Tracey Clark-Flory at Salon rounds up a few recent stories about teachers are getting criticism and losing their jobs for their off-the-job sexual activity:
At no point was Buranich, who writes erotica as Judy Mays, in danger of losing her job; sanely, the administration didn't actually consider disciplining her over her legal side-job. But there is clearly something irresistible about teachers with decidedly adult extracurricular activities, and many have not been so lucky as Buranich. In 2009, a Florida biology teacher was fired after photos of her in a bikini were discovered online (interestingly enough, after failing to find a new teaching job, she turned to porn). Earlier this year, a teacher in San Diego contested his firing over posting an ad -- with a photo of his face and his penis -- on Craigslist's men-seeking-men section. Last month, a high school secretary in Quebec was sacked after it was discovered that she had done porn; and just the month before, a Florida high school teacher was canned when her X-rated past surfaced. Then, of course, there's Melissa Petro who recently wrote in Salon about losing her job over her public admission of a sex work past.
The issue isn't that there are more teachers who are having sex than there were before. Contrary to popular belief, teachers don't stop existing after school hours and, like everyone else, they're entitled to pleasure in their off-hours.
What has changed is that, with the internet, it's a lot easier to find out that a teacher has sex in their free time. While I was in school, the only sign that a teacher had had sex was if she became pregnant or if a male teacher talked about his wife getting pregnant. That's it.
They were cheered on instead of fired, but that's probably because it was the sort of sex our puritanical culture allowed anyone to participate in: marital, heterosexual sex for the purposes of procreation. This inherently puts a gay and lesbian teacher at a disadvantage as having a relationship at all is a sign of engaging in sex for pleasure, and that's why schools fire teachers who come out and grad schools tell young LGB teachers it's better just to stay in the closet.
Where does this all come from? Time and time again, we see that America doesn't want children to know about sex. And while television and movies are filled with sex, we expect role models, the sorts of people we want them to emulate (not the sports stars who treat women as sex objects), to be chaste. While Americans definitely don't live up to that standard themselves, which would be obvious if the parents who complain about teachers having sex had their sex lives dissected in front of everyone, but hypocrisy is the name of the game when it comes to sex and public lives. The right acknowledges this and thinks hypocrisy is perfectly fine.
However we got here, if asking a group of non-public figures to engage only in marital, heterosexual sex for the duration of their careers for no reason other than it makes stupid people more comfortable doesn't raise a red flag, then the fact that we think that kids will whither if they come into contact with someone who has sex for pleasure should remind us how not-far we really are from Victorian culture.
Or as someone Clark-Flory interviewed put it:
But, is that such an awful thing? As a friend who used to teach told me: "It's pretty shitty, honestly: We have a pay scale that relies on teachers to be altruists. Now they have to be nuns, too? Bullshit!"