For the past five years or so, this story seems to KEEP popping up, always with slightly different variations on the same theme -- an attractive female teacher seduces a male student in his early- or mid-teens, a big to-do is made of the story, and everyone from the local wisecracker at the fire house, to the late night comedians, even to the involved police officers themselves -- cracks the same jokes, which usually sound something like this:
"Where were these teachers when I was a kid?"
"Can I go back to school? I'd let her give me detention!"
"If that was my kid, I'd yell at him in front of the wife (or others), but in private I'd be like, 'Yo! That's my boy!'"
It's no surprise, but South Park already did a great parody episode of these relationships and the way they're treated in the media / public discourse.
In this case, the alleged offender was a twenty-something blonde teaching on the South Shore. The involved male student was but 13 at the time the relationship started.
And all this comes right on the heels, of course, about the revelations concerning the coach of the Walpole High School football team, Danny Villa, the former New England Patriot who was involved in an illicit relationship with a female teenage student.
Neither case should be deemed "okay." In both cases, there was a clear abuse of power and a law which is designed to protect our minors was violated. Since I wasn't there at the genesis of either of these relationships, I have no idea how exactly it began.
But guess what?
It doesn't matter.
Some young people mature faster than others, but that's not the point. We need blanket laws that say certain behavior is unacceptable, period, because by and large they protect our kids from the Christine McCallums and Danny Villas of the world.
I hope the law sees them both in the same light.
I also hope that I would be just as upset were I the parent of the female student allegedly abused by Mr. Villa, or of the male student allegedly abused by Ms. McCallum.
I've tried to imagine the two scenarios, and I have to admit I'm not sure if I'd feel quite as angry or as violated in the latter case.
But I can assure you this -- there would be no closed-door "high fives" or "attaboys" involved. Though it may be great fodder for local (and national) stand-up routines and late-night monologues, it's still abuse, and it's not right.