Teachers, students, and sex
- Hearing set for teacher accused of sex crime (04-11-07)
- Teacher appears in court today (04-10-07)
- Teacher charged with indecent liberties (03-20-07)
- Offender gets boot camp for sex crime (01-13-06)
- Teacher pleads guilty to having sex with student (11-23-05)
- Appeals court says kiss between teacher, student violated sex law (07-10-05)
- Sexual misconduct widespread in schools, national report says (07-01-04)
- Teacher gets probation for affair with student (10-10-01)
- Teacher guilty of sex crime (09-08-01)
- Southwest teacher resigns (05-22-01)
- Sex charges bring suspension (05-09-01)
It's shocking. It's often hidden. And, if the teens involved are younger than 18, it's a crime.
Despite several high-profile national cases about teachers having sexual relations with students - and allegations surrounding a Lawrence High School teacher - checks with education officials indicate such cases are fairly rare in Kansas.
After reviewing his files, a Kansas Department of Education attorney said Friday that, at most, one or two cases occur in the state each year.
What's surprised Janet Waugh, a Kansas State Board of Education member, is that increasingly female teachers have been involved.
"When I was on my local board, there was some concern about male teachers," Waugh said. "I don't ever recall women. : That's what the shocker is, the women."
The local case centers on allegations that a 24-year-old Lawrence High School teacher had sex with a 15-year-old boy between August and mid-March. The Journal-World does not print the name of a person accused of a sex crime unless there has been a conviction.
The teacher, whose case is set for a preliminary hearing in June, is charged with two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child and two counts of criminal sodomy.
The woman, who was in her first year of teaching at LHS, has been suspended from her job with pay. The school board has agreed not to hire her back next year, and on Friday it will determine whether to cut off her pay.
Steve Nilhas, LHS principal, said that discussions are regularly held at the school about appropriate behavior around students.
"Any new employee, whether it's a teacher or a paraprofessional, there is an orientation process that occurs both at the district level and the building level," Nilhas said. "A whole myriad of issues are addressed, including those types of issues."
However, he said no formal meetings have been called to discuss the issue.
"I think it's something that's ongoing," he said.
Scott Morgan, who recently was elected to the Lawrence school board and will take office in July, said it was every parent's "worst nightmare" to drop off their children at school and have something happen to them. However, he said he was not concerned about LHS.
"I feel they're very safe at Lawrence High - safer than when I went to Lawrence High," Morgan said. "We've been lucky in Lawrence that these kinds of things are now news - in that they are the exception. What you judge it by is how quickly it was dealt with."
Teachers having affairs with students is nothing new, says Waugh, whose district includes part of Lawrence.
"I have a dear friend who is my age who married her high school teacher," said Waugh, 65. "He was six or seven years older than we were, and she was my age."
And Sally Roberts, associate dean at Kansas University's School of Education had another story: One of her friends married their high school Spanish teacher six days after graduation in 1964 - "which means they probably had been having an affair for the whole year."
The female student was 17 and the teacher was 34, Roberts said.
"There was no outrage," Roberts said.
That wouldn't be the case today, she added.
Roberts said KU turns out about 140 students a year into the ranks of teachers. The majority are women, she said. And they do often discuss the ramifications of having sex with a student, she said.
Some young female teachers might not see a boy who is much physically larger than herself as being a victim, Roberts said. That's the attitude that needs to be changed, she said.
"You might think, 'Big deal, he's a big guy. He can tell me no,'" Roberts said. "If he is 16 and you are 23, he is still the victim."