Her name is Jennifer Fichter, and she is smoldering hot. At the age of thirty, she had a promising career as a teacher in Polk County, Florida. Just one little problem. According to a telephone call that was recorded by a concerned mother, Ms. Fichter turned into a melted puddle every time she looked into one of her student’s eyes.
I know what you’re thinking. Lucky kid, right?!
“Approximate number of how many times you all had possibly been together. If you had to give me a number, Jennifer, how many would it be?”
“About 30? 20?”
“So, you’re telling me that you all possibly had sex 20 or 30 times?”
“Yeah, I guess.”
That’s a bit problematic, and it can create a lot of other issues. Like pregnancy, which it did in this case, resulting in an abortion. According to that same phone call, “He knew, and he helped make the decision.”
Okay, so put yourself in that position for a second. You’re seventeen years old, you’ve been keeping a relationship with your super hot teacher a secret, and now you’re helping her decide what to do with this unwanted pregnancy.
But still, lucky kid, right?!?
“I love him,” she says later. “I want to be with him. . . Our relationship became stronger over time, in spite of everything that we went through.”
Yes. “RELATIONSHIP.” He’s not even out of high school yet, and he’s already landed himself this awesome chick with a great job. Can we say it again? Lucky kid, right?!?
“Honestly. I don’t regret anything with him.”
According to records, Jennifer had made it about a month into the school year before she hooked up with the seventeen year old student.
“What does a seventeen-year-old have for you?” the mother asks.
Evidently, Jennifer just likes taking care of her boyfriends. She’s just a nurturing person. This would extend, I suppose, to the two other boys she was convicted of engaging in unlawful sex with.
Oh, you didn’t think this was an isolated act, did you?
No, in most of these cases where a teacher has engaged sexually with a student, there is a pattern of habitual behavior, whether the teacher is a male (and thus labeled a predator) or a female (and thus labeled a “predator”). Indeed, if you found Jared Fogle to be a bit disturbed when he said, “Middle school girls are so hot,” then you should probably wonder about a teacher who tells her colleagues that she’s having “gooood” dreams about one of her students, regardless of whether or not the person in question has lost a lot of weight by eating Subway and still resembles a creepy Michelin Man or whether they look like a young Demi Moore.
The problem most people have with calling these female teachers a sexual predator is that we tend to think of these incidents as “victim-less crimes.” Men think of the prospect of sex in the same way they think of a lottery. They spend a lot of money buying tickets, they fantasize constantly about what they would do if they won, and then when they are presented a winning ticket, the idea of turning down a “once in a lifetime opportunity” is physically painful. And if those winning numbers are the measurements of their seemingly out-of-reach, smoking hot teacher, then wow, what a lucky kid!?!? But nothing is so cut and dry as that.
Again, put yourself into that student’s shoes. And we can even use the particular case of Jennifer Fichter for our imaginary scenario. I want to do that for a couple of reasons.
First, a lot of people rationalize that since the boy was seventeen that it was somehow not as big of an issue as it would have been if he was, say sixteen (Virginia Hinckley), fifteen (Rebecca Bogard), fourteen (Debra Lafave), thirteen (Pamela Rogers), or twelve (Mary Kay Letourneau). Although it should be noted that in all of these referenced cases, there were people willing to argue that the boys involved were “lucky.”
The second reason is because as a boy, if I had Ms. Fichter as my teacher, she would have fueled a lot of my own adolescent fantasies, so I can sympathize especially with the lottery winning analogy I made in this particular case on an id level.
Set aside the fantasy for a moment and put yourself into the student’s shoes. A teenager simply doesn’t have the emotional maturity to deal with either a casual fling or a sustained relationship with an adult that is in a totally different place in their life. Think of your own formative years, about your romantic notions of true love, about your first experiences with love and dating and kissing and sex. Now imagine that same naive, wide-eyed discovery of the adult world happening with someone who is an adult, who has responsibility for your welfare and authority over you, who is possibly married and has children closer to your age than they are. It’s hard enough to be a teenager and to be learning about heartbreak and disappointment without the prospect of drunk dialing your first love/eighth grade English teacher.
And what’s crazy is that it’s easy for us to see this when it comes to our daughters but difficult for us to do so when it is our sons (as a society, not in the literal sense of your actual son. Nope. Those mamas are NOT happy when this happens to Jr.). Male teachers in this country are guilty as soon as the accusation is raised, but there’s a sort of wink-wink-nudge-nudge glee when it’s a female teacher. The crimes could be identical, but the punishments are uneven. And in many cases, the argument is made that the female teacher is the victim of the male student.
Take the case of Sarah Jones, for example. The former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader turned teacher said she had been in love with her victim since he was fourteen. She claims he had never thought of her as a teacher, despite that she was in fact his teacher his freshman year of high school. Her case, however, revolved around her deteriorating marriage and the alleged abuse that took place there. Her student evidently “consoled” her and helped her get through her difficulties. He made her feel pretty. Despite the overwhelming evidence of the “affair” (because that’s what the media calls it when the teacher is a woman), she was sentenced to five years of diversion but no jail time. She isn’t even registered as a sex offender.
At least she won’t be teaching anymore. Otherwise, who knows how many more “lucky kids” there might be.
If you liked this post, you might be interested in this one about sexual abuse against women.