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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.

The recent arrest of Creekview High School teacher Blake Bearden for sexual assault caused many people to come forward and heap shame on the man for his transgressions.

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.

J. H. December 04, 2012 at 08:09 PM
I disagree totally. Every female teacher that has been involved in cases like this and were convicted have done prison time. For instance, look at Mary Kay Letourneau. Either way you slice it, it is wrong.
Patricia Saye December 04, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Yes I do think that all of Cherokee County male law enforcement treats the male & female teachers accused of the same exact sexual crimes against students differently,because the law enforcement is afraid of making a female teacher mad or upset with them, especially if the officers thinks the female teacher is very attractive
Patricia Saye December 05, 2012 at 02:31 AM
And May God forgive me, if I am wrong in the way that I believe where the Cherokee County male law enforcement is concerned
digital_dreamer December 11, 2012 at 02:19 AM
In reply to J.H.: A non-Sequitur. You didn't answer the question. No one asked if the female perpetrators are being convicted or not, but whether there is a difference in attitudes as it relates to appropriate punishment. The female convict has done prison time? Perhaps, but for how long? The general consensus among many is to feel sorry for the women (she's the victim) and demonize the men. Do your research. The double standard IS very evident. MAJ
Mark December 11, 2012 at 05:24 AM
The real problem is, feminism has taught us all women have no agency (a blatant lie, but it's useful for playing the victim and demanding others provide them benefits/privileges/special treatment). As such, when a male teacher has relations with a student, it was the man doing the acting and the woman who was acted upon. When a female teacher has relations with a student, it was the man doing the acting and the woman acted upon, leaving the female teacher blameless. Now, this mentality wasn't crated by feminism, it is actually what they define as "the patriarchy", but it very much is upheld by feminism, it is enforced and expanded. Remember this next time some feminist claims to oppose the patriarchy, and remember that feminism actually drives it forward.
Greg Allan December 11, 2012 at 06:02 AM
Among female perpetrators of child sexual abuse nearly ten percent are teachers whilst for male perpetrators it's about one percent. In raw terms there are about three times as many female teachers who abuse than there are male. The most likely victim of a teacher abuser is a boy rather than a girl by an even greater margin. Across the western world male perpetrators of child sexual abuse on average receive sentences of three to four years longer than female perpetrators.

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