OPINION: Teachers Accused of Sexual Misconduct: A Double Standard?
Do we treat male and female teachers who misuse their authority differently?
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is an opinion piece written by the editor of this site and does not reflect the views of Patch as an organization.
On Canton-Sixes Patch, several comments were left on the article detailing Bearden's arrest that called the teacher a "pathetic scumbag," a "creep," and "the most disturbed man I've ever come in contact with."
This criticism may well be justified, depending on what the investigation of the case reveals, but what I find interesting is the reaction of people when a male teacher is suspected of misconduct with a student as opposed to a female teacher.
There are web pages that name "Hot Teachers Caught Sleeping With Students," all of whom are female. A popular response to news of a female teacher who is charged with misconduct with a student is, "Where were these teachers when I was a kid?" Instead of concern for the victim, praise is heaped on him or her (usually him) for his supposed conquest, and others lament that the victim "has nowhere else to go but down now."
Tell Us: Do you think society treats male and female teachers accused of sexual crimes against students differently?
It is an interesting dichotomy; person A and person B commit the same crime, but person B is more attractive, more well-spoken or possesses some trait that separates them from person A. People will gravitate towards person B and will tend to criticise person A more for doing the exact same thing person B did.
Students having crushes and idle fantasies about their teachers is nothing new and nothing to be ashamed of. Teachers abusing the trust society puts in them and victimising the young men and women they are supposed to nurture and educate is another situation entirely, and deserves nothing but scorn for the offender.
Let me be clear: if it turns out the allegations against Bearden for sexually assaulting a student turn out to be true, then he should suffer the full penalty of the law and deserves every bit of crticism that comes his way. My only observation is that the way we as a society treat male teachers like Bearden is vastly different than the way we treat female teachers who are accused of the exact same crime.
We should either applaud Bearden for his actions or condemn all teachers who are found to be abusing the public trust and taking advantage of their students.