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Old 03-24-2012, 07:07 PM   #37
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,181
Re: What would you do? (Older male teacher with young female student)

David Maidment wrote: View Post
I have to say that I read the original post and felt a certain level of disgust.

What business is it of yours if a teacher someone pursues a student outside of the 'classroom'?
Well, unfortunately, the answer to that isn't cut and dried. At the risk of oversimplifying, I think there are two issues -- speaking in the general case, not specific to this one.

The first is whether the student is being harmed. Let's leave age of consent out of it for the moment, and suppose the student was an adult. If you knew someone who was in a relationship and you believed that relationship to be abusive, what would you do? Possibly nothing. But possibly you would do something -- talk to the person that you believe is being abused, express concern, listen carefully to the answers, offer information on resources. You wouldn't be obligated to do any of that, and to some people, that would make it "none of your business". Other people see it differently.

The second is whether the student is under the age of consent, which varies a lot from state to state. In some cases, it's low enough that being below the age of consent virtually guarantees that the person's judgment is not mature enough for a sexual relationship. In others, it's high enough that by the time you can legally consent to sex, you can also join the military. You can see, therefore, that the age of consent doesn't tell you whether someone actually is capable of giving informed consent -- but as Zonker Harris once said, "It may or may not be wrong, but it sure is against the law." If one partner is below the age of consent, the adult partner is risking a world of legal hurt. Even if you think the relationship is fine and dandy and are favorably disposed towards the parties involved, you might drop a word to the wise and help them avoid a lot of trouble.

David Maidment wrote: View Post
I am friends with my sensei outside of training, and during class I'm fairly certain they extend a certain level of preferential treatment and attention to me; it's not necessarily fair, but it's human nature.
Eh. I understand what you're saying, but what if your sensei's preferential treatment makes other students unhappy? It's "not their business" to tell your sensei not to be friends with you, but the atmosphere in the dojo and the way that they are treated most certainly is their business. If your sensei takes a "not your business" attitude towards that, why would any other students stay?

David Maidment wrote: View Post
Unless you have actual proof that something illegal transpired, I sincerely hope that you have kept these opinions to yourself; what you are implying (rather baselessly, from what you have said so far) can be extremely damaging to a person's reputation, career and personal relationships.
Damaged how? OP posted anonymously, gave no hints and named no names.

You don't have to have proof to be convinced in your own mind that something is wrong, and just because it's not legally actionable doesn't mean there's nothing you can do, if the situation strikes you as wrong. At the most basic level, every person has the right to say, "I don't want to be around this" and walk away.
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