When Is Sex Wrong?

By | October 6, 2008

This Is Not A SchoolgirlI read an article today which left me in a bit of a quandary. Not something that happens often as I am usually quite decisive when it comes to opinions of sex and sexuality. But this one left me wondering which opinion was right.

I read today that Chris Keates general secretary of the NASUWT (National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers) raised the point that there is an anomaly in that a teacher can have an affair with a student over the age of consent in another school without issue, but if they have one with one of their own students they could find themselves prosecuted and on the sex offenders register.

In 2001 the law was changed to make it illegal for teachers to partake in sexual activity with pupils attending their school under 18 years of age.

May I just point out for non-resident readers that In the UK the age of consent is currently 16.

I was left with two trains of though on this:

Why does the age of consent change for teacher/pupil relationships?
Why is it alright for a teacher to have a relationship with a pupil from another school but not one in their own? Smacks a little of not in my backyard.

But on the other side of the fence…you need to be able to trust that a teacher has a duty of care for their pupils and will not take advantage of them or “groom” them in any way. I suppose you can only liken it to a guardian taking advantage of a situation, after all a teacher is more aware of sexual relationships and how to control them than a hormonal teenager.

The teacher is in the position of stewardship and responsibility, it is they who should be charged with restraining any urges that may surface. You assume that someone of more senior years will exercise a little restraint and responsibility.

Chris Keates meanwhile is trying to get the law overturned.

I’m afraid I’m still undecided even after thinking the whole topic through whilst writing this post.

What do you think?