CURBING THE CANKER OF TEACHER-STUDENT SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS IN OUR SCHOOLS
The nagging issue of teachers dating their students in our schools is one that has bedeviled us for only heaven knows how long. Yet, all attempts to stem this tide over the years have proved futile.
In an earlier article, I opened up this problem of teachers dating and sometimes preying on their students. I tried my best to be as objective as possible regarding the nature and scope of the problem. In this sequel, I want us all to take a critical look at the issue and see how best we can find a holistic and lasting solution.
Far from making attempts at blame games, I daresay that this 'canker' of teacher-student
relationships in our schools can and must be blamed at the door steps of the larger society, school management, teachers and parents. The female students themselves cannot be exempted from the blame sometimes. Any solution that is proffered must thus take cognizance of all these parties if we really want a lasting solution to this ulcer of a problem.
In the earlier article, I mentioned the issue of the larger society being a major source of this problem. This is because our society in its present state of moral decadence provides the veritable social culture that festers this worrying phenomenon. In a society where a 50 plus year old man does not feel any scruple dating a 16 year old girl and where neither the parents nor the society see anything wrong with it, will most inexorably breed such tendencies in all facets of the
society including the education sector. The truth of the matter is that, the notch of our immorality is at such a height that unconsciously, we seem to have accepted it as the norm. What we see in our schools is just a spillover effect from the larger society.
In order to nip this problem in the bud, we must find ways to reorder the society and ensure that the youth get the kind of moral upbringing that instills in them not just the knowledge of right and wrong but the avowed will to fight immorality in all its forms wherever it might occur. I put the emphasis on the youth because they constitute the nation’s future and they are those whose characters are formative enough for easy molding. We must start with the youth of today in anticipation of a better morally upright society tomorrow. I believe this is the way to go if we want to sanitize our society and provide us with good enough grounds to fight this immoral phenomenon of teacher-student sexual relationship ultimately.
Parents and poor parenting can also be cited as being a key factor responsible for the occurrence of this problem. Parenting in general can contribute immensely positively or otherwise towards weaving the moral fibre of society. Hence the failure of parents to provide the necessary parenting and moral guidance not only weakens society morally but also leaves their girl children in situations where they become susceptible to amorous advances from male teachers in our schools. Thus, in order to fight against this canker, parents must strive to do their bit by embracing their responsibilities of giving their children good parenting. Beyond that, I believe that irresponsible parents who blatantly shirk their responsibilities must be checked. Parents must be compelled to provide sustenance as well as guidance to their children. So it is not enough to have laws that ensure that parents only take care of their children financially but as well, there must be policies or structures that force the parent to offer care, guidance, nurturing-parenting.
If all the above were in place, I believe we would not be in a situation where we are being confronted with this problem. Parents must see themselves directly or indirectly as either being part of the problem or part of the solution when it comes to the phenomenon of teacher-student relationships.
Teachers are more or less at the centre of this whole discussion. The products of teacher education called teachers that we find manning our educational institutions were all drawn from the larger society. If the society is sanitized, as hinted early on in this write up, we would have a vast majority of our teachers being “sane” and would not be as unscrupulous as to attempt making unwarranted advances towards female students some of whom may be young enough to be their daughters. But being human as they are there is the need for checks and balances as well as measures punitive and deterrent enough to prevent teachers from engaging in such immorality.
School management should in turn ensure that punitive measures so instituted are enforced to the letter to serve as a deterrent to prospective offending teachers. It is my fervent belief that if all the measures enumerated above are put in place we can be assured of an end or at least some minimizing of this ‘canker’ that is eating steadily at our societal moral fibre.
Source: Frederick Afful Badu