I’ve been meaning to make a post like this ever since I started working for College Insurrection. Often, as part of my research for this site gathering articles related to college, education, and young people, I go to news.google.com and search “teacher.”

Every time, I am astounded by the results. Google usually has anywhere from 10-15 headlines on its first page of results, and sometimes more than half are about teacher sexual misconduct with students (when you do the type of search I described above).

I did the search this morning and the first few headlines were Northwest teacher admits relationship with student, Maplewood Teacher Now Charged With Sexually Assaulting 5 Students, and Teacher who pleaded guilty to sex with student: ‘I made bad choices’.

What’s going on? Is there a real problem here, with seemingly scores of male and female teachers having sexual relations or sexually assaulting minor students?

Or is the number of offending teachers really actually such a small proportion of the total number of teachers, and that these incidents are merely over-reported anomalies?

This AP report from 2007 has some revealing statistics: Back then, there were 3 million public school teachers (now that figures is 3.7 million), and from 2001-2005 there were over 2500 teaching credentials were revoked, denied, or surrendered due to allegations of sexual misconduct. That means during that period 0.08% of public school teachers were proven to be involved in sexual misconduct cases; of course the real number could be much higher.

Yet, less than one percent does seem like a low figure. Acceptable? Certainly not, but we’re not at epidemic levels. However, I will always be disturbed when I do a Google News searcher for “teacher” and find that every week there are new cases of alleged teacher-student sexual misconduct.