Arkansas Supreme Court OKs student-teacher sex

By a 4-3 vote, the Arkansas Supreme Court Thursday ruled that high school teachers have a constitutional right to have sex with their students as long as the students are 18 and give their consent.

“The fundamental right to privacy implicit in our law protects all private, consensual, noncommercial acts of sexual intimacy between adults,” the court said, quoting from an earlier Arkansas case.

Preventing a teacher from having sex with a willing 18 year old student “infringes on [the teacher's] fundamental right to privacy,” the court ruled.

The opinion is posted on the Supreme Court’s website.

(Once you’re there, click on Paschal v. State).

This decision was written by Chief Justice Jim Hannah. Justices Paul E. Danielson, Donald L. Corbin and Courtney Hudson Goodson also voted to throw out Arkansas’ ban on high school teacher-student sex.

Upholding the statute were Justices Robert L. Brown, Jim Gunter and Karen Baker.

In his dissent, Brown described the majority’s analysis as “wrong…preposterous…”

The idea that high school teachers have a “constitutionally protected fundamental privacy right to have sexual contact with an 18-year-old student at the school where he teaches is absurd,” Justice Baker wrote.

Updated: March 29, 2012 — 3:32 pm


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  1. There are some relationships where consent is inherently questionable, and this is one. Other situations carry the same risk of manipulation or coercion– manager and employee, doctor or therapist and patient, adult and child, two close relatives, human and animal. There’s a word for sexual relations without consent.

  2. Sex with students falls into line with previous statute allowing children under 18 to marry without parental consent. Either it’s a literacy issue, or a question of capacity for logic?

  3. I know of an incident or two of people being fired for having sex with a co-worker. Maybe now they can sue to get their jobs back? If it has a negative influence on the workplace environment, employers or school districts have a say in it, even if it is technically private. Sort of like showing up to work drunk. Drinking off the job is your business, but…

    Also, isn’t the teacher in a position of authority over the student? Like a boss and subordinate. Wonder how many of these justices are having sex with the court interns? Just wondering.

  4. What concerns me is how this relationship began. It would have been unethical for a teacher to show favoritism in the classroom in the first place. Then to cross the line and cultivate an unhealthly position as a role model for other students and faculty.

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