Double standards for female teachers?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 28, 2006

Many people affect the molding and the shaping of young people, and that, of course, includes teachers.

In today's society, teachers, be it elementary or high school, have to play many roles other than just the one for which they have been hired. Many times, they find themselves as counselor, nurse, referee and mentor, just to name a few.

Now, let's be clear about something. Not all teachers put their hearts and souls into the &#8220calling” of teaching as others might do. That's what I call it - a calling. I am one among many who believe that the teaching profession is one you feel &#8220called” to do.

Which leads me to a teacher who has been made famous on the silver screen in the movie &#8220Take the Lead,” starring Antonio Banderas.

I highly recommend this movie, and that ‘s not just because I love to watch Antonio Banderas dance. Heck, he could teach me how to do &#8220The Watermelon Crawl,” and I'd be happy.

In &#8220Take the Lead,” Banderas portrays real-life ballroom dance teacher Pierre Dulaine, a man who volunteered to share something beautiful that he loved with inner-city students in New York.

Dulaine arrived in New York City in 1971 from England; he soon formed a ballroom dancing company that traveled and performed all over the world. He is co-artistic director and founder of the American Ballroom Theater Company and is the director of the company's Outreach Program known as &#8220Dancing Classrooms,” which is taught in the New York public schools. His ballroom and salsa dancing programs presently teach approximately 7,500 children each year.

Dulaine didn't have to begin this program for the kids. When asked why he did it, he said that he had been successful in his life with what he had always wanted to do, and that this was his way of &#8220giving something back.”

Talk about giving from the heart and soul.

Now, let's turn to the opposite end of the spectrum and take a look, albeit a disgusting one, at Debra Lafave, the Florida teacher who was accused of having sex with a middle school student.

A 14-year-old boy.

She's 25.

You do the math.

Last November, Lafave pleaded guilty in Hillsborough County, Fla., to two counts of lewd and lascivious behavior. She was sentenced to three years under house arrest and seven years of probation, and she was required to register as a sex offender.

A sex offender?


In spite of that fact, Lafave has done interviews with &#8220The Today Show” and &#8220Dateline” and has received all kinds of media attention. She has offered her &#8220deepest apologies” to the boy and to his family, and she claims to be bringing attention to bipolar disorder, which she is currently undergoing treatment for.

I have one question.

If Lafave were a man, would he have gotten off so easily?

I guarantee you that if this had been the case of a male teacher sexually molesting a female student, he would be under the jail.

&#8220I believe that God has a path for me, and this was just a bump in the road,” Lafave has been reported as saying.

May God help us if she had hit a huge pothole.

Regina Grayson is managing editor of The Luverne Journal. She can be reached at 335-3541 or by email: