Share via Email The consequences of a pupil's relationships with a teacher can be devastating. But she did not realise he had done anything potentially illegal until she read about the case of year-old Megan Stammers, who was found and taken into protective care on Friday after fleeing to France with her married maths teacher, who was arrested. Now Sophie is contemplating calling the police.
In Sophie's case, the teacher is still teaching teenage girls at a prestigious private school a few miles from her house. She, on the other hand, struggles every day to cope with the effects his violence and oppression had on her teenage self. The sex was aggressive and sickening, but I was infatuated: All the girls fancied him. He was obsessively possessive and I was completely under his thumb. I had been this bubbly, strong and independent teenager.
Then, to her surprise, she felt relief. Most of my relationships since then have been really awful and violent. I can't trust men in positions of authority. I was predicted four A-grades at A-level and had great plans for university. It all started with him. If he had not done what he did to me when I was too young to know what was going on, my life now would be very different. He was her form tutor. The relationship was intense: But they had to keep it a secret in school.
He dumped her nine days before her A-levels — and then invigilated at her exams. Sophie didn't achieve anything like the grades she had been predicted but still got into university. Then he rekindled the relationship. When it ended a second time, she fell apart, dropping out of university and into a life of chaos and self-destruction. All these years later, he still deserves to be punished for what he did, doesn't he?
Is it my responsibility to try to protect the girls at the school he's now teaching at? Prior to that act, the age of consent — 16 — was the only issue.
Teaching unions claim pupil-teacher affairs are "very rare". Between and , teachers were prosecuted for relationships with pupils, according to reports. One school has dealt with no fewer than five incidents.
When, in , Christopher Reen, 31, a classroom supervisor at Headlands school in Bridlington, was jailed for three years and four months after admitting six counts of sexual activity with a year-old female pupil, it emerged that four former staff at the same school had faced the courts in recent years over inappropriate sexual conduct. There has never been a prosecution. She has, however, fought for years to get him struck off the teachers' register — something she finally achieved in August this year.
The relationship became nasty, violent, obsessive and physically and sexually abusive. It took just one conversation for them to make her realise she had been manipulated and abused.
No one from these organisations contacted me. I was a mess and couldn't go through with prosecution, but I always stuck to my story. They all knew what the allegations were, but none of them did anything to investigate.
Everything was brushed under the carpet. The teacher moved and continued teaching in a different part of Scotland. The police investigated for more than a year and ultimately charged the teacher with, she thinks, rape and assault. Nevertheless, the teacher was suspended by the council in April and finally struck off the teaching register last month.
I see how he manipulated my year-old self and I realise how someone of my age would know, absolutely, that it was completely wrong and inappropriate to get into a relationship with someone of that age. And I wish someone had told me that it was never, ever my fault. Sikes first fell in love with her husband when she was 14 and he was her year-old teacher. Their sexual relationship, however, did not begin until he left the school when she was While stressing that girls need to be protected against predatory male teachers, her study concludes that this should not be "through blanket laws that have the effect of making all women into weak, potential victims".
Others describe relationships with teachers that were on the cusp of inappropriate and caused parents and other teachers concern — but were ultimately a positive experience. Sapphire had an intense, albeit non-sexual, relationship with her maths teacher between the ages of 13 and From him, I learned that the opposite sex could be gentle, empathetic, clever, interesting and interested.
I never had the slightest interest in boys of my own age because, by comparison, they were sexually crass, emotionally unreliable and intellectually dull. To this day, I'm grateful for that. He prevented her leaving his class when her grades improved enough to move into a higher set, insisting that he would tutor her himself to pass the exams.
He joked about it afterwards, saying it was like we'd had a lover's tiff. I think my parents were a bit confused by it all. They knew nothing explicitly wrong was going on and so they didn't quite know what do to about it.
He was a really important part of my life. As she neared 18, however, the relationship shifted. He sent Sapphire 18 red roses on her birthday and appeared at her class's leaving party.
She left school and never saw him again. Two decades on, she feels fondness and sadness for him. She was 15 when Tom came to teach at her girls' school. She moved to a sixth-form college at A week later, Tom asked her out on a date. I wasn't particuarly taken by him until we went for that drink. They had two children and the marriage lasted for 30 years, until , when Tom died. Katherine says laws that prevent teachers and pupils having relationships are correct.
I suppose I was flattered at first, because he was a teacher and an older man — but only for that first date," she says.