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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sextra Credit:Cougars Preying in the Classroom

Mary O' Hara circa 1980

This is a MUST READ article.

According to a major 2004 study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education – the most authoritative investigation to date – nearly 10 percent of U.S. public school students have been targeted with unwanted sexual attention by school employees, and in those cases, 40 percent of the perpetrators were women.


Titled "Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature" by Virginia Commonwealth University Professor Charol Shakeshaft, the report brought to light staggering statistics.

Compare the numbers with the much-publicized Catholic Church scandal.

A study by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops concluded 10,667 young people were sexually mistreated by priests between 1950 and 2002.

Shakeshaft's study, however, estimates that roughly 290,000 students experienced some sort of physical sexual abuse by a public school employee between 1991 and 2000 alone.

If female employees are responsible for 40 percent of those crimes, that means America could be facing an average of more than 11,000 instances of women abusing students in school each year – in other words, more cases in one year than were reported in 50 years of Catholic priest abuse.


The first warning sign is a kid spending a lot of private time with the teacher," Schoener said. "The second: text messaging and emails that go back and forth. At the grade school, junior high, high school level, most teachers are discouraged from a lot of Internet interaction. Frequent emailing and text messaging are questionable. It would be a rare occasion where a teacher would need to be in that level of contact with a student."

Schoener also warned that parents be clear on the purpose and the chaperoning of all field trips and events outside of school.

Finally, Schoener said, the boundaries of a teacher's role need to be clearly set.

"A teacher's job is not to counsel students past a point," Schoener explained. "Even if the kid really needs help and it's legitimate counseling, it's rare that a teacher should be doing a lot of counseling. That's the school counselor's job. If there are a lot of private meetings, you have to ask yourself what's going on."

MUNRO’s commentary:

I never give my home phone or personal email to a current student ( teach high school students and am a catechist in my parish).. All internet interaction should be via your school computer and your school account and should reflect school business.’

Field trips are very problematical though in my experience the problem is not the chaperones or teachers but the students themselves. In today’s world ‘have private bedroom, have morning, noon or night, will have sex.” A great many of my students have sex in the morning at vacant homes while parents or relatives are away. Oh, it’s possible that they are studying for AP tests or saying the rosary together but under the circumstances not likely. The point is students don’t need predatory teachers to have sex. We have predatory senior and juniors in abundance.’’

Gilbert Highet mentioned long ago that a teacher’s job IS NOT to counsel students for the simple reason that a teacher does not have the energy to do this and do his or her educational task.

Nonetheless, counseling, encouragement and exhortation is absolutely necessary for today’s marginal or at-risk students. It goes with the territory. But teachers and students CANNOT be colleagues and CANNOT be and SHOULD NOT BE considered peers. The military knows officers should not fraternize with enlisted men and with good reason: it is prejudicial to good discipline. Teachers should show great self-discipline themselves particularly in the beginnings of their careers when the age differential is not that great. Debra LaFave, for example, was a very youthful 23 with a stunning figure. There is no question she sexually aroused many of the young men she met. She could have used that power to her advantage as a teacher because young men would have gone out of their way to please her, to attend her class and to be successful academically in her class. As a married woman, Mrs. LaFave, should have been totally inaccessible to ANYONE let alone her students. That is the example she should have set for her students. If she really loved and cared for her students, her school and her community she would not have wanted to harm her students. Affection (storgic love) is natural between students and teachers and helps bond the class with the teacher. There is nothing wrong with teachers being friendly and kind with their students; I think, on the contrary, if a teacher is not kind and does not care for his or her students that person SHOULD NOT BE A TEACHER. One cannot care for ALL the students in the same way and, yes, sometimes students MUST BE REMOVED from a classroom or from a school FOR THE COMMON GOOD. And, speaking as a Christian, in the Roman Catholic tradition, teachers must forgive their students and MUST LOVE them as fellow human beings and as future adults and citizens. But if a teacher truly loves a child he or she would not want to see that child come to harm. Eros must be tamed and restrained, however. Just as we would not urinate on the front wall like a dog in front of our entire class we should not act our and follow upon our every bodily instinct. The highest moral obligation in America today is “have sex, drink, eat and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” Most young Americans partake “exuberantly in the pleasures” of the belly as if there were no tomorrow.” Two results of this are:

1) an alarming increase of obesity among all ages but most shockingly among teenagers and young adults. A major factor –in my view- is the consumption of alcohol and junk food at secret rendezvous, usually the vacant home of parents or relatives but also the back seat of cars or the far side of that grassy knoll in the park which cannot be observed from the street.

