Student - teacher relationships post graduation
May 26, 2015 1:48 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for examples of policies, laws, or other ways organizations deal with the dynamic of high school student and teacher romantic relationships immediately post-graduation, specifically on the teacher side of things.

If a high school teacher becomes romantically involved with a graduated student who is also over the age of consent, everything is ostensibly legal. However, when such a relationship closely follows graduation/a birthday, I feel there's an asterisk to it.

Can you point me to any schools, governments, or other organizations who have policies about such a situation? I'm envisioning something that isn't as concerned with the actions of former students (now adults in their own right) as it is concerned with what is considered acceptable behavior by figures in authority.

If I'm widely considered to be wrong about the asterisk on this, or if policies about these situations aren't common, I'd also appreciate any pointers to things I could read to further my knowledge about this.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug to Law & Government (5 answers total)
Best answer: The APA (Psychologist) has an ethical guideline of two years post treatment and the NASW ( Social Workers)has one year re: sexual involvement with a client. These are relatively absolute and even after the defined period there are numerous cautions and concerns. I am not sure why a teacher should be any different--the bottom line (for me) is that it is tacky and unseemly for the person and the profession.
posted by rmhsinc at 7:05 PM on May 26, 2015

In Australia:
The tribunal said there also appeared to be an assumption within the profession that a relationship with a former student was permissible as long as it did not start while the student was at school.

But it has warned in several cases of the power imbalance that can influence inappropriate relationships between teachers and students or former students - even after the student has left school.

In the last two years Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal has disqualified five teachers who had sexual relationships with former students shortly after they left school.
A lawyer can explain how laws apply to specific situations, and information about how to find an attorney is available at the MeFi Wiki Get a lawyer page. Since the timing would tend to imply the possibility of illegal conduct in advance of graduation, a criminal defense attorney may be able to offer relevant advice and referrals to appropriately licensed therapists to address some of the other issues raised in this question.
posted by Little Dawn at 7:46 PM on May 26, 2015

If you start dating an ex-student right after he or she turns 18, everyone is going to assume it started before then. That's not going to look great, and it will be hard to prove otherwise. The law isn't going to spell out a time limit on dating students. It's going to have a blanket clause about appropriate relationships with students. Tenure laws are rapidly changing and it's becoming easier to fire bad teachers.

You'll have to trust me on how I know this information, but I know of a teacher who had relationships with two students only after they reached the age of consent. I am not sure if they were still students or if it was right after they graduated. He didn't face any consequences for a little while, until a couple people caught wind of it and pressured the school board to act. They didn't fire him or revoke his teaching license, but some sort of agreement was reached where he voluntarily resigned to avoid having it made public or investigated. Even if you don't go to jail, you may still be faced with a choice where you need to walk away from your job.
posted by AppleTurnover at 8:30 PM on May 26, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks, these are all very helpful answers.

A lawyer can explain how laws apply to specific situations

I should clarify that this question is not in regards to any real life events, but simply me looking to better prepare myself for discussion about this topic. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:16 PM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: From rmhsinc's direction, I discovered this article from the APA: Sexual involvements with former clients: A delicate balance of core values. While the topic isn't strictly what I asked about, it was the exact type of reading I was looking for. Thanks!
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 9:13 AM on May 27, 2015

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