TEACHER-STUDENT SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS— ANY HOPE OF A SOLUTION IN SIGHT?
Over the years, the Ghana Education Service (GES) has grappled with the phenomenon of male teachers amorously engaging themselves in sexual relations with female students. This has led to a situation where the service recently had to expel some teachers from the teaching fraternity in a bid to inject some sanity and bring some finality to this nagging canker. One would however wonder whether the approach to eliminating this age old ‘evil’ is the most effective remedy. This is because, all these measures notwithstanding, the canker has continued to persist in our schools. All the same, one should not be surprised as the larger society in which we find ourselves is not any better in terms of moral uprightness.
It is common place all over the world to find superiors or senior colleagues in various sectors of the economy, making flirtatious advances towards subordinates or junior colleagues. It has been with us since antiquity. Hence, this is nothing of a peculiar phenomenon unique only to the education sector. It is a human thing.
The admission should however be made that except for certain particular instances which are clear cases of sexual harassment, a vast majority of these relationships have been largely consensual. We can always advance the argument regarding the moral obligation incumbent on the teacher as an adult as against the acknowledgement that the student is a minor and naive. Valid as that argument might be, equally so is the fact of our society being a morally depraved one. Is it any wonder then that the school setting being just a microcosm of society suffers from the same ailment?
The truth is, any setting that brings people of the opposite sex at close proximity presents temptations which will inadvertently result in obvious amorous tendencies. At least we are all too familiar with the predicament faced by Adam in the biblical Garden of Eden and his monumental failure to resist the temptation of taking a bite of the apple offered him by Eve. The simple truth is that we are not saints— we are human with all the weaknesses and fallibilities of our kind. We are descendants of Adam and come with all the imperfections of our greatest ancestor. That is definitely not to say that one’s weakness and fallibility must rule them out from the culpability of blame or retribution when found foul of the law.
It is sometimes surprising how so hypocritical our leaders can be when it comes to the handling of such issues which center on several sensitive aspects of our lives. It is not even true that this phenomenon can only be ascribed to particular demographic groups or age brackets of teachers. An incident is told of a female student who was caught in the possession of leaked examination papers supposedly to have been given her by a teacher she was dating. While investigations were going on, all eyes were pointing and all tongues were wagging suspiciously towards the young male teachers. However, when the investigations were completed, it turned out rather surprisingly that the real culprit was one elderly teacher who was even supposed to be an elder of a church. So the spectrum cuts right across. The young, the old and the not too young who allow their weaknesses to get the better of them, can get caught up in it.
My intention here is not to justify this phenomenon but to impress on all of us to view it much more holistically and comprehensively and put it in its right context. Thus, rather than view it as pessimism on my part, let us see it as a call on all of us to be realistic and frank about this whole discussion. It is only then that we can see our way clearer in all of this. The characteristic adoption of knee jerk approach and solace sought in ad hocism by our leaders in their frantic attempts to find a solution to this problem has not brought any noticeable dividends as shown by how the problem has continued to persist in our schools. We may thus want to spare a few moments to ponder over these worrying concerns!
Source: Frederick Afful Badu