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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Teachers should love kids, but not like this

By Dani Kauerz

Teachers and students should be able to have a working relationship at school. They should be able to trust each other, work together, respect each other and even have some sort of friendship. However, teachers and students have been crossing that line on a more regular basis.

Yet another teacher has been accused of having a more-than-inappropriate relationship with a student. What are these so-called professionals thinking and why are there so many of these cases?

The latest is the story of a 25-year-old sixth-grade math teacher, Kelsey Peterson, who ran away with her 13-year-old student to his native town in Mexico after it was discovered that they were engaging in a sexual relationship. Luckily, they were found this weekend. Before being taken into custody Friday, the boy had not been seen since Oct. 26.

One of the first times this kind of story broke with a female teacher and a young student was in 1997 with Mary Kay Letourneau and her now-husband Vili Fualaau. When they met, she was his 29-year-old, married, second-grade teacher. He was 8 years old. Letourneau was his teacher once again in sixth grade, and the two had intercourse that summer when he was 13. We all know how their story goes — she served a few stints in jail and ended up marrying him in 2005.

Letourneau was all over the news. For a few months, it was all we heard about. This time, I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of Peterson. It has hardly been in the news. It is almost as though we aren’t surprised by this kind of behavior anymore, though she is being charged with even more than Letourneau was. Peterson will be charged with kidnapping, in addition to a slew of other charges in Nebraska.

Teachers involved in sexual relationships with their students have become so common in our society that jokes are being made on popular television shows. In one of the latest seasons of “South Park” (a hilarious cartoon on Comedy Central that parodies current events), there was an episode that focused on Ike (Stan’s little brother) losing his virginity to his kindergarten teacher. All of the adults thought it was “cool” for Ike. The teacher said they were in love and tried to kidnap him. The only ones who could see that there was something very wrong were Kyle, Stan, Cartman and maybe Kenny (I can never remember if he is dead or alive).

No matter what any of these teachers say about being in love with their students or having a consensual relationship, it is incredibly wrong at any stage in education. Teachers are in a position of power over their students. Taking advantage of that power is rape, no matter what the student’s age.

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