2) The other result of course is the massive rise of STD’s what we used to call VD. Diagnoses of genital chlamydia have risen since the 1990’s by over 70%, gonorrhea, and syphilis by over 50%s and genital warts by over 20% . Oral contraceptives, while providing the greatest protection from unplanned pregnancy, offer no protection against sexually transmitted diseases.

An American sociologist quote by David Shaw in the Pleasure Police (1996) "Don't people realize every scientific study shows that the single best thing you can do for your health is have fun?" This sort of attitude leads to a culture where liquor is always chosen over learning and having entertainment and childish fun is preferred to poetry, arts, books and (good) music. I am quite aware young people have music of a kind but, for the most part, this music is thin stuff just part of their hedonistic sexual lifestyle. One would think that graying 65 year olds would be embarrassed to be gyrating to the blaring booming music of Mick Jagger etc in pants two sizes too small but we live in a age of little shame and even less common sense.

For example, women have never been drafted into military service in the United States and women are not required to register by the Selective Service. This makes good common sense because men and women are different. The Selective Service law, written in 1940, specifically refers to “male persons.” In the 1980 case of Rostker v. Goldberg, the registration of women was examined by the Supreme Court and the Selective Service law as clearly discriminatory as it is was NOT seen to violate the due process clause of the Constitution. We can pretend that Congress was not influenced by a traditional way of thinking about women and young girls and Congress can pretend and NOW can pretend but all would be lying. We are influenced by societal norms and traditional values. If America forcibly drafted women, especially into the combat arms of the military, it would mean the destruction of the private life and break-up the rhythm of the home and family life. The consequences of such a brutal and, in my view, totalitarian act by the State would be almost beyond ken. Minority languages, cultures and religions would be wiped out. Healthy distinctions between the sexes would be wiped out. Homes would become merely billets and duty stations. The harm such a policy would cause to children, education and our entire civilization would be irreparable. Indeed a society which would forcibly pressgang women into military service would not be worth defending. It would be an evil society and every man of honor should want to raise his hand a fight such a society to the last cartridge and to the death for the sake of his family, his culture, his language(s), his religion, his family’s right to freedom , a private life and the sacred right of parents to raise children as they wish. André Glucksmann wrote: “A totalitarian way of thinking loathes to be gainsaid. It affirms dogmatically, and waves the little red, or black, or green book. It is obscurantist, blending politics and religion. Anti-totalitarian thinking, by contrast, takes facts for what they are and acknowledges even the most hideous of them, those one would prefer to keep hidden out of fear or for the sake of utility. Bringing the Gulag to light made it possible to criticize and ultimately reject "actually existing socialism." Confronting the Nazi abominations and opening the extermination camps converted Europe to democracy after 1945. Refusing to face the cruelest historical facts, on the other hand, heralds the return of cruelty. Yes, as Burn wrote ‘but facts are chiels that winna ding,/An downa be disputed.”. The English translation is ‘But facts are little fellows that will not be overturned,/And cannot be argued with’. The facts are that the role of women in our society to educate and raise children is vital and we destroy this role at the risk of destroying our entire civilization and society.

(See April 2006 )

By the way, I am not raising the specter of a straw man but am talking about policies which have actually been discussed at the highest level of the U.S. government. See for example:

We live in a society where for the most part there is no such thing as sin or lust or excess and the major goal of many people is to have a good time. Every lust is satisfied and new lusts and titillations are constantly being invented. We have forgotten that modesty is the true beauty of womankind. The most horrible and the most ugly thing about a temptress like Debra LaFave proof that beauty is only skin deep -is her total lack of restraint, modesty and faithfulness to her husband her reckless lack of consideration for others. She knew she has sexual power of men and she used it to satisfy her personal pleasure and wantonness. To me it is just another case proving women can have –for a period of time while they are sexually attractive- a great power over the male sex of any age past puberty.

