Teacher and Student Relationships

Why are they romanticized and accepted?

Peyton Waddell, Shark Story Editor

Throughout cinematic history, there are countless movies and tv shows where a teacher and a student become involved past the point of professionalism. While this should never be tolerated, and the teacher who becomes infatuated with a minor should lose their job or go to jail, why is it that in these shows, the audience is “shipping” this inappropriate couple, and why are there cases where the teacher and student end up in a legitimate relationship? ANd more importantly, why is this encouraged and romanticized? Is it simply because the actors portraying these characters are attractive, is that what makes it acceptable?

In the drama-filled series, Pretty Little Liars interest forms between Ezra and Aria before the school year began. They met in a bar and hooked up before either of them knew Ezra would be the 16-year-old girl’s teacher. However, the following day when school began and they discovered that he was her English teacher. They decided to continue this relationship despite the inappropriate age difference and the illegality of this situation, Ezra is now capable of having a statutory rape charge held against him. After keeping their relationship a secret, eventually Ezra comes clean to Aria’s parents pertaining to his relationship with their daughter. Her parents obviously bothered by this news, come to eventually accept this relationship and Ezra and Aria end up married and have a baby girl. This show practically encouraged a teacher-student relationship since no one objected to this disgusting couple.

In the tv show Riverdale in season 1, we see a relationship form between one of the main characters Archie and his music teacher Miss Grundy. Archie developed both an interest in music and playing the guitar as well as for Miss Grundy. Their relationship started once Miss Grundy held a tutoring session one on one with Archie. Archie was only a freshman when their relationship began. They progressed to having sex meaning Miss Grundy performed statutory rape. Once his friends discovered their affair she quit her job and moved to another town, getting to start a new life instead of paying for the consequences of pursuing a minor. 

Gossip girl is a show filled with inappropriate relationships so there’s no surprise that there’s an inclusion of a teacher and student becoming involved. Miss Carr was the new Literature teacher at Constance Billard School. Once Serena (a student) introduces her to Dan(another student), Dan develops a crush on the new teacher. This being a very drama-packed series, of course, Miss Carr developed an enemy early on in her arrival. She started a war with Blair Waldorf another student by affecting her chances of getting into Yale. Blair seeking revenge started a rumor that Miss Carr and Dan had slept together. Once Miss Carr discovered the rumor she approached the dean of the school and got Blair expelled. There was a parent meeting hosted where pictures of Dan and Miss Carr on an intimate date were shown and Blair got reenlisted and Mis Carr thinking she has been fired, has sex with Dan. However, Dan discovers that it was Miss Carr that ruined Blair’s chances for Yale and confronts her. Eventually, she speaks with Blair and apologizes for everything, admitting she slept with Dan. Miss Carr leaves the school and Blair is back on track for her dream school. The issue with this storyline is yet another teacher left of her own free will and faced no consequences for the fact she committed statutory rape.

All of these series seem to have something in common, with the teachers who have all committed a crime, are not punished, and get away with their unprofessional actions and decisions. Either ending up with their student or getting to leave and receive a fresh start, both endings are wrong, while there never should’ve been a start to their affairs. The real issue is that directors, writers, and producers are somewhat encouraging this behavior. They are encouraging it by not ending the teacher’s storyline in a negative manner, their life is not affected. This may influence teachers and students that it’s okay to engage in these kinds of relationships and not face consequences, which is a dangerous thought to implement in anyone’s mind. If a show were to include a teacher and student relationship, they need to demonstrate how inappropriate this is by having the teacher face charges and the students faced with consequences.