|Ramifications of Educator Sexual Misconduct
Cell phones, Social media, and….
What apparently is an increase of educator sexual misconduct is most likely
an increase in media coverage and reporting. There has always been those
boundary violations and it may continue. We are an immature species and
prone to weaknesses in the emotional makeup—dysfunctions lead to
irrational decisions. Most teachers realize/recognize this but not all. And
the 'not all' is the population that this site is concerned about.
The past 15 years has seen an unprecedented growth in technology. On the
internet there is a profusion of social sites. Most are reputable and helpful
while some are not. Most students these days own a cell phone and they
are largely unmonitored in their uses. This leaves a door open to any
individual wishing to exploit young, inexperienced persons. Unfortunately
teachers have used technology to connect with students for reasons beyond
educational and ethical boundaries. It provides an opportunity for one-on-
one conversations beyond the eyes of colleagues and administrators. With
this lack of visibility, accountability and credibility are compromised.
Currently, the majority of reported instances of teacher misconduct indicate
that some form of technology was used to facilitate the abuse. Teachers
can use several forms of social networking to blur the boundaries of student-
teacher interactions. Facebook. Twitter, texting, and email, are among the
most popular means of establishing contact; this personal interaction gives
the student a feeling of friendship with the teacher. Teachers are never
friends in the adolescent sense but that concept is easily skewed by the
predator teacher. The grooming process includes the illusion of friendship.
Not all teachers are predators—that is, they do not start out with the
intension of abusing but are nevertheless caught up in the vicarious
transformation for which they have no knowledge of nor training for.
Teachers are not trained as counselors and must refrain from crossing into
the personal lives of their students, no matter how traumatic it may sound.
Send them to the counselor. Predators on the other hand, must have some
motive buried in a dysfunctional mindset. A relationship btween an adult
and a adolescent is irrational at best and certainly criminal, although the
predator will discount the ramifications of this relationship during the
pretend/normal phase of offending. It is a psychological illness to believe
that they can be in love with a child or adolescent. Unfortunately, lost
within that illness, they fail to recognize any reality. Punishment is
discounted…'they're not going to get caught.' They have no concern for the
ramifications of the abuse on the victim—the abuse is self-fulfilling.
Otherwise, there would be no predators.
How do we intervene—prevent this behavior? The purpose of this website is
to inform. Both students and staff must have access to training about the
safeguards and pitfalls of this wonderful technology. It has brought us from
clay tablets and chalk to portable communicating devices. It is nearly
instantaneous and has few boundaries, both ethically and geographically.
We cannot expect preteens and most adolescents to be street savvy about
the airways that are so familiar to them…familiar on the surface...but there
is misuse lurking ever so close by. Close by are the educators, clergy,
school staff, and others who work closely with them hopefully as mentors,
teachers, guidance, and other support roles. Also close by, a small
percentage of abusers whose method of operation must be annotated and
become a large part of daily instruction.
School communities can develop strategies of intervention. Students and
teachers should never have 'private' conversations. Teachers can use only
school department technology to contact students. Private email addresses
should not be available to students. Communications regarding school work
should go through school programs, such as Blackboard. Teachers should
never share social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter with
students. That use invites a compromise of boundaries and may suggest
to students that a friendship exists.
Technology can be—and has been—used to the great advantage of the
educational community. It can also be used to the great disadvantage of
the community when not policed. Predators and misbehaving teachers can
be stopped with system-wide vigilance.
A site dedicated to the issue of interventions for all educators, at all levels. It is estimated
that 80% of educator sexual misconduct goes unreported: No more victims is one too many!
A brochure is available that may be copied and
distributed to all those interested. Send a
request to: brochure request
Cell Phones and social Media