Depending on who is asked, the case involving former Florida middle school teacher Debra Lafave is either a dream come true or a crime deserving jail time.
Tuesday, prosecutors in Marion County dropped the charges against Lafave for allegedly having sex with a 14-year-old male student.
The case provides a fascinating glimpse into our society and what the media deems newsworthy.
Had the situation involved a male teacher and female student and had Lafave not held such obviously attractive features, it is quite unlikely that the story would have attracted such attention. Instead, the nation became enraptured by the case and, as a result, the accuser became hesitant to go through with the court proceedings, thus resulting in the charges against Lafave being dropped.
It seems apparent that a double standard in these cases exists and remains unspoken. In truth, there is public fascination over cases such as this regarding the reversal of “traditional” sexual roles.
When a man is the alleged perpetrator, he is immediately vilified as a predator of the young and innocent. When a woman is accused of the same crime the question exists, though it is rarely voiced: Did the young man involved really suffer, or was he simply acting on a fantasy that many men wish they could find themselves in?
Whether or not we want to acknowledge it, society reflects and often supports this view. “Hot for Teacher,” Van Halen’s 1980’s hit, worked because it described this exact scenario. A song describing the unspoken sexual tensions between male teachers and their female students would not be met with the same enthusiasm.
There is no justification for the crime Lafave allegedly committed. The situation is only newsworthy because our society has focused so much on it.