Stop Making Excuses For Teachers Who Sleep With Students In New Jersey
This is not going to be a comfortable discussion, but it is one that needs to be had.
According to NJ1015.com, a Hamilton teacher was fired and removed from their job as, not only a teacher but an assistant coach, because of a romantic and physical relationship with a 17-year-old student.
He is also being charged with sexual assault.
As disturbing as this case is, some of the reactions I have seen online are worse in my opinion.
Most are disgusted while some are taking the, "it really isn't that bad," type stance.
I am here to tell you from personal experience, yes it is.
When I was just 16 years old, I became romantically interested in a 25-year-old manager at a restaurant I was working at.
At the time, I felt cool and even more mature than my other 16-year-old classmates. That is the trap.
I hung out with him a few times, we kissed, and then things came to a screeching halt when one of my coaches got wind of it and set me straight.
I am so thankful he did because years later, I realized that there was a screwed-up imbalance of power at play.
"What if I said no to my boss? Would my job be at risk?"
Plus, there was added pressure because a man in that age range is much more sexually experienced than a 16-year-old girl.
It is the same dynamic when there is a teacher-student relationship.
"Will my grades be affected? Will he fail me if I say 'no?'"
It is labeled as predatory for a reason.
This is not one of those "boys will be boys," situations. And no, a 16 or 17-year-old is not an adult.
Minors: Give yourself a childhood.
More of the responsibility, in these situations, falls on the adult to know right from wrong and which boundaries shouldn't be crossed.
If you don't believe me, how about Demi Lovato? If you have listened to her song, "29," you would know she regrets her 6-year-long romantic relationship with Wilmer Valderrama.
When they started dating, she was 17 and he was 29. That is the same type of age dynamic being discussed in these teacher-student cases.
Read these song lyrics below.
The damage done to Demi is the exact reason there are laws protecting minors:
Numbers told you not to, but that didn't stop you
Funny, just like you were at the time
Thought it was a teenage dream, just a fantasy
But was it yours or was it mine?