From the Other Side...
I think it is wonderful what you are all saying. I think love is a wonderful and amazing thing and is the closest thing we have to magic on this planet. There is nothing wrong in loving someone. That being said, I just wanted to share something with you from the "other side". Like I said, there is nothing wrong with loving someone. It's just all in how you love them. And even then, people misconstrue things based on their own beliefs and experiences...
I am...was, a teacher. No, I didn't sleep with a student. No, I didn't touch a student inappropriately. No, I didn't give them booze, drugs, or break any kind of laws. I would NEVER do anything like that. Never. What I did was to not be careful about caring.
I teach music - funny how it's always the music teachers getting in trouble, huh? I think you can chalk it up to long rehearsals, intimate quarters, and just doing something which requires so much emotion and feeling, so much giving of yourself personally, that just creates a bond between teacher and students. There is nothing like it in any other subject. You can try to argue it but there is no comparison like singing or playing an instrument. It is really a gateway into your soul. Anyway...
I used to teach music in a small, rural, low-income school district. About half the kids (and I'm being generous) came from either neglectful or abusive households. I taught kids from fith grade all the way up to high school. So over the course of their time in the district, I would see these kids grow from being shy timid 11, 12 year olds into wonderful young adults. Seven years. That's a long time to know someone. Almost half of their life. I had many students who told me that I was either like a second father to them or that I was like the parent they never had and always wanted. It's hard not to grow attached to these kids and thing of them as your own despite knowing that there are lines there that you have to be very very careful not to cross. I remember one girl, out of a dozen or so, whose mother came up to me on the day she graduated. She said to me, "I just thought you should know, the only reason she came to school was because of you." How do you not feel moved and touched by such a statement. How do you not want to do everything in your power to reach out to more of these kids and show them that they are important, that they can learn, that someone cares about them.
<<I know I am being long winded, but it is important to know the background so you can understand what I am getting to>>
If you've ever been in chorus (or any other ensemble) where there are kids that just don't seem to want to be there and you wonder why the director just doesn't kick them out...well, it's because even though they don't seem to be paying much attention, they really need to be there. This girl I told you about - she was one of those kids. Had I kicked her out of chorus - she would have become a drop out. By letting her stay, she graduated and went on to college. That's why. Everyone matters.
Anyway...I've been in this district nine years. (had been). Six years ago we started doing Musicals. Ever been in a musical? If so, you know how tight knit the cast can get. We were that way. I had to constantly tell kids to stop changing in front of me and go change in the bathroom (we used an old town hall for our shows). Most of the time, they ignored me and I just turned my eyes, shook my head, and walked away. They laughed. My last year my wife who helped with the shows and I grew very close to the senior class. To give you any idea of what this class was like: Out of the top ten, only 2 were not in the musical.
--so here's where the story really starts--
I'm going to leave some details out to preserve some anonymity. One of my seniors. Yes, they were my seniors. I knew some of them for seven years like I said. One of my senior girls came up to me the day before graduation. Mind you, they were all done their classes and just had closing ceremonies which weren't really required. Basically they were graduated. I'll also mention that she was 18, almost 19, not that it matters because nothing happened between us - which is the cautionary part. She came up to me and was very upset and emotional about something that happened to her (involving her "soon-to-be" ex-boyfriend and this other guy she liked). She confided in me some stuff that happened and I listened and supported her. She asked if she could hang out with me as I did some errands. Her parents didn't care. My wife was ok with it. And I thought, you know, she's 18, she graduates tomorrow. No big deal. Well, that's not how the school district decided to view it. Next thing I knew, I'm hearing rumors that we are sleeping together, that this happened and that happened.
To make a long story short, despite myself denying, despite her parents denying, despite her denying, despite her being 18 and basically no longer a student, the superintendent decided that there was enough evidence to get rid of me and basically ruin my career. In the end, I resigned rather than risk going through a trial/hearing and getting it publicized in the news. Nothing will kill you faster than that as a teacher. Not that I am going to ever teach again...I never want to have to deal with that again. All because I cared too much about a student who asked if I could be her friend for a little while.
So please...please...think about what you are doing before you do it. Sure, he/she may seem like the greatest person in the world. Sure, they seem really nice to you - and for the most part, I believe your teachers do honestly care for you. (Some of the stories, from what I read, some of them care too much as in the wrong way - girls, be very very careful of them). Just know that should you act on your feelings, there can be repercussions so huge it can make your head spin. And in the end, the person you love will suffer terribly for that love. If you really love them, wait until AFTER you graduate. Wait until you are in college and there is some distance and space. Then, if you still have those feelings, then tell them. Just think first. Going through what I did was sheer hell. I ended up in a deep deep depression (and still am most days) and it has been nearly a year now. No one needs to go through that. Love them. Just wait though. and be careful, because, like my story illustrates - even if nothing happens, impressions and rumors can be just as good as fact in getting a teacher fired/layed off.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story. I wish I could have been a little more detailed in what happened but I, my wife, my daughter, or the girl need any more publicity. The only reason I shared it at all was to give you an idea of what can happen even in the most innocent of circumstances