Relationships are absolutely wrong;Letter

26th February 1999 at 00:00
Not surprisingly, the statement by Chris Woodhead concerning relationships between teacher and student caused a minor furore though more people seem to get worked up about the transient specifics of football than they do about basic elements of society.

There can be no justification for intimate relationships. This seems to me to be about as near to an absolute as possible in our morally-relativistic society. The teacher-student relationship is based on power and trust: abuse entails exploitation, wittingly or not.

Unfortunately, the limited outcry may indicate not just a low level of public concern, but also teacher ambivalence. If teaching is to deserve the status of a profession, then it must take a more positive position about its role and standards. The alternative is a continuing slide into the legalistic prescription, regulation and policing which undermines the nature of any professional relationship and rots the fabric of society.

Christopher Swain

55 Vernons Close

Henham, Herts

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