Educators with identity issues should not be a burden for students. Students should not be expected to bear the emotional weight of someone else’s identity struggles. Educators need to take responsibility for their mental health and seek appropriate resources and assistance to address their identity issues in a way that does not negatively impact the students in their lives.
An educator telling a child who they are physically attracted to or emotionally attracted to is wrong, no matter what. The right of individuals to express their sexual identity does not supersede the right of a child to be safe in school.
Speaking to a student about sexual fetish, having then exposed to symbols representing sexual behaviors or sexual identity is not only highly inappropriate, but it can also be traumatizing for students. It is a way for adults to test the boundaries of students and see how receptive they are to sexual topics. This is a red flag for potential grooming behaviors and should be reported to the appropriate authorities immediately.
Predators who engage in grooming often work to break down the child’s boundaries and establish themselves as trusted authority figure in their lives. Maintaining appropriate boundaries between educators and children is an important part of preventing and identifying grooming behaviors. Laws, policies, and codes of conduct emphasize the importance of maintaining appropriate boundaries between educators for that reason. By establishing and enforcing rules around physical contact, communication, and appropriate behaviors, educators can help prevent predators from gaining access to children and building relationships with them.