Friday, September 24, 2010

Even When Licensed and Certified, a Cougar is Still a Cougar

The Drudge Report, The Spartanburg Herald-Times online edition, and are all reporting that two South Carolina teachers have been arrested on suspicion of hosting parties last summer where they provided sex, drugs, and alcohol to students aged 11 and up.   Forty-two year old Sarah Jane Lindsay was a 4K teacher at Boiling Springs Elementary School in Boiling Springs, South Carolina, while 44-year-old party co-host Audrey Beidleman Grabarkiewicz taught preschool at Lake Bowen Baptist Church in Inman, South Carolina.  Both women have been arrested after a lengthy investigation conducted by Spartanburg County Sherriff’s Deputies.   Neither woman is currently employed.  The Lake Bowen Baptist Church fired Audrey Grabarkiewicz and Sarah Jane resigned from Boiling Springs Elementary school.  The church’s website has no mention of their recently fired teacher.  Boiling Springs Elementary’s website has been scrubbed of any mention of their former teacher, but retains its banner proclaiming "Discover Your Treasure...Learning is an adventure at BSES.” I bet it’s an adventure.  I hear their summer school program is a hoot, too.  There is no mention of the allegations on either website, but why should there be?  
This is much ado about nothing.
I might understand the national coverage of this local community problem if these women provided sex, drugs, and alcohol to all of the children in their school, or in their respective classes, but the truth is they did not.  They provided sex, drugs, and alcohol to some students.  A select few.  And since none of the students were from either of these teacher's classrooms, what’s the big deal?  Audrey Beidleman Grabarkiewicz was only charged with 10 counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.  She had sex with teenagers who were over the age of 16.  In South Carolina, 16 is the age of consent.   What's wrong with a little cougar action?  No problems there.   Sarah Jane Lindsay has a slightly bigger legal problem, which explains why her $50,000 bond was twice the amount levied on Ms. Grabarkiewicz.  Sarah was charged with nine counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor as well as criminal sexual conduct with a minor between the ages of 11 and 14 years of age.  
Now, no one should overreact to the alleged activities.  We must remember some salient facts.  Neither woman engaged in these activities with their students.  The incidents did not take place on either school or church property.  Their own teenaged children were not involved.  They allegedly provided sex, drugs, and alcohol to some students aged 11 years old and older.  We cannot forget that both of these women are innocent of committing the charges brought against them until they are proven guilty by the state of South Carolina.  I’m not even certain why Ms. Lindsay resigned from her position.  Her 4k students were safe under her care.
Under no circumstances can we allow ourselves to believe that this incident reflects poorly on Boiling Springs public schools or the teachers and staff that work there.  This is an isolated incident that took place off of school grounds by a now former teacher in the privacy of her home.    This really should be a private matter between these women and their husbands.  If a house of worship can experience an incident such as the one that allegedly took place, it can happen anywhere.  In no way does this reflect poorly on public schooling.