The sexual abuse of children by anyone is inexcusable and a crime. However, the sensationalized series The Bee ran on teacher sexual abuse of children (Oct. 21-23) is misleading, and wrongly casts a dark shadow of mistrust and suspicion over all teachers.
The articles said more than 2,500 teachers over a five-year period were punished for sexual abuse of students; the figure of "nearly three for every school day" was also used. Both references suggest that less than one-tenth of one percent (0.1 percent) of teachers get in trouble for sexual abuse of children. This appears to be lower than the rate of child sexual abuse among the U.S. population as a whole.
It is astonishing to learn that school districts sometimes cut deals with teachers who have been caught sexually abusing their students. School administrators and attorneys make these deals, not teachers. It is the same old story: Blame teachers for policy failures and administrative errors in education. Somehow, though, we teachers remain steadfast in our commitment to our students, and though it sometimes seems as though society has turned against us, we persevere.