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 instance s 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 between an adult
and a teenager 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 every 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: pi427@comcast.net
Cell Phones and social Media
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