Child Abuse

Teacher Arrested For Having Sex With Adult Student Because Abuse Of Power Is Always Wrong

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Michelle Strickland mug shotTexas band teacher Michelle Strickland has been charged with having a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old student both on and off of school property. According to ABC 13, Strickland and the student would reportedly disappear into a storage room at Stratford High school in Houston, where they would engage in oral sex. The pair also allegedly had sex at the teen’s home and sent each other sexting messages. Now, a sane person would see this and understand the inherent inequality present in the student-teacher relationship (which is exactly why this is a felony offense in Texas). I mean, everyone understands this, right?

I guess not.

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Apparently the Internet just can’t fathom what could possibly be wrong in this situation. Thankfully both the school and the Houston police do understand, and are acting accordingly. From the ABC 13 report:

“After an aggressive investigation by the Spring Branch ISD Police, a former Stratford High School assistant band director, Michelle Strickland, has been arrested. Ms. Strickland has been fired by the district. She is now being charged in connection with an alleged illegal relationship with a student.

Ms. Strickland, 23, served for one year, the 2013-14 school year, and was removed from the classroom and away from contact with students immediately after the start of an investigation into an allegation that she had an inappropriate relationship with an 18-year-old male student.

Spring Branch ISD’s number one priority will always be the safety of our students. We will take swift and decisive action against any employee who ever endangers a student. This type of behavior will never be tolerated in Spring Branch ISD. The bond of trust between our parents and students and the employees of the school district is critically important.”

I can almost understand the desire to excuse this case, seeing as the teacher is only a few years older than the student, and the student is technically an adult. If they were two consenting strangers on the street, I would see absolutely nothing wrong with this relationship. But they aren’t strangers. Strickland was his teacher and there is always going to be a power imbalance in the teacher-student relationship, or really any relationship where someone has authority over another. This is why most universities forbid relationships between professors and students. This is why corrections officers can’t go around boning inmates. And this is why most companies have a policy against managers fraternizing with employees. Why can’t people understand this?

(Photo: Spring Branch ISD Police)