|Ramifications of Educator Sexual Misconduct
There are few outward signs by which adults at risk can be identified. The behaviors that lead to and are
part of the offending profile are subtle and hidden in normalcy. Adults must recognize their own behavior as
well as that of their colleagues, and the degree of honesty must be absolute. Any behavior that extends
beyond the definition of normal should be addressed:
Your own isolation
Rationalization of unusual behavior
Justification for deviancies
Denial in confrontation
Dishonesty with yourself and others
The danger here is to be aware of the witch hunt—normal/abnormal behaviors are similar. There is little harm
in asking a colleague about additional time spent with a student or of the conditions surrounding that time.
There is little harm in asking if you can help or if help can be obtained from an appropriate professional.
There can be a great deal of harm in saying nothing.
Further ramifications of sexual abuse are offered by van Dam (2001, p.60):
Increased utilization of health services.
Increased utilization of social services.
Greater risk for relationship and parenting problems.
Most teachers are parents, but the dysfunction of the sex offender masks that responsibility and the
offending teacher disassociates their role as parents from the child they are abusing. This does not allow
them to see the victim as someone else’s child, a child that a parent would not abuse.
Signs Alone The Way
The phases in the teacher's offending cycle.
PHASE 1: PRETEND-NORMAL.
maintaining the ‘nice guy’ image. The feelings about the job and the tasks ahead would generally be good. The teacher will be
anticipating the arrival of the student and planning whatever activities for the day -giving him/her a letter, whatever work
assignment there might be for him/her and if the opportunity presented itself, plans would be made for the student to be met
Normal phase. The teacher will be so entrenched in the job and the daily routine of life that it is not difficult to maintain normal
appearances. Offending teachers are often highly respected in the community, never lag on their jobs, enjoy success with their
projects, are often volunteers for various community and/or church functions, and maintain their health to uphold appearances.
PHASE 2: BUILD UP. In the morning the teacher looks forward to seeing the student that day at school. The teacher anticipates a
visit and receiving letters or notes or conversation from the student prior to the beginning of the work day. Teacher fantasize
about the last time they saw their victim or the last time they spoke to them and anticipate the meeting (with him/her) that is
sure to take place later that day. Offending teacher fantasize about the things they had shared and visualize how important the
teacher is to the student in terms of support. The fantasies include being with the student and the activities engaged with
him/her that are predicated by sexual urges. Knowing the student would return during the day allows the teacher to arrange to be
alone, if only for a few moments.
Reaction: Teachers feel good about their role in the student’s life and rationalize that the behavior is in the students favour.
Teachers may feel guilty about their activities but offer justification. They may feel euphoric in their emotional attachment to the
student and dependent upon the student’s attention.
Behavior: In the previous evening, the teacher might compose a short letter/note and on the way to work, they might buy a rose
on special occasions/days, or a favorite drink or snack or something special which the student would relished.
This becomes part of the planning scheme in the morning, which leads to and will be a part of the . . .
Pretend-normal (maintaining the cycle) . At the end of the work day (in school), the teacher will report to his/her coaching job,
or other after-school extra-curricular activity, which might include practice, instruction, or a wide assortment of activities that
educators are involved in. Teachers are euphoric in their thoughts of the victim, knowing that they will be talking to him/her later
that day on the phone, or at a rendezvous spot. Which would lead to or be part of the...
PHASE 3: ACTING OUT
When the student returns for his/her work period, the teacher will determine that s/he is subject to manipulation and will direct
him/her into a compromising situation and suggest that the teacher is going to commit an assault. He may shut and lock the door,
turn off the lights and maneuver the student into a dark area of the room where the teacher will force him/her to embrace, kiss,
fondle him/her and make suggestions of inappropriate behaviors.
Perception/reaction/behavior: The teacher will not discourage the student from any contact and in fact, will make arrangements
for contact. The teacher will not prevent the student from sharing amorous intentions and will encourage the student to act on
his/her feelings. The teacher will gladly accept gifts and items of endearment and will reciprocate. The student is made to feel
accepted as a peer and as an intimate other. When the opportunities arise (perception) the teacher will arrange for them to be
alone and abuse the student by forcing them to endure physical contact such as kissing, hugging, fondling, and whatever intimate
abuse the environment will allow. The teacher’s reactions to this abuse could lead to sexual excitement and a feeling of
exhilaration. Because the teacher is able to do this without resistance on his/her part, this behavior leads to...
PHASE 4 JUSTIFICATION. It is the (erroneous) perception that the student is of a sound and mature mind and that the abuse is
acceptable. In fact, teachers (and offenders in general) do not see the behavior as abusive. Teachers react to that perception by
continuing the abuse and making plans for other instances of abuse. Since teachers believe that their student (victims) want the
abusive attention, it is easy to keep the cycle going.
The teacher will rationalize that since the student professes his/her love, his/her need, and the fact that s/he returns to the
room each day, several times a day, and never fails to profess his/her love, and in fact, initiates some of the behavior him/herself,
that it is ok. In reality, the teacher allows and encourages the student to profess his/her love for him, allows him/her to go to
the room each day, and does not discourage his/her from behavior the teacher has a duty to prevent. Offending teachers will
minimize the extend of the assault by assuring themselves that it is ok, that the student enjoys the assault, and that the teacher
is fulfilling an important roll in his/her life (an excuse to continue).
• Denial: The victim is young and easily influenced.
Alternative: accept the attention for what it is: an adolescent infatuation that requires no response, certainly no acceptance.
• Blaming: the victim has no ownership over the offender’s feelings.
Alternative: the responsibility for the safety and welfare of the students you work with is yours. Your responsibility to that victim
is for her well-being and welfare which you can do without abusing her.
• Lies, secrets and silence: the victim is vulnerable to manipulation.
Alternative: realizing a person’s need and not using that as a tool for manipulation.
• Working to exclusion: places the value/worth of a job above the value/worth of family or other relationship.
Alternative: A system of thoughts/feelings to recognize the workaholic factor and intervene.
• Passiveness: You are not in control of the things that are important to you.
Alternative: prioritize life’s issues to move self and family to the top of the list.
• Compulsiveness: ideals that control everyday activities are not healthy.
Alternative: break work/play habits, rearrange work/play hours, alternate activities, explore new activities/hobbies, etc.
• Procrastinating: putting things off diminishes the importance and subjugates activities.
Alternative: Put off nothing that can be done today; act upon things as they appear in the daily time line.
• Inappropriate over—protection: You are not the (only) help available.
Alternative: Insure that you are aware of the appropriate channels to follow and use them.
• Indifference/detachment: Do not attempt to internalize feelings.
Alternative: Explore any feelings of rejection, loneliness, etc., with a friend, counselor. Rational argument: feelings are not
to be addressed alone for they are not always recognized for what they are.
• Rationalization: Your victim’s wants were subordinate to her needs.
Alternative: Your victim did not need to be a victim!
• Intellectualizing: Love between a high school age teen and an adult male/female is a non sequitur.
Alternative: Examine/recognize thoughts/feelings that would lead to the acceptance of such deviant and irrational thoughts.
• Justification: Your victim needs your support and help only as far as you could provide it.
Alternative: Any emotional feelings must be recognized as triggers to deviant thinking.