In retrospect, Miss Pitts wasn’t exactly a bubbling cauldron of constrained and suppressed sexual tension; she wasn’t even – with respect – someone I’d look at twice today. But to a school containing many a sweaty, spotty boy in the throes of nascent pubescent lust, she was an object of desire, a real woman amongst girls. This was a desire that culminated in an ad-hoc end-of-term play in which a scene she participated in saw her exploit her object status by wrapping the flesh of her nether regions in a deliberately teasing slit-skirt that conformed to the laws of gravity when it fell to the ground as she fought off a pretend attacker, gifting the male members of the audience a glimpse of fully-developed female thigh. The response was a resounding cheer and, I suspect, a wave of amateur erections.
At that age, any female teacher – however retrospectively unattractive – will suffice in the absence of anything else. And I would imagine the same applies for the girls re the male employees of such an establishment; at that age, your imaginative libido will take anything it can get.
Miss Pitts had been the girls’ games teacher at my middle-school, which was mixed. At my all-boys high-school, there were two female teachers I remember. Both became the focus of fantasies that never crossed the line into reality; graffiti on toilet walls and in exercise books were as far as these primitive fantasies went, sketched by boys with no real idea as to what a physical encounter genuinely entailed. There was no hardcore internet porn to provide pointers; big brother’s hidden stash of ‘lorry drivers’ magazines’ was the sole source material. Not that this prevented the tall tales of elder boys as to what had happened one quiet evening during detention, of course. Embellished bullshit abounded where the female teachers were concerned, though pop culture had already capitalised on this. One thinks of the line from ‘Maggie May’ by Rod Stewart, which hints at the seduction of a youngster by an older woman – ‘It’s late September/and I really should be back at school’.
Somebody who did cross the line that nobody I was at school with crossed has this week been rewarded a record £4 million (or whatever the US equivalent currently stands at) and is, by his own dubious admission, ‘scarred for life’ by the experience. The fact that the teacher in question became pregnant by her pupil helped complicate matters. One could instinctively blame him for not wearing a condom, but – as the senior party – one should really blame her for not being on the pill. Whoever is ultimately responsible, the outcome of one pupil who genuinely got what every schoolboy yearns for was an unexpected baby, and that takes the affair onto another level altogether.
This case climaxed in a Californian courtroom and resulted in the record-breaking payout for the ‘traumatised’ boy while his seducer can look forward to twelve months behind bars and a lifetime on the American sex offenders’ register. Both parties were culpable, but a law that fails to take into account that some are older than others when a particular legal age is within a whisker heaps the majority of the responsibility on the shoulders of the elder participant. The pernicious US virus of serial litigation has already crossed the Atlantic, so there’s no point in adopting a superior attitude where our American cousins are concerned. The same outcome would probably happen here now; and that’s nothing to celebrate.
31-year-old Laura Whitehurst, who was described in characteristically subtle fashion by the Daily Mirror as ‘sex-crazed’, faced a potential sentence of 29 years, which was reduced by 28 after she did a deal by admitting six counts. Her momentary ‘other half’ (the scarred-for-life party) will receive his payout from his local education authority, who he sued for being negligent and complicit in his affair with Ms Whitehurst. He had claimed other teachers at the school knew about his ‘abuse’, but turned a blind eye. It’s hard not to envisage the vested interests of other parties after the event – specifically parents and law firms – and come to the conclusion that a boy who was 16 at the beginning of his romance with his teacher has repaid the woman who provided him with the desired extracurricular education in a pretty shitty fashion.
As soon as the case went to trial, the oh-so familiar factor of ‘other victims coming forward’ reared its ugly head, especially when the whiff of filthy lucre was in the air. Two former pupils hedged their bets by claiming similar ABUSE on the part of Ms Whitehurst, one of whom alleged he’d received a blowjob from her in the classroom whilst he was at the tender age of 14. By contrast, the boy who took the case to court was a couple of years older at the time his after-school lessons with Ms Whitehurst began – old enough to be recruited by the Armed Forces and old enough to earn his living.
We’ve had similar cases here over the past couple of years, and it’s time a line was drawn between the playground patroller who lives by the maxim that a finger of fudge is just enough to give the kids a treat and the older woman (or man) who responds to the hormonal approaches of a teenager by giving them what they want. Neither is morally ‘right’, but there are distinct differences between the two that the law needs to recognise, and fast. Otherwise, this farcical state of affairs can only get worse – or better, if you’re working for a law firm that stands to benefit. But I’m guessing most people reading this don’t.
© The Editor