Sex with a student is not a ‘relationship’

Last week offered two needed reminders that teachers who have sex with students don’t just exercise poor judgment, cross an ethical line and violate a public trust. They also break the law and risk jail time. The Kansas Court of Appeals upheld a state law that prohibits sexual contact between a teacher and an older teen student, noting “the disparity of power inherent in the teacher/student relationship” as it affirmed the conviction of former Wichita Northwest High School choir teacher Charles Edwards for having had sex with a then-18-year-old student. Also on Friday, Kurt M. Brundage, 33, got 32 months in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of taking indecent liberties with a child while he was an English teacher at Wichita East High School. His victim, who was a 15-year-old former East student at the time, said at Brundage’s sentencing hearing that she wished people wouldn’t use the word “relationship” when describing what happened in her case. That’s an excellent point. There are much better words for it, starting with “sex crime.”