Just a few days ago I went off on a little bird walk while considering a hazing (sexual assault) incident that occurred at a middle school earlier this fall.
In my web wandering thoughts, I pointed out how easily I could pull up another news report on ‘hazing’ that was in fact group based sexual assault. Another name for this kind of activity is also rarely used when sports teams are initiating younger players: gang rape.
In any case, I did a search for another story and I then shared reports from Robertson High School in Las Vegas. In that incident six former football players are accused of sodomizing other teammates with a broomstick during a training camp.
As my thoughts wandered I concluded that if the superintendent at the middle school is willing to call sexual assault ‘horseplay’ there is going to be a lot more horseplay as young male athletes grow older, bigger, more popular, and more powerful.
So why do I bring this all up again? Well, in a bitter irony it seems that Robertson High School – the school with the football team rape charges – today readily illustrates another of my post yesterday’s about teachers and sexual misconduct.
I was considering yesterday how little we as a society, as well as we as an education profession, discuss the ethics and power tied up in teacher student relationships. In particular I was pondering how little we discuss a teachers power and access to manipulate or force sexual favors from students. And I was pointing out how we often prefer to call this ugly little secret misconduct or in this case inappropriate conduct rather than what it actually is, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and statutory rape. Such ugly words – but accurate words for precisely the topic at hand.
And so this morning when this story popped up on my news feed: Inappropriate conduct latest scandal at Robertson HS, I was not surprised by the situations, but I was saddened that Robertson High School is once again the locus of the conversation. I guess it shouldn’t be too suprising that once a few veils of silence were removed (thanks first to the football team, and then later to a coach/teacher) there would be more and more reports of inappropriate conduct.
So I suppose you are wondering, what exactly was the inappropriate conduct at Robinson HS?
Earlier this month, former coach and teacher, Jay Quintana, was arrested and charged with having sex with a former student for years.
and more recently:
Police tell Eyewitness News 4 they are investigating two separate cases involving female staff members from Robertson High School and male students.
Head cheerleading coach Krystle King – who is the daughter of Robertson High’s principal – is on paid leave. So is school councilor Amadee Duran.
So yea. It’s more of the same. That is the same conduct that Oregon’s TSPC is swamped with this year since legally requiring schools to report this conduct rather than dealing with it behind closed doors and passing teachers off with sealed agreements. Once the issue is uncorked – guess what – it’s in the very air we breath. Power, gender, sexuality, and domination of those in vulnerable positions is ubiquitous and regularly ignored in and out of schools. Once the conversation starts there is bound to be a snowball effect.
I am sorry for the community in Las Vegas that is facing this difficult conversation in a void. With now a triad of incidents hitting the national level for this school it will be very difficult for everyone in the community. And I believe we are kidding ourselves any time we point to this school or any other and suggest that the situation is only happening there. This is a problem that will keep on waiting and recurring until we choose as a community to call it by name and do something about it.