It could well be that so many years of internal peace, wealth and material success have smothered and snuffed out civic virtue and private morality. I doubt very many of my students even know the word wanton or wantonness and if they did they would disagree with it. I would argue that what has sustained America –and other Western countries as well- has been their civic virtue, their heroism in peace and war, their restraint, their deep consciousness of Right and Wrong, their respect for marriage, their respect for womankind and children, their purity of motive and for want of a better word, nobility. The Gael of old called this uaisleachd, the Spaniard called it nobleza de alma (nobility of soul). We might call the self-respect and generosity, we might call it integrity, we might call it civic virtue or even gravitas, to use a Latin word. However we call it, this ineffable virtue, this civic virtue, this sense of honor, this love of country, this loyalty to family and our faith community, we in the West have it much less than our forefolk though I would argue that America still has it in relative abundance and this is our great strength more so than our coal or oil reserves. Baghehot remarked “there is a character to an age and a character to nations.” We need to cultivate the manifold loves, not exalt one (eros). We need to cultivate the manifold virtues that make character and make for a happy life, not just the desire for material success. It is good to work hard. It is good to make money and to save but it is better and more sensible to live modestly with goodwill, generosity, kindness and hospitality towards others. It is better to love and be loved than to possess.

Speaking as a teacher of young people and adults, I believe adults should only date -or to use an older word court- other adults. Dating has become almost synonymous with sexual activity which is too bad because it is only by to used that dated word again –courtship- that a couple many develop the philia love that will sustain their relationship when the bloom of youth and beauty fades. Every dog has his day but it is a mistake to make a god of Eros that is to say sexual love. This way lies madness, unhappiness and I think in the long run great loneliness and bitterness for both men and women alike. There is such a thing –as I tell all my students as the joy of trust and marital bliss.

As the Bard of Ayr sang: “To make a happy fire-side clime, to weans and wife, That’s the true pathos and sublime of human life.” Burns was no prude and he loved the pursuit and conquest of the fair sex but even he realized that sexual pleasure was nothing compared to the manifold loves found in marriage and family life.

Within living memory, young people were not adults until their majority –age 21. One of the results of making 18 year olds adults has been to lower the age of consent so that college teachers and even high school teachers could have consensual sex with persons who are legally adults. This has had the effect of encouraging sexual contact between adults and mature teenagers. There are many 17,18 and 19 year olds who could pass for 20 or 21 with the proper dress and makeup. And since it is established that it is natural for persons to be sexually aroused (in most cases by persons of the opposite sex) sexual contact is always a temptation and always a possibility.

I have known high school teachers to marry their former students. In all the cases I know the age different was not great –less than seven years- and in each case I know the older partner was a male. I believe but I do not know that they did not seriously begin to date until the student had graduated from high school and junior college I will not even speak of college professors and their mores but suffice it to say

