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Code of ethics for education defines the professional behavior of educator and serves as a guide to ensure there is ethical conduct. Professional standards commission came up with standards that give guidance as far as conducts that are general accepted in education profession. For this case, there is assurance of protection of safety, health and general welfare of teachers and students to ensure some degree of accountability within the education profession and defines unethical conduct justifying disciplinary action.
Educators ought to uphold ethics such as moral sensitivity, moral judgment, moral motivation and moral character among others wile working. Ethical standards are set such as criminal acts, abuse of students, alcohol or drugs, misinterpretation, public fund and property mismanagement and improper remunerative conduct among others (Code of ethics for Educators, 1999) How is it then possible for a teacher, who has been trusted with the welfare of children, dare think, for a moment to have a sexual relationship with a student?
Well, here is a case study in Leewicks High School in America. English teacher charged with having affair with student, February 1998 English teacher, Mary (not real name), 35 years old was charged with criminal sexual exploitation and having a sexual and romantic affair with a minor 16 year old boy. She admitted having sex with the boy. Suspicions were raised about the affaire when people saw them together cuddling and holding hands away from the school.
Another teacher, Mrs. Shael (not real name) also found a hand written note with the student’s initials on Mary’s desk. There was also a piece of paper with a list of things she wanted to do which included dinner out and “great sex! ” Police said they seized letters in which Mary wrote. She was upset that the boy wanted to breakup the relationship. The boy told the police that the relationship started when he was 15 years old while baby – sitting Mary’s son and taking care of her dogs and cats. They also exchanged gifts and letters, including wedding rings, police said.
Mary was arrested at school and initially denied the allegations, saying the boy was fantasizing. Police said that she later confessed. Prosecutors noted that Mary initially made up a cancer story to save her marriage from breaking, and later on continued to use the same lie in order to be absent in her place of work and in an effort to keep the lover boy from terminating the relationship Mary was ordered on bail and could be sentenced to more than eight years. She was suspended with pay.
She has separated with the husband; they had a 9 year old son. Mark (not real name), the principal of the school said the whole school felt betrayed. This became the topic of discussion among students and teachers in the school. Some students found it hard to believe the story as they described her as a very nice teacher who is always positive. ” She was a very dear teacher to us” student commented. Some felt the act was disguising. The disciplinary action taken might lead Mary to be fired by the education managers.
She is likely not to serve the eight years in jail because she can easily be released on bonds. Mary could alternatively have been asked to compensate the teen for sexually using him. The ministry of education could monitor the educator’s conduct and performance after an investigation is held. This action is to ensure that the prosecuted educator is abiding by laws and regulations of the sector. Professional certificate or license could be suspend or revocation.
The action is usually taken the way it is outlined in educator’s code of ethics. Another alternative way of dealing with the case is not to allow the educator to be engaged in to play the role of volunteers. Or substitute teachers or any position during the time of her revocation, suspension or denial for the violation of the code of ethics. These solutions though acceptable, may complicate the situation because the students will loose the teacher and the education performance be affected. The sector will also have lost a human resource.