A Welsh teacher is accused of an inappropriate relationship with her female students, after she gave them presents, texted them, and took a shower with them.
According to the Daily Mail, Debbie Lloyd-Jones has left her job as head of music at Oakdale Comprehensive School, but she still faces a disciplinary hearing for her behavior with the girls, ages 13 to 16. Among her infractions:
— giving the girls gifts such as teddy bears, key rings, and money, which she asked them to hide from their parents
— sending one girl over 1,000 texts
— telling two girls, "I love you" via text
— showering with female students after a school musical
In the last incident, prosecutor Huw Roberts notes that "there may have been some horseplay and they splashed each other with cold water," but "there is no suggestion of sexual connotations." Lloyd-Jones seems to be accused more of playing favorites than of harassment, though her story has elements of both. Her excessive overtures to a few students must have put the others at a disadvantage, but it also may well have made the girls she "loved" uncomfortable — they may have wondered if their grades would suffer if they didn't respond to her texts and gifts with devotion of their own, sexual or no.
Lloyd-Jones isn't charged with a crime (her ongoing hearing is apparently non-criminal in nature), and it's possible that she'd be punished more harshly if she were male. Probably the same behavior in a male teacher — especially the showering — would be more likely to be seen as sexually threatening. But maybe the lesson of her case is that "being over-friendly to a small group of girls" is damaging whether or not sex enters into it. It can be fun to be a teacher's pet, but it can also rapidly earn you the resentment of the rest of the class, not to mention screwing up the classroom environment for everyone else. Lloyd-Jones definitely needs to learn that trying to make your students into your besties will not end well for anyone concerned.
Image via Daily Mail