Why More Female Teachers Are Having Sex With Students

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If a teacher is inappropriately close with your child — you may need to intervene. Know the signs.

There has been a series of news stories about female teachers having sex with their students. Almost every state in the United States is reporting similiar cases, and everyone is asking the same question: Why? In 2004, the United States Department of Education reported that 40 percent of perpetrators of unwanted sexual attention toward children were women and that number has steadily risen over the past nine years.

To understand why a female teacher would become sexually involved with one of her students, you have to understand what is going on in her head. Most of these women appear to be vibrant, normal, healthy adult women, but they may feel like teenagers themselves inside. Many of them have arrested emotional development; they giggle and carry on very much as a teenager. What's strange is that they choose one aspect of the student they focus on and they idealize that aspect into being one of honesty, integrity and innocence — separate from the jadedness of the adult world.

 

Soon they see this teenager as being their age, like a peer. In psychology, this is frequently seen and is called "counter-transference". The teacher focuses on one aspect of the child and idealizes it romantically; she then projects that on to her distorted reality. No one else realistically sees what the teacher has created in her mind. It becomes so bizarre that soon the teacher is planning her married life with kids after her student finishes high school.

One thing to consider is that we — as the public — tend to focus on the sex part of this relationship because that's what ultimately leads to the arrest of the teacher. However, an emotional relationship usually develops long before sex take places. That is, the grooming, the meeting up, the numerous texts, the cute hand-written love letters and the sleepless nights. If an intervention is made at this time, you can end the relationship before sex takes place — getting help for the child and taking legal action against the teacher.

The emotional part isn't usually caught and the reasons are many. First of all, the child usually doesn't say anything. He may be afraid of a poor grade, he may like the extra attention or he may feel guilty and/or fearful. Secondly, parents may not be alerted to it, because they may brush it off with thoughts that the teacher's extra attention is an effort to help their child. Lastly, if other kids do hear about it, they usually feel confused, concerned with who to tell and, often times, say they didn't believe it.

Our teens' lives revolve around school. For the most part, females working in the school are mentors for our children and help our children become successful well-adjusted adults. When sexual abuse happens to any child it is horrendous, but when it happens at school with a teacher, the end result can be tragic. As parents, there are signs that can alert you to something going on with your child. As with all things, it begins with open discussion, both talking and listening to your child. You cannot begin a conversation about sexual boundaries if you aren't engaged with your child on a day to day basis. Keep communication open and talk frequently to your child about their school life. Keep reading ...

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Article contributed by

Mary Jo Rapini

Counselor/Therapist

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