Teachers in trouble for dating students
In August, Quebec Justice Valmont Beaulieu stated the obvious when he addressed the double standard in the treatment of teachers who have sex with students: “The sexual exploitation of a male adolescent by a female teacher must be punished just the same as a male posing the same actions toward a female adolescent,” he said before sentencing Tania Pontbriand to 20- and 18-month jail terms to be served concurrently, plus two years probation.The former high school gym teacher from Rosemère, Que., had been found guilty of sexual exploitation and sexual assault of a male student with whom she had a two-year relationship. Its details, by turns tawdry and disturbing, revealed how the then 30-year-old Pontbriand acted as mentor, conﬁdante and sexual aggressor to the 15-year-old.When the student returned home, he told his mother he had a “new best friend.” Pontbriand initiated sex with the boy soon after on a private trip approved by his mother to help him with his problems; it was the ﬁrst of some 300 sexual liaisons that took place on school trips, private getaways, at his home and her home.The teacher bought the boy a cellphone after his mother tried to shut down communication between the two.
2 Dan Olweus, "Peer Harassment: A Critical Analysis and Some Important Issues," in Peer Harassment in School, ed. The Impact of Bullying A single student who bullies can have a wide-ranging impact on the students they bully, students who observe bullying, and the overall climate of the school and community.Crown counsel David Simpkin presented a more nefarious scenario: “[Ralph] appears to be bored, looking for some spice in her life and chose the victim,” he said.“She doesn’t appear to have any insight into the harm she has caused.” Justice Selwyn Romilly was sympathetic to Ralph, concluding the grandmother didn’t pose a danger to the community and shows “considerable remorse.” When a male is a victim of a female, society doesn’t take it as seriously, says Robert Shoop, a professor of education law at Kansas State University and an internationally recognized expert on sexual harassment and abuse prevention in schools.Evidence shown to the court included coded messages left in the student’s locker and gifts such as the engraved dog tags the teacher gave the student after their ﬁrst sexual encounter: “BFF. 19-05-02.” In a written statement, the student stated that Pontbriand ended it after he entered CEGEP, saying she’d met someone new.He went to police in 2007 after being expelled; later he claimed the relationship left him depressed and suicidal.
This is true of some boys who bully but is perhaps even more common among bullying girls.