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In my previous post I wrote about how the teachers' unions in Rhode Island are blocking a proposed law that would make it a crime for school personnel to have "intimate relations" with a student over the age of consent but still not a legal adult. I am neither for or against a law like this, I am upset because this is enough of a problem that a law has to be considered to address the issue.

When I shared the link to the article on my FB page, I paraphrased Darth Vader by saying, "I find their lack of morality disturbing." Several times in my life, I have said something off the cuff that did not make sense until later. This has been bothering me all week and I finally was able to articulate it. Here it is:

A person who is in a position of authority, of leadership, a professional in their field, is burdened with the responsibility of a certain code of ethics. The finer points of the ethics differ from profession to profession, but the major shared points are these:

  • An obligation to do what your employer tells you to do, within legal boundaries and ones own morality.
  • An obligation to your customer, to give them the best good or service you can for the price.
  • To do no harm to those in your charge, be they employees you supervise or those you mentor.

What these teachers are doing violates all three of the above core ethics. These "teachers" destroy the trust of the customers (the parents) in their employer (the school system) and the teacher themselves, by having a "teacher's pet" the quality of services to all of the students suffers. The "pet" will have certain benefits and attention, while the others will not. The "do no harm" is the worst of all. This will give the "pet" the impression that if they sleep with whoever is in charge of them, they will have an easier time in life, plus it will provide encouragement to those struggling to try that path to improve their lot in life. I promise you, that never ends well for anybody involved.

In the context of a professional field, a union who wishes to maintain the air of professionalism needs to have a severe form of self-policing. Many other professions already have these mechanisms in place. One story like this puts a negative light on every other member of that profession unless the board of ethics deals swiftly and fairly with the matter. If a violation has been found, then the offender should be disbarred from the profession, no matter where they go. Right now if a teacher is terminated for such an event, they lose their job and their state license to teach. This "teacher" can then move to another state, obtain that state's teaching certificate and be back in front of students.

To know the unions will not uphold a minimum level of ethics and morality in their members, or worse yet actively run interference for their immoral ways, makes me want to never deal professionally with anyone in that profession again.

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