is a criminal offense. Take the sex out of analysis, and it is clearly unfair to any rational person that a citizen could go to prison and have serious long-term consequences in life for doing something that is not clearly defined as a criminal act by the law. Second, while our state is being ridiculed for the misleading headline "Washington Court says Teacher-Student Sex OK" , the fact is that sex between a teacher and student over 18 is not even addressed in law in 44 other states. Only five have even attempted to make it illegal. The thoughtful comments about the imbalance of power in personal relationships are really what is at issue here. Sure, a teacher has authority and influence over a student. How about a 35 year-old single mother whose manager at Safeway says "I will write you a bad annual review and you will lose your job, unless we can work something out between us...." Is that person not every bit as vulnerable, if not more vulnerable, than a student? Shouldn't that Safeway manager face prison time? Someone asks the rhetorical question "What next? Doctors allowed to have sex with their patients?" No, that's not next, that's now. Doctors, therapists, lawyers face serious professional consequences for having sex with patients or clients. None of them face criminal charges, as long as the sex was consensual and the patient or client was at least sixteen (not eighteen), because sixteen is the age of consent. Finally, let me point out that the law at issue, and the proposed law that would "close the loophole" applies to ALL school district employees, custodians and cafeteria burger flippers included, not just teachers. So the 25 year-old dude that runs the deep fryer runs into the 20 year-old senior with a fake ID at a local bar, they get drunk and dance and do some heavy petting in her car after closing time. Later, after graduation, they fall in love and she gets pregnant, but it comes to police attention that they had this encounter when she was still a student. They want to get married and raise their child together. But, oh, sorry, can't do that, because under the proposed law, he first has to do five years in prison for sexual misconduct with a minor and then register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Don't believe me? Read the bill. Read the very, very bad bill. The very bad bill that holds the school cafeteria worker to a much higher legal standard of sexual conduct than your doctor, your lawyer and your therapist.
Tulipe Tulipe 8 years
Legally, no law has been breached. BUT, a teacher is in the position of power. He represents the authority and can exert some kind of influence on the girl. Conscious or unconscious. So I feel still uneasy about this. If I was the school's principal, I would take measures against the teacher. Because he should have known better. For god's sake, just wait til your student graduates !
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 8 years
I don't think he should should serve time, but I don't think he should ever be able to teach. Policy and Principle versus Law in my opinion. Wouldn't he be convicted as a sex offender? That isn't a light sentence to give someone and unfair considering she was 18.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
CYL what other method can we use to determine adulthood though? I mean obviously age is totally arbitrary but I don't really see an alternative.
CYL CYL 8 years
18 or not the teacher is in a position of power and shouldn't be having sex with students. the 18 versus minor thing is so its not ok if they had sex the day before the student's b-day and not go to jail but ok if they did a day later?
SpeakLike-aChild SpeakLike-aChild 8 years
Jail not, but he/she should lose his/her job
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
To use the reasoning used by those who saw nothing wrong with plural marriages last week "THEIR CONSENTING ADULTS...blah blah blah". When I was a freshman in high school there was a girl who was a Junior who was KNOWN to be dating a male teacher. The teacher was 25. It was kind of a big deal until the school found out the teacher had asked her parents permission before ever even going out with the girl. Over that Summer Break, what 1986 I guess, they got married. She turned 18 during the school year and AND she was actually in this teacher's class until the teacher had her removed because he didn't want to grade his wife's term papers. This was plain old public school. In a Republican, mostly white city and this was only the first of many student/teacher relationships at my high school. Most of which ended in marriage.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
That is inappropriate and wrong. If you can't sleep with your employees you shouldn't be allowed to sleep with your students even if it is consensual. I mean do you really think the kid that's sleeping with the teacher even if it's just for the sex is getting graded the same as the other kids? Plus if I were a parent I would like to be able to trust the adults that are supposed to be looking out for my kid while I can't
wren1 wren1 8 years
Can we no longer add someone as a friend from posts? What happened to the little plus signs by our names? I just noticed that. :(
wren1 wren1 8 years
It's highly unethical and extremely inappropriate given the power differential. The sad thing is, the teacher can probably just move to another state and resume teaching.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
I found this on a labor law blog site: The age of consent is 16 in the state of Washington. This is the minimum age when a person of either sex may legally consent to sex with an adult, in most cases. It applies to both homosexual and heterosexual acts. When the older partner is in a position of authority over the younger, such as a sports coach or a teacher, the age of consent may be as high as 18 or even 21 years of age. Many other states also have stipulations when the older partner is in a position of authority.
LadyAngel89 LadyAngel89 8 years
To me it's not much different then relationships in the workplace, you shouldn't date your superior. Teachers shouldn't date THEIR students. If a teacher has consensual sex with a student that is not their direct student that is of legal age. Then how is it any different than any other workplace relationship. The key here is the influential aspects of the teacher/student relationship. Reprimanded for poor judgement, sure. Jailed, no I don't think so.
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 8 years
I concede. All good points.
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