Author: Brad Nakase, Attorney
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For years, students, teachers, and lecturers have entered into romantic relationships and dated, despite the risks. Educators and students worldwide enter these types of relationships for various reasons, and it has become common despite the consequences. In fact, ‘dating my teacher’ is one of the Google searches with millions of results online. However, minor student sex with the teacher often ends up in the minor suing the teacher and winning over $1 million in damages.
Why Would Students Would Date Their Teachers?
In the United States, student sex with teacher relationships are fairly common. The news media reported that a number of university student who gave their reasoning for dating their professor claim that it is not always about love. One student from a university stated it is more about getting good grades. Fear of the consequences they could face if they were to reject their professors’ advances. The same student further explains that money could also be a factor. That going on dates with a professor is a preference for students keeping up ‘with the standards of living’.
Another student spoke of improving grades being a possible incentive for students becoming involved with their teachers. Others discussed the ‘thrill’ of being involved with someone that is older and considered ‘off limits’.
The Consequences of Teacher-Student Dating
In the United States, many states have made teacher-student dating unlawful, along with teachers having any type of sexual contact with students. It is illegal, regardless of the student’s age. Yet, in some countries, a university level student of age can legally date or have sexual contact with professors.
Just because it is legal in some states, it does not mean that it is professional. Professors are in a position of some authority and power in these situations and the possibly of losing their positions due to conflict(s) of interest is high.
Some of universities have created their own guidelines when it comes to teacher-student relationships. For example, UCLA has a professional behavior policy that prohibit the “Use of the position or powers of a faculty member to coerce the judgment or conscience of a student or to cause harm to a student for arbitrary or personal reasons.”
Under Stanford University consensual sexual or romantic relationship guide, the school “prohibits certain relationships between teachers and students; and requires recusal (from supervision and evaluation) and notification in other relationships.”
The universities require their professors to let the university know of the relationship and for the students to let the university know that no advantage is being taken of. Even then, majority of the universities strongly advise their faculty against entering into relationships with students.
Students claim they lose focus on their academics and more focus on the teacher. It can result in students missing classes and their grades and graduation timeline being affected. The students often contact a lawyer to sue teachers and obtain millions of dollars.
The professors also face destructive consequences for the relationships, even after the student they dated have already graduated. The professors could have their reputations affected, they could be branded as the type of professors that take advantage of students or use “their students as a potential dating pool”.