A Bryant, Arkansas, “former” high school teacher has been charged with six counts of felony sexual assault. Courtney Speer, 31, resigned from her 9th grade teaching position at Bryant High School after a 17-year-old student told authorities he and Speer had had sex on at least six occasions. Speer is married and has two children.
When I saw this bit on my local news last night, naturally I texted my son and his wife, both graduates of Bryant High School, to ask if they knew this woman. Neither of them had heard of her, but they have been out of school a few years so it’s possible she began working at Bryant after they were out of school.
There are conflicting details. One story says Speer and the student started having sex when he was her student in 9th grade English, when he was fifteen. Most stories say that they started having sex in June of this year in the school parking lot. IN THE SCHOOL PARKING LOT. Wow. This is new heights (or lows?) of stupidity.
Teachers having sex with students is something I just can’t wrap my head around. I mean, I’ve been a teacher. Never, at any time, have I been the slightest bit attracted to a student. Usually when you hear about student-teacher sex scandals these days, it’s men with boys. There have been two or three of those cases right here in my home county. But women having affairs with male students is not unheard of. The most famous case, of course, is that of Mary Kay Letourneau, who went to prison from 1997 to 2004 for having sex with her 13-year-old student, Vili Fualaau. She was married with four children at the time. The two continued the relationship during her imprisonment and she had two children by Fualaau while incarcerated. They got married after she was released.
Oh, how times have changed. Or maybe not. When I was a sophomore in high school, two of my school’s football coaches were having affairs with female students. One was married with three kids, and the girl he was seeing and I were in his biology class together. Yeah, pretty awkward, since it was an open secret throughout the school what was going on. The other coach was younger, unmarried, and his girlfriend was a year older than I. She was also his student and his student aide during the class period I had him for history. The School Board eventually called both coaches on the carpet. They told the married coach to cut it out or be fired and put his on probation, whatever that meant, but the unmarried coach? They told him as long as his personal relationship was not evident during school hours, he was fine.
Now this School Board was comprised of very conservative, Church of Christ town leaders. We students were like, WHAT? The girl in question was quite mature for her age, and her parents didn’t have a problem with her dating this man and they were a prominent family in our small town, but STILL. I couldn’t get over the sight of the two of them walking off the field arm in arm at the end of every football game on Friday nights.
The weird thing for me is that typically, the teachers involved in these scandals are not unattractive. Other people report that they seem to be nice, normal human beings. So what’s the deal? Why can they not find someone to have sex with WHO IS NOT THEIR STUDENT??? A partner, even, WHO WON’T LAND THEM IN JAIL. There must be thousands of potential partners for any given person of reasonable attractiveness and intelligence. So really, why go there? Some of them are ALREADY MARRIED, which, of course, is not the same thing at all as having a sexual partner.
I’m not normally a judgy-type person, but I judge these teachers and find them seriously wanting as human beings. They are supposed to be taking cared of these students, not taking advantage. I don’t care if the students were willing participants, and I suspect many of them are. They are still kids, and the teachers are adults in positions of trust and enormous responsibility. Teachers who break this trust deserve to have the book thrown at them.
Yes. I just said that.