I am old enough to recall my parents speaking of the America they grew up in ,as immigrants, an grew to adulthood in the 1930’s and 1940’s. America upheld a certain degree of 'moral standards' there were things that, even in Hollywood, were best kept in the 'closet' such as the true sexual proclivities of Charles Laughton –that charming and brilliant actor- and his faux marriage to Elsa Lancaster There were always scandals, rumors and gossip but no one outwardly discussed their 'sexual preference' because, after all going to prison was, well, just not a good thing. Did anyone need to know Rock Hudson was a flaming homosexual who loved wild orgies and very young boys? Leo Katcher ( the brother of Ed Katcher, Ruth Rosenberg and Gladys Bletter) my father’s business partner and closest friend Herb Katcher regaled us at the old 1407 club –now Abigail’s I believe- with tales of Mr. Hudson’s escapades ,some of which he personally witnessed, in the finest hotels in New York. As I recall as Leo Katcher explained it, Mr. Hudson’s agents was pleading that none of the reporters break the news so as not to destroy Mr. Hudson’s career circa 1959. I can’t help but think in retrospect that Leo Katcher may have had the goods on actors like Tyrone Power and Hudson and that might have helped him get on in show business. He certainly was in the know as my father used to say. He was a West Coast correspondent for the New York Post and wrote numerous screen plays and also wrote an excellent biography of Bakersfield worthy Earl Warren I read a number of years ago I always admired Tyrone Power –he volunteered for the Marines in WWII- but who needed to know the sordid details of his personal (reportedly bisexual) private life? Whose business was it to know that Errol Flynn was a complete reprobate and drunk who liked his whisky very old -15 years or more- and his sexual conquests very young? Let me enjoy the romantic hero of Robin Hood, Dawn Patrol, The Charge of the Light Brigade and They Died with their Boots On. I suppose I am very old-fashioned and a traditionalist but Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, Jean Simmons, Elizabeth Montgomery, Shirley Jones and Maureen O’Hara -in their screen personas anyway- were to me very glamorous and classy. The very feminine womanhood they portrayed and the romance they engendered was far more pleasurable, more entertaining and probably sexier than seeing every current sluttish actress alive rutting like dogs in heat while displaying their surgically crafted 30 or 40 something bodies for the entire world to see. (And to my continuing delight, happiness and comfort, I married a Spanish lady de nobleza y carácter whose views on such matters are the same as mine. Go seek your pleasures where you will etc.)

When people went mad after Janis Joplin I was applauding Mary O’Hara, the Irish harpist who was a delightful person and an excellent conversationalist. She was a very accessible person, especially in the Mass a night after her concert. If she recognized you from the audience she would sit to have coffee with you in the Parish Hall. Not the greatest voice nor the greatest physical beauty in the world but a delightful woman and extremely appealing especially in person. A few hours in the physical presence of such a woman is a reminder that Hugh Heffner knows very little about love indeed. In his pursuit of ¼ of it over and over again he misses the best ¾. It seems to me all he knows about is the” old in and out” that is to say rutting like a wild animal. I have been blessed to have known the affection and the love of many women and men without having slept with any of them. I think it not too much to say that Mary O’Hara was possibly one of the greatest characters I have ever met and I have met more than my share of good and godly persons. Meeting her was almost like meeting Mother Teresa or Elizabeth Anne Seton in person. That is how profound an impact she had on me. She had a great spiritual glow and exuded a spirit of love and kindness. It was simply unforgettable it was faith, charity, humanity and womanhood in its full bloom. What is “the old in and out’ that “expense of spirit in a waist of shame” compared to that?

T & A –and I am not talking about tardiness and absenteeism- has always abounded in theatre, the arts and film but I have to admit that I prefer the glory of the human voice lifted in fine song over any air-brushed cheesecake photo. I never could understand the popularity of Playboy; just a lot of wanton lasses, no-talent models and aspiring actresses. People just like ex-teacher Debra LaFave. The first thing to realize about our society and Western society in particular is Anything Goes. This is why we have genocide, infanticide, that Holocaust and holocausts present and holocausts to come. We, ain’t, my friends ‘seen nothin’ yet. I have visions of Ypres 1918, Berlin and Manila 1945; the first was endured by my grandfather, the next was experienced by my uncle and the last by my father. Their descriptions left a profound impression of the true suicidal folly of mankind and the deep tragedy of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man. And I have read Steven Vincent Benet’s “By the Waters of Babylon.”

We are in a race for our lives between education and total annihilation whether we know it or not and the real battle, I am convinced, is in the home and the classroom not the battlefield.


(December 20, 2008, on the banks of the San Joaquin River –California, USA- as the sun is shinning this quiet Saturday morning)

IN CASE the hedonist allusion passed over you here is a refresher:

In olden days a glimpse of stockings,
Was looked on as something shocking,
Now heaven knows,
Anything goes.

Good authors too who once knew better words,
Now only use four-letter words,
Writing prose,
Anything Goes. JEWEL A version known to be contemporary with Cole Porter.

Read for example this book or at least the book review of David Shaw’s book the PLEASURE POLICE:

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