Teachers, sex and high-poverty schools
Today's St. Petersburg Times story raises the question of whether high-poverty schools see more cases of teacher misconduct than more affluent schools. But if readers are wondering whether kids are more likely to encounter sexual predators in such schools, the answer is: We don't know.
At least not from reviewing the limited data the Times was able to use. Putting the Pinellas and Hillsborough cases since 2000 together (all of it from the myfloridateacher.com Web site), and breaking them down into categories of misconduct, here's what we found:
Inappropriate relationships -- This is the category that includes Debra Lafave. The tally: 10 cases. Four in high-poverty schools.
Inappropriate behavior and/or language -- By that we mean, behavior or language that is sexually charged, like the Riviera Middle School teacher who referred to girls' breasts with names like "righty" and "lefty." The tally: 11 cases. Seven in high-poverty schools.
Sex crimes off campus -- This would be things like voyeurism. The tally: 10 cases. Eight in high-poverty schools.
- Ron Matus, state education reporter