The Homefront: The Curious Case of Physical Education?

Hot for teacher?

…a new view of secondary education?

I think of all the education that I’ve missed…
But then my homework was never quite like this!
(Van Halen, “Hot For Teacher”, from the 1984 release, “1984”.)

     (UPDATED – SEE BELOW) I’m not entirely sure that this is a good thing, what with all of the talk about declining social values and such, but I finally get to “bookend” my Homefront article on “The Curious Case of Jordan Powers“. Lately, there have been a few instances of adult teacher – underage student…we’ll just call them “relations”, happening locally. Unlike the James Hooker / Jordan Powers imbroglio, these involve female teachers and male students. Yes, my fine young readers, it seems that we have a few “Mary Kay Letourneaus” down in the greater Fresno / Clovis area…

     The latest in the litany of  local “Letourneaus” (try saying that three times, really fast!) is one Lindsey Trimble. She is a 28-year-old former high school teacher at Clovis East HS, in Clovis, California. She has been arrested, and stands accused of carrying on a sexual tryst sometime last year, with a 17-year-old high school junior.(1) Immediately prior to this arrest, another case from last year finished its run through the court system. Nadia Diaz, a 24-year-old substitute teacher at Washington Union High School at the time the crime was committed, will see no jail time, nor will she be required to register as a sex offender after engaging in sexual acts with a 15-year-old sophomore back in 2009.(2) Back in early April of this year, yet another Fresno-area teacher was arrested for engaging in sex with a minor. 29-year-old Megan Denman was a Social Sciences (raised eyebrow) teacher at Hoover High School, which is part of the Fresno Unified School District.(3) Once again, that’s three cases in the local area, just in the past nine months.

     At this point, one has to wonder what is going on with these mid-to-late 20’s female teachers. Did they not get to sew their wild oats before stepping into the classroom environs? Are they trying to recapture a missing portion of their youth? There has been speculation that, in this new age of inter-connectedness, things like Twitter and Facebook are playing a part in the erosion of barriers between teacher and student, and may even be a contributing factor in these cases of libidinous poor judgement.(4) Honestly, I couldn’t tell you. I’m no Sociologist or Psychologist, I can only provide you, my fine young readers, with a layperson’s point of view in these matters…

     What I can tell you, is that this humble layperson has some very strong opinions regarding these incidences of teacher indiscretion. I recall having a discussion early this year, regarding the issue of teachers abusing their positions by engaging in “relations” with students. MY position was (and still is!) that these teachers, if found guilty, should lose their tenure, their retirement and their credentials. In addition to this, they should do at least a year in the county lock-up, and be given the extreme dishonor of having their name added to the Megan’s Law database of sexual offenders.

     I was having this discussion with a family member, who disagreed with me. In this family member’s opinion, the teacher shouldn’t be penalised in this manner. The ironic thing about the discussion, is that this family member embraces politically conservative positions most of the time! I thought conservatives were supposed to be tough on crime and abuses! Will wonders never cease?

     Over on Facebook, I’ve opined that maybe…just maybe, we need to engage in a bit of “age discrimination” where female teachers are concerned. My thoughts tend toward a “minimum age requirement” to be able to teach in a high school setting. For instance, introducing a provision into the California Education Code that states that no credentialed, female teacher under the age of 32, may instruct students in grades above the sixth or seventh. Once again, this is just a “for instance”, because then the question rises, “At what age can we state with absolute certainty, do females in the field of education gain the level of maturity required to deal with their own sexual urges?” Mary Kay Letourneau was in her mid-thirties when she commenced her extra-marital affair with then 13-year-old middle school student Vili Fualaau.

     If we also look at the case of Debra Lafave, a Florida middle school teacher at Angelo L. Greco Middle School in Temple Terrace, who was 24 at the time she was arrested for “lewd or lascivious battery” on a 14-year-old student, then the grade-level aspect comes into question as well. The short story is that there seem to be a few “bad apples” (pun intended…so intended.) in the educational system that have absolutely no moral compass, and / or haven’t acquired the requisite maturity level to be trusted in a classroom environment.

     Maybe we need to make available to these teachers, a copy of E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey” and a battery-operated “friend”. Maybe we need to start requiring our educators (all of our educators, not just the females. I’m not trying to be misogynistic here! Remember James Hooker up in Modesto, and that massive shake-up at Miramonte Elementary, down in the Los Angeles area?) to undergo a yearly psychiatric evaluation. What is the answer here, ladies and gentlemen? More support services? Stronger deterrents? One thing is for damned sure…any way one slices it, something must be done.

Megan Denman, 30, being handcuffed by the bailiff.

Megan Denman, 30, being handcuffed by the bailiff.

UPDATE: 02 January, 2013 –  Megan Denman is GOING TO JAIL!!

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