Saturday, May 23, 2009

Teachers having sex with students

After all these years you would think we would no longer be naive about so many things. I suppose, more than anything it is because we are optimists. Although it is no longer shocking, we are still surprised by sexual relations between students and teachers. The fact that is perhaps most disturbing is that a lot folks think it is no big deal. Especially if the victim is a boy and his rapist a woman. Gender should not play a role in identifying the severity of this breech of trust and abuse of power.

So that brings us to Alabama where the group, Citizens for Better Education want to make this crime more serious than it currently is and we say, right on. Regardless if the child is 15, 17 or even 18 this is rape and should be treated as such. Never is it ok for us to use our power to enter into sexual relations. Not in school, the work place or to coerce our partners. Check out the article and let us know what you think. Also, do you know what the laws is in your state? If it is not adequate what can we do to change them?


K & B

Group wants any teacher-student sex, regardless of age, to be crime
Lisa Rogers
Times Staff Writer
Published: Friday, May 22, 2009 at 9:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, May 22, 2009 at 10:57 p.m.

An education watch group wants to see the law changed to allow a teacher to be charged with a crime for having a sexual relationship with a student, regardless of the student’s age.Ronald Jackson, executive director of Citizens for Better Education, a nonprofit group that monitors public policy and conducts research, said an adult teacher can be charged with second-degree rape for consensual sex only if the student is 15 years old or younger.He believes the law should be changed so a teacher can be charged with rape if he or she is having a sexual relationship with any student.Jackson calls it the "Sweet 16" loophole and said the bill has failed to move forward in the Legislature."We want to launch a statewide initiative to get that changed," he said.A Gadsden City High teacher and coach was charged Wednesday with second-degree rape after it was discovered he was having a sexual relationship with a student who was 15 years old at the time the relationship began.Nicholas Keith Smith, 26, Southside, was a history teacher and assistant baseball coach at the school.Smith, a non-tenured teacher, is no longer employed with the school system. He already had been given notice his job was not renewed before his arrest.Amanda Alldredge, 31, a teacher who allegedly knew about the relationship, also has been arrested.Alldredge, a tenured biology teacher, was placed on administrative leave for an undetermined period after her arrest Wednesday.She is charged with failure to report child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, both misdemeanors.Under state law, teachers are among those listed as mandatory reporters of child abuse.If the student Smith allegedly was involved with already had turned 16, he could not have been charged with second-degree rape.District Attorney Jimmie Harp said the offense of second-degree rape is committed if a male over the age of 16 has sex with someone under the age of 16 and there are at least two years’ difference in their ages — even if the sex is consensual.There is no difference, based on an occupation.Jackson said that law should change, and Harp said he agrees."Any time a faculty member has a sexual relationship with a student of any age, it should be a crime and carry stiff consequences," Harp said.Sexual misconduct by school employees in Alabama is a growing problem, Jackson said.Jackson said the law should be changed because a teacher is in a position to give a grade in exchange for sexual favors.Jackson said in one incident in the state, a teacher waited until special education students turned 16 years old before having them engage in sex with each other and with him."He knew he couldn’t be charged with rape if they were 16," Jackson said.Jackson said other states have taken measures to change the law to make it a crime regardless of the student’s age.Harp said Smith also was charged with unlawful possession of obscene material after photos of someone apparently younger than 17 years old were found on Smith’s cell phone. That part of the investigation prompted the FBI to become involved.Harp said the alleged incidents involving Smith and the student happened after school hours at his home and not on the Gadsden City High campus.He said information about the relationship first surfaced May 15, and school officials notified authorities immediately.Jackson said it appears the Gadsden City Board of Education has stepped up and acted appropriately. He said school systems sometimes try to cover up these type of crimes and handle it internally because of a school’s reputation."I think this enhances their reputation," he said.Harp said the investigation is continuing.

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