Flash: School teachers have sex

“Almost all public school teachers have sex,” writes PZ Myers on Pharyngula. “Most of them enjoy it and do it repeatedly.”

Public school teachers may be Democrats, Republicans, perhaps Communists. They are atheists, Episcopalians, Baptists, Scientologists. Above all, they’re human.

All of your public school teachers go home at the end of the school day and have private lives, where they do things that really aren’t at all relevant to your 8 year old daughter, your 15 year old son. That you pay taxes to cover their salaries for doing their jobs during work hours does not entitle you to control the entirety of their lives.

“Local prudes” fired a teacher who’d been a sex worker years after she gave up the trade. Myers remembers his geometry teacher, who was fat, sweaty, odd — and a fantastic teacher.

Every year he rewarded the best of his students with an invitation to his house for a formal party, with snacks and Nehi soda. He was single and weird, but there was no worry about impropriety — there’d be a score of us there, who would all be treated politely as adults, which was mind-blowing right there. He’d play music for us: opera and show tunes.

. . . The people who didn’t care that he was a fantastic, enthusiastic math teacher who taught students self-respect and to love math only saw a strange man who didn’t fit in, who was odd, who fit certain stereotypes, and who obviously could not be trusted.

After a whisper campaign, he was fired. Myers is still mad about it.

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Comments

  1. Reminiscent of the “rules” that used to exist for schoolmarms in the 1800s – things like they had to wear two petticoats at all times, and could not be seen in the presence of men other than their fathers or brothers.

    I didn’t know, growing up, of any of the “out of school” behaviors of any of my teachers. While known child molestors should be kept out of the classroom, adults doing consensual adult behavior with other adults…it shouldn’t matter, in most cases at least. (I suppose if a kid’s homeroom teacher were having an affair with one of the kids’ parents…that could be a problem).

  2. Stacy in NJ says:

    Possibly I was (and remain) a freak, but I just didn’t care about my teachers’ private lives. Most of them were incredibly boring and not very good looking (to a teenager). Why would I care what they were up to in their off hours? I feel we should encourage this attitude. 🙂

  3. Stacy, I feel the same way about my students–what they do out of school is *their* business, and that of their parents. We shouldn’t be suspending them because they post drinking pictures on Facebook–but schools out there are doing just that.

  4. Michael E. Lopez says:

    I hear they drink, too. And some of them smoke. CIGARS EVEN.

    One teacher was seen buying a sex toy in a store.

    A few even watch R-rated movies and listen to songs that have swear words in them like stuff by Nine Inch Nails, Alanis Morrisette, Blondie, and the Charlie Daniels Band.

    Charlie Daniels, that moral cretin that he is, famously said “son of a bitch”. How could someone who works with sweet, innocent children listen to something like that? Or list it as a favourite song on their Facebook page?

    ********************

    Of course, working as a prostitute isn’t so very different than working as a porn star, and there were plenty of reasonable people on this very blog (Norm, SuperSub, possibly Richard Aubrey though he was fairly noncommittal) ready to toss the former porn star out on her ear:

    http://www.joannejacobs.com/2011/03/when-the-teacher-is-an-ex-porn-star/

    I’d be curious to know where she was a prostitute: it’s not illegal in some places. (The article she wrote says she started stripping in Mexico, but doesn’t give many details.) I think the calculus changes if there’s a crime involved — even if the statute of limitations has run — but in the absence of that my thoughts on this are pretty much the same as my thoughts on the porn star.

  5. Robert Pondiscio says:

    Surely we’re not going to equate (1) private behavior and (2) advertising your services on Craigslist, charging money for sex, and writing about it on the Huffington Post, by name and with your picture. One needn’t have been a “local prude” to think that this might be questionable behavior–even disqualifying behavior–for a public elementary school teacher.

    Please.

  6. Robert Pondiscio says:

    Interesting quote from the Salon piece:

    “Sure, I knew I was taking a risk. I stated that in the original HuffPo piece. But knowing there is a risk doesn’t mean you realize how great a risk it is, or what the consequences will be. And the consequences, in a word, have been devastating.”

    A wise commenter summed it up perfectly: Your free speech is protected. But you are not protected from your speech.

  7. Unfortunately way too many involve their students.

  8. Sean Mays says:

    @ Michael Lopez:

    Don’t forget, some teachers read science fiction, where there are themes like free love and pedophilia (Heinlein) or legalization of drugs (Niven); or what have you.

    One of my mentors was a middle school teacher. She once told me that younger children even think their teachers sleep at school 🙂 The notion of a teacher HAVING a personal life, much less appropriate bounds for said is just crazy talk!

  9. Assuming that this is a government-run school and not a private religious one that requires teachers to sign a code of conduct as a condition of employment, then I don’t think it’s the school’s job to be the morals police. If she’s currently committing a crime, that’s grounds for dismissal. But it doesn’t sound like that’s the case.

  10. Fred the Fourth says:

    “Fat, sweaty, and odd”?
    So one of my HS math teachers, a slim, modestly stylishly dressed guy, would be OK, right? Never mind his attempts to seduce girl students, right in front of my eyes. Or the “Cool, hippy-ish” english teacher (he’d be OK too, right?), who got in trouble for inviting girls to “overnight” on his boat at the marina.
    Appearances are deceiving.

  11. So let’s say a 30-year-old single man wants to be hired at your district. Unfortunately as a 23-year-old man he got busted for having sex with a prostitute. He must disclose this criminal history on his application, of course, and depending on the laws in your area, he may even be registered as a sex offender. Are you going to go to bat for him?

    I doubt it.

    If you’re thinking, then, that those laws are wrong and silly and put an undue pressure on people who are doing a normal thing, well, fine. Change the law; it will make your city streets safer for women at night. But why hammer at a school district for working within the parameters of that law?

  12. Michael E. Lopez says:

    Norm — having a criminal record is a very different breed of cat. I don’t think anyone has said that criminal records shouldn’t be taken into account. I know that I, for my part, even said that a confessed crime where conviction was impossible could still be relevant.

    So I don’t quite understand what you’re getting at when you ask “why hammer at a school district for working within the parameters of that law?”

  13. It’s normal for teachers to have sex?

    Shoot.

    Now you tell me.

  14. Michael, it’s not a different breed of cat. Having a criminal record should be taken into account, but she never got caught so it’s a non-issue?

    My point about the school district is that she wasn’t fired for enjoying sex; she was fired for conduct unbecoming a professional–as she says, for being provocative and picking a fight she couldn’t win.

    A woman with such a past can be a great teacher, a great asset to the school and the children; letting her go is a loss. But a woman who is going to go into sex worker advocacy while maintaining her profession as an elementary school teacher is picking a fight, and I think she forced the school district’s hand.

  15. ricki: actually, that’s not really uncommon and it isn’t that much of a problem. Those young teachers — they *date*!

  16. Michael E. Lopez says:

    Of course it’s not a question of whether she got caught — if you’re going to make a straw man out of my ruminations, please at least remember to put the stuffing in. I think it’s a question of whether what she did is illegal or not. It’s not immediately obvious that it is, which is why I was wondering out loud about that very thing.

    **********

    (Apropos of the Evans-Marshall post, I can see a First Amendment claim here precisely because this is not curricular speech, but rather outside political advocacy of the sort explicitly protected. There could, of course, be other facts that bear on such a case.)

  17. Ok, Michael, I concede your point:-)