Life Advice



Ask Amy: Rumor about teacher compels reporting

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

– Guilty Bystander

Dear Guilty: You have heard about this third-hand. You should strongly urge the person who repeated this to you (and is closer to the source of the information) to report it to the school. If she won’t, then you should. Simply tell them that this is what you heard and that you cannot verify it. They are morally and legally compelled to investigate.

Even if you assume that the student involved believed that she “consented” to this at the time, the reason this sort of relationship is a crime is because underage people cannot legally give their consent. And the reason underage people can’t give their consent is also why they can’t legally drive without a license or drink alcohol – an adolescent’s brain and emotions aren’t developed enough to make this sort of potentially life-altering choice.

Children and teens are vulnerable, and that’s why there are laws to protect them. Students are vulnerable to the power dynamic regarding the adults who are supposed to respect and protect them, and that’s why it is against the law (and school policy) for teachers and school staff to have sex with them.

And even if this former student believes that she graduated from this experience unscathed, there might be other students who were victims of this teacher who are traumatized.

So yes, people who have heard about this have a moral obligation to report it.


Dear Amy: My partner of three years has a bad habit of staying out all night without communicating, and then ignoring my texts and calls.

For example, he will come home at 1 a.m. on a workday, or at 4 a.m. after a night out with friends.

This is really distressing behavior to me and I’ve expressed that to him.

He promises he’s not cheating and says I’m trying to control him.


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