Screenshot YouTube : KLKNTV – Lincoln

This weekend, a Nebraska teacher was caught in the nude with a high school student by local police. The chase that ensued before their actual capture would be embarrassing enough for both parties.

However, the investigation has disclosed that the teacher in question is also the wife of a Department of Defense employee. The events surrounding this story range from both ridiculous to concerning.

Unfortunately, sexual misconduct at public schools keeps popping up. Let’s take a look at this latest scandal and how other public school sex scandals are occurring across the country.

An embarrassment

Substitute teacher Erin Ward was caught naked with a 17-year-old student in her car Saturday night. The teacher was caught after having her car reported for suspicious activity at around three in the morning.

Upon police arrival, the young man got out of the back of the car in the buff and proceeded to get in the driver’s seat in an attempt to get away. The troubled teen ended up wrecking the vehicle after just two blocks, after which he took off running.

Mrs. Ward was apprehended at that time. After getting dressed and discovering her teacher ID, she admitted to having sexual intercourse with the teenager.

The boy was eventually found wearing just his underwear and a t-shirt. In addition to being a very naughty substitute teacher, Mrs. Ward is also the spouse of a DOD employee.

William Douglas Ward is the Deputy Director of the Commander’s Action Group and the Senior Nuclear Deterrence Advisor at the United States Strategic Command, commonly referred to as STRATCOM. STRATCOM’s primary mission is to detect and deter attacks.

Unfortunately, Mr. Ward could not detect and deter his wife’s extramarital activities.

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Disturbing trend

While Mrs. Ward is dodging a statutory rape charge thanks to Nebraska’s age of consent being 16, she is being charged with sexual abuse by a school employee. The Douglas County Deputy District Attorney Brenda Beadle said of the incident:

“If it’s an ongoing relationship, which is what we see here, then I consider that grooming.”

Grooming, in this case, is the act of a school employee actively engaging in and encouraging inappropriate relations with students and children. Unfortunately, this latest event in Omaha isn’t a one-off instance.

This week, a former Chicago Public School student filed a lawsuit against the district related to sexual abuse she’d experienced. While attending the Greater Lawndale High School for Social Justice, the student referred to as Jane Doe was sexually abused over multiple years by the dean of students, Brian Crowder.

The attorneys for the case wrote:

“The silence and inaction of CPS, by and through its administration, faculty, staff, and other agents, facilitated Brian Crowder’s grooming and exploitation of Jane Doe, a student in their care, for the duration of her time as a student at LVLHS from 2012 – 2016.”

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Meanwhile, out in northern Virginia, there have been three current or former Loudoun County Public School employees charged with crimes over the course of a year:

  • a former cafeteria employee allegedly assaulted a student
  • a substitute teacher was charged with possession and production of child sexual abuse material
  • a high school teacher has been suspended for soliciting a child under the age of 15 online

Local reporters are still trying to discern precisely when parents in LCPS were notified of all three of the above situations.

How and why?

Americans often wonder how teachers and others in positions of power can get away with deviancy and abuse of this magnitude. Why someone would opt to take advantage of those in their charge can seem like an impossible question to answer.

But the truth is just as absolute power corrupts absolutely so does perceived authority, whether positional or by proximity to authority. Did Mrs. Ward believe she’d get away with her abuse?

Probably. Why did she believe it?

More than likely, it’s a culmination of a few factors. Most abusers aren’t first-time offenders, so there’s a fair chance this boy wasn’t her first victim.

That means she may have gotten away with this before. She also might’ve believed she was untouchable due to her husband’s position.

After all, DOD personnel and their spouses are trustworthy and upstanding citizens, right? Finally, her position as an educator also makes her a “trusted” person.

However, just as with any institution built on power, the public school system in this nation is unfortunately just as vulnerable to corruption as the next. The victims of this institutional rot are our nation’s most vulnerable, and it threatens to perpetuate into perpetuity unless parents and citizens take back their power and shut the system down.

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