Mary Grabar

Maybe the death of an 18-year-old at the hand of a jealous husband will put an end to the rib-poking and television footage of bikini-clad teachers straddling motorcycles or gyrating in garter belts.

Maybe now that 18-year-old Sean Powell is dead, it won’t seem so cool to have had an affair with the hotty high school teacher.

Maybe now that we see the consequences of having the teacher transformed from an authority figure to a cool friend we may question current pedagogical methods.

But probably not, considering who runs our schools. As study after study has indicated, most educators do not emerge from the top tier of college graduates.

These administrators, curriculum devisers, and teacher trainers will continue in their schizophrenic way: by divesting teachers of the authority traditionally endowed to adults—especially those in the classroom—and at the same time being puzzled by student-teacher affairs.

Time was when the teacher was an authority figure, someone to be feared, not a pal, not anyone a teenager would choose to spend time with.

That was a time when parents were held in the same regard.

But today the child rules. Sometimes the child is a six-foot male with raging hormones in a classroom with females in various modes of provocative dress, including the teacher, who does not lecture but holds rap sessions, where each and every opinion from students is given the consideration of that of a panelist at a scholarly conference.

The ethos of relativism dominates the conversation as well. The big sin is to declare a right or wrong. "What's right for you may not be right for me."

Most college students utter this inanity as if a wizard were inside them pulling their vocal chords. This ethic of relativism is so predictable as to be boring and it quashes any meaningful discussion. I hear it over and over from college students: Who are we to judge? Who are we to judge a culture that places its women in seclusion and hides and immobilizes them behind yards and yards of black cloth? Who are we to question ritual suicide? Who are we to question sexual relations between any two (or more) human beings? This is what the college professor is faced with.

It begins early in education and by high school it is the rare student who can defend notions of right and wrong.

Mary Grabar

Mary Grabar earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Georgia and teaches in Atlanta. She is organizing the Resistance to the Re-Education of America at Her writing can be found at