Adolescents of America, rejoice! For today is one when you should be glad that you are not living out your teenage lives in merry old England. Because one hop over the pond, and you could be subject to a brand new education initiative that gives teachers the right to touch you all over your body.
I'd like to think that the move to give English teachers TSA-like powers would bother me less if -- here in the States -- we weren't in the middle of a disturbing sex abuse scandal involving adolescent boys at Penn State. But I'm betting that even if Jerry Sandusky weren't out on TV talking about the joys of showering with little boys, I'd be raising holy hellfire over the idea of a teacher putting his or her hands on my daughter.
The Education Act in England would make it legal for teachers to frisk students' bodies -- rather than a simple locker or bookbag search -- to search for electronic gadgets, weapons, drugs, etc. The latter two might make this move sound like it's for the greater good, so to speak, but it troubles me to think that kids' bodies are in essence being treated like public property.
It's called personal space. Teenagers deserve it too. Even if they bring iPods and cellphones into a classroom. Even if they crack their gum and uses their saliva to craft spitwads.
Being touched by someone else -- especially when you're in the hormonal teen years -- can be extremely uncomfortable. Now imagine that person is your teacher, who is already in a position of authority over you and as such can threaten you with some serious punishment if you complain about exactly where they put their hands: "Don't like that I touched your breast? I'll give you an F."
Having a position of authority over someone makes touching inappropriate. Period. Even the good stuff can be too easily misconstrued. There's a reason one friend, a high school teacher, says she will not let her students hug her. She doesn't want to be put in a position where anything can be questioned or misunderstood. She's protecting the kids as much as she's protecting her job.
How would you react if a teacher frisked your child?
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