'Public Perception of Teachers' Sexual Misconduct: Does the Sex of the Teacher Make a Difference?
Alternative Law Journal, Vol. 35, No. 3, pp. 142-146, 2010
6 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2011 Last revised: 5 Dec 2012
We first identified that in recent sexual misconduct matters, female teachers received lighter sentences than their male counterparts. Could this be a reflection of community attitudes that minimize the criminality of a female teacher having sexual relations with a male student who is under the age of consent? Research in sexual assault has shown that to some extent judges’ decision-making may be unconsciously and implicitly affected by gender and sex myths and in their assessment of harm. To test this explanation for the relative leniency in sentencing women teachers, we conducted a small ‘community’ survey. We found evidence of gendered views about sexual misconduct. There is increased likelihood that the conduct is regarded as more serious if the student is female given a perception that the female experiences more negative impacts. Greater blame is placed on a male teacher who has a sexual relationship with a female student.
Keywords: Sexual misconduct, attitudes about sexual misconduct, gender differences
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation