Janelle Foley, 32, who works in the cafeteria of Chapman Middle School in Weymouth, Mass., was charged with four counts of statutory rape for having sexual relations with a 15 year old student at the school during the Thanksgiving and New Year holidays.
This is statutory rape, and wrong, but approximately half as wrong as when the sexual predator’s target is her (or his) student rather than someone she glops mashed potatoes for in the lunch line. True, every employee in a school has to be worthy of some level of trust, but a teacher is blatantly misusing her authority and blurring roles to the detriment of education as well as social development when she exploits the position of teacher/role model/ authority figure/mentor for the purposes of sexual gratification. A lunch lady is just picking up horny teens. One is a professional breach and a sleazy crime. The other is a sleazy crime, and nothing more.
On the other hand, the role betrayal involved when a friend’s mother seduces her son’s underage friend is every bit as reprehensible as the acts of a predator teacher. I tend to think the Sexual Predator Lunch Lady is not a serious threat in our schools.
And where does “The Summer of ’42” land along this spectrum?
I ‘m not certain, but closer to the lunch lady than to the teacher, I think.