Up to 1 in 10 US Students Have an Inappropriate Relationship With Their Teacher

andrea connersSurely there aren’t as many student/teacher relationships as suggested in this article. If it is anywhere near as bad as that, it is a terrible indictment on our profession:


Critics suggest that as many as one in 10 U.S. public school students — or about 4.5 million children — are involved in some kind of inappropriate teacher-student relationship.

But it’s not easy to identify — accusations involve everything from physical contact to inappropriate comments or looks — and can have a crippling effect not only on those involved but on the student body and their parents and educators.

“It’s devastating to the rest of our students,” said Dan Unger, president of the Northwest Local School District Board of Education. Two of the three teachers from his district have already been convicted and this year imprisoned. The third case is pending.

“When (the other students) think about the accomplishments of the class of 2014, they’ll think about that. This is what they will remember,” Unger said.

It’s become easier in a digital world where smart phones can dominate conversation, for teachers and students to communicate. That’s good when it’s used to discuss school work. But sometimes it can turn criminal.

“The biggest reason this occurs now is social media,” Abbott said.

A text, Facebook post, Instagram or Snapchat message can give teachers and students greater access to each other than ever before. All three of the Northwest Local School educators relied heavily on Snapchat, Facebook and text messages to communicate with the victimized students.

“It seems to be when the conversation goes private like that, the teacher says and does outrageous and outlandish things they’d never say in person,” Abbott said.

Those private contacts allow predatory educators to exploit students, enhancing the control teachers have over their students. Students want to be liked by or get attention from the educator.



Click on the link to read Facebook Exposes Yet Another Bad Teacher

Click on the link to read Why I Won’t Be Celebrating Facebook’s 10th Anniversary

Click on the link to read If You Ever Wondered How Some Kids Become Bullies …

Click on the link to read The Researchers into Cyberbullying Should Review Their Findings

Click on the link to read The Use of Facebook in Cyberbullying Activity

Click on the link to read A Positive Approach to Tackling Cyberbullying


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2 Responses to “Up to 1 in 10 US Students Have an Inappropriate Relationship With Their Teacher”

  1. John Tapscott Says:

    What a disturbing article! Teaching is the science of relationships. One teaches children their relationship to their environment, their culture, to words and numbers, to their history and that of their country, and to ideas – ideas that inspire, and, of course, the difference between right and wrong. So one teaches right relationships, respect, responsibility and safety. Much of what children learn, they learn by example. So to be a teacher one also must be a role model.

    Indeed, to be effective as a teacher one must have a relationship with the child. The kind of relationship a teacher ought to have with a child is the kind that builds the child’s sense of worth, the kind that shows the child the way to true north, the right behaviour, worthwhile values and what it means to be a person in one’s own right.

    A teacher should never be afraid to be a friend to his or her students. Having said all that, every teacher must be aware that there are boundaries that are not to be crossed. Children need to learn about boundaries. Teachers have to know about boundaries and where they lie.

    Much of what I have been talking about ought to be inculcated in teachers colleges but we no longer have teachers colleges, we have universities; very different institutions. Aspiring teachers need to know that there are boundaries, where the boundaries lie and the consequences for crossing those boundaries.

    The article refers to the situation in the USA. If any country has made a pig’s ear out of education it has been the USA. Why this country has to emulate what goes on there I haven’t a clue, but successive politicians have managed to copy the worst features of both the USA and the UK, as if there is nobody here with an original thought in their heads.

    I know this. In my many years as a teacher I have had to patch up grazed knees, put band aids on cuts and scratches, apply antiseptic to head wounds. Kids, being kids, often need patching up in this way. I, for one, am grateful that we now have teachers’ aides to do this kind of work. The way things are going teachers are going to be afraid even to do this kind of first aid.

    As for the people who take advantage of children for their own gratification, there must be some way of identifying them and keeping them out of the profession. All Australian states have a system of registration where those who aspire to teach are subject to police checks before they can get near a classroom. It’s not foolproof.

    • Michael G. Says:

      John, I must admit that I am extremely reluctant to perform minor first aid on my students. I would never so much as put a bandage on a cut finger without another adult in the room.

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