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Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature

  • A 2004 U.S. Department of Education survey of 2,500 students in grades 8 through 11 found that
    13 percent of reported incidents involved a female educator and a female student.
  • 6.7 percent of American students report some type of sexual contact with teachers or other school employees during their school careers.
  • Overall, 4.5 million American students were subjected to sexual misconduct by school employees between kindergarten and 12th grade.

Study of State Policies to Prohibit Aiding and Abetting Sexual Misconduct in Schools

Teacher Sexual Misconduct: Grooming Patterns and Female Offenders

Educator sexual misconduct has received increasing attention over the past decade. The attention has exposed a number of concerning issues, including a lack of formal research in the area and difficulties in recognizing and prosecuting cases. Public responses
to high-profile cases of sexual misconduct involving female teachers suggest that gender-biased views on sex offenders remain prominent in society. This article will review the literature on female teacher sexual misconduct in addition to what is known about
grooming patterns and warning signs. Finally, current dilemmas in resolving cases of educator sexual misconduct will be discussed, and basic prevention strategies will be recommended.

According to Harry Krop, a licensed psychologist in Gainesville

“The motivation, for adult women who form a sexual relationship with boys is different than men who develop relationships with girls. Men who have sex with girls, tend to have sexual disorders, such as pedophilia. But for women, it’s not about the sex, but rather the romance. It’s more of a need to be desired, to have someone find them attractive and the need for attention,” Krop said.

Sexual Abuse in Social Context: Catholic Clergy and Other Professionals

The American Medical Association found in 1986 that one in four girls, and one in eight boys, are sexually abused in or out of school before the age of 18. Two years later, a study included in The Handbook on Sexual Abuse of Children, reported that one in four girls, and one in six boys, is sexually abused by age 18.[xxix] It was reported in 1991 that 17.7 percent of males who graduated from high school, and 82.2 percent of females, reported sexual harassment by faculty or staff during their years in school. Fully 13.5 percent said they had sexual intercourse with their teacher.[xxx]

In New York City alone, at least one child is sexually abused by a school employee every day. One study concluded that more than 60 percent of employees accused of sexual abuse in the New York City schools were transferred to desk jobs at district offices located inside the schools. Most of these teachers are tenured and 40 percent of those transferred are repeat offenders. They call it “passing the garbage” in the schools. One reason why this exists is due to efforts by the United Federation of Teachers to protect teachers at the expense of children.[xxxi] Another is the fact that teachers accused of sexual misconduct cannot be fired under New York State law.[xxxii]

One of the nation’s foremost authorities on the subject of the sexual abuse of minors in public schools is Hofstra University professor Charol Shakeshaft. In 1994, Shakeshaft and Audrey Cohan did a study of 225 cases of educator sexual abuse in New York City. Their findings are astounding.

All of the accused admitted sexual abuse of a student, but none of the abusers was reported to the authorities, and only 1 percent lost their license to teach. Only 35 percent suffered negative consequences of any kind, and 39 percent chose to leave their school district, most with positive recommendations. Some were even given an early retirement package.[xxxiii]

Moving molesting teachers from school district to school district is a common phenomenon. And in only 1 percent of the cases do superintendents notify the new school district.[xxxiv] According to Diana Jean Schemo, the term “passing the trash” is the preferred jargon among educators.[xxxv]

Shakeshaft has also determined that 15 percent of all students have experienced some kind of sexual misconduct by a teacher between kindergarten and 12th grade; the behaviors range from touching to forced penetration.[xxxvi] She and Cohan also found that up to 5 percent of teachers sexually abuse children.[xxxvii] Shakeshaft will soon be ready to release the findings of a vast study undertaken for the Planning and Evaluation Service Office of the Undersecretary, U.S. Department of Education, titled, “Educator Sexual Misconduct with Students: A Synthesis of Existing Literature on Prevalence in Connection with the Design of a National Analysis.”[xxxviii]

From The Blaze: New analysis shows an alarming number of teachers arrested for child sex crimes in 2022

From FoxNews: At least 135 teachers, aides charged with child sex crimes this year alone – 102 of the cases, or 76%, involved alleged sex crimes against students


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