Just plain wrong;Letter

27th August 1999 at 01:00
I WAS completely disgusted by the letter, "Is love such a crime?" (TESS, August 13). The anonymous correspondent argues that there is nothing wrong with a 27-year-old teacher having a 17-year-old senior pupil as his girlfriend. Fair enough, but then he or she goes on to say: "If he was 50 and she was 17 it would be a very different matter and he would deserve all he got."

Why should it be "a very different matter"? Surely what's sauce for the young goose is sauce for the older gander? He or she might as well argue that "in 1999 for heaven's sake" it's quite all right for a young man to be a drunken driver, but totally reprehensible for a man over 50 to be one.

Such an argument is utterly hypocritical and ageist, apart from its complete lack of logic. Why is a teacher of 50 to be condemned for "abuse of power" in having a senior pupil for a lover, but not one "only" 27 years old?

I find the letter disgracefully prejudiced, and the correspondent's anonymity telling, but he or she does illuminate why, as a general principle, sexual relationships, however loving, between pupils and teachers, and whatever the age gap, tend to undermine public confidence in teachers, and rightly so.

(Dr) M Relich

Allan Park Loan, Edinburgh

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