Are Student Teacher Relationships Illegal?

We have different kinds of relationships, and some come with clear limits while others come with the unclear limit to what should/can be done and what shouldn’t/can’t be done. Let us know Are Student Teacher Relationships Illegal?

Let us know Are Student Teacher Relationships Illegal?

The more intimate a relationship goes, the more unclear the boundaries are except in a situation where the parties involved have discussed and set that.

However, in society, certain kinds of relationships are not meant for a certain group of persons and those relationships are mostly the ones whose boundaries are unclear.

Groups of persons like students and teachers are by law banned from establishing an inappropriate relationship. 

Under the code of education profession, it isn’t excusable for a student and teacher to engage in any kind of sexual relationship even if the student is above the legal adult age or the student is enrolled in another school within the same district except the school has nothing to do with the teacher’s school.

For example, Jack and Rose are in love with each other in school. Let’s assume Rose to be Jack’s teacher and they have gotten to know each other well over the years. As time goes on, they began to care and feel for each other. Their age gap might be a difference of three years with Jack above the lawful adult age, but it is still wrong.

Maybe, it is not constitutionally wrong as both are old enough to figure out their choices and the relationship might be consensual, but it is against the profession’s ethics, and it comes with its share of charges.

As a certain student has put it ‘’student should be treated by faculty as a person who’s involved in education and learning, not as promising sexual partners’’.

In as much as it is not against the law, if the students and teachers are consenting adults when they engage in a sexual relationship, it is considered a transgression of professional ethics and is forbidden by most policies in colleges and universities.

In any case, the age of any given student is not particularly important to the school when dealing with such issues.

A teacher is in a position of trust and there is a seemingly unacceptable equal power relationship between a teacher and his/her student when both began to indulge in sexual relationships.

The integrity of the teacher-student relationship is the foundation of the education’s mission. The relationship as a mentor, educator, and evaluator can be manifested effectively in a state of trust, authority, and accountability that the profession demands. 

Reasons for having teacher-student sexual relationships illegal

  • It could be statutory rape if one of the parties, the student mostly is under the consenting age. This is a criminal offense and has legal charges attached to it
  • There is a power dynamic that occurs due to the difference in social status between the parties. Teachers are in a position of trust and authority, and they have power over what matters in the life of a student which is grades. Unacceptable relationships between a teacher and a student bring about acts that work against the mission and vision of the educational institutions. To get a student’s attention or to keep their affection, teachers can temper with records to give the student better grades, extra credit, ignore misbehavior, and other advantages.
  • It creates an imbalance, an atmosphere where fairness for other students is in question. Since grades and academic performance matter, it is primary that students are on a level playing field and sexual intimacy with a teacher does not allow that. 

The teacher-student sexual relationship usually gives teachers an incentive to provide unfairly preferential treatment to a student that gives them something they want.

  • There is the risk of the teacher exploiting their power over the student to control them. For example, if the teacher is just particularly jealous or controlling, he/she might let their anger get the best of them and their positions to deny the student of their privileges (scholarships, degree, grade, a student’s permanent record) which can sabotage a student’s efforts in school.

Student-teacher sexual relationships might be ruled out by the law when both parties are of consenting age but with a teacher in a position of authority over the students and can violate the ethics of the profession to cause a lot of harm if such relationships were permitted. Therefore, it is completely appropriate that such a relationship isn’t permitted because of its high tendency to turn abusive and exploitative.

What are the legal penalties and the outcomes of a student-teacher sexual relationship?

  • It is charged with two to twenty years in prison and a maximum of $10,000 fine.
  • A permanent criminal record
  • Loss of a teaching license
  • The requirement to register as a sex offender
  • Loss of the right to vote
  • Loss of child custody or visitation
  • Difficulty in finding future employment
  • Denial of visa, permanent residency, citizenship, or deportation.
  • Stigmatization amid scandal
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression 


Can a teacher sleep with a former student?

Under the law, it is right as far as the two parties are above the consenting age but should that be the question. With morality, ethics, professionalism, and reputation as a factor to consider, it became a question of “should”.

A teacher that engages his/herself in such an act will suffer a greater loss in the long run especially if they didn’t get married to each other. We aren’t defined by our feelings but by our actions towards them. If such action should take place and the word gets out, the teacher will be in a state of liability in the school with a stain on his/her reputation. The teacher will also lose tremendous respect among the students and this can undermine the teacher’s authority over the students. All these potential fallouts can constitute the teacher being laid off if there should be staff cuts.

What is it called when a teacher sleeps with a student?

There is no particular term for such an act but it’s predominantly viewed as sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a range of mid-sexual annoyances, from unwanted erotic contact to extreme cases like rapes and others. 

As it is, even in a case of consensual sex between a teacher and student, it is still considered sexual harassment because the inherent power differential creates a dynamic in which “mutual consent” is impossible.

Ultimately, in 1999, the supreme court decided that students who are violated and sexually harassed can seek monetary damages from their school district.