Why do teachers and students fall for each other? - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Why do teachers and students fall for each other?

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Therapist Steve Moore discusses teacher-student relationships following the recent arrest of Catherine Bell, a former assistant principal at Pelham High School. Therapist Steve Moore discusses teacher-student relationships following the recent arrest of Catherine Bell, a former assistant principal at Pelham High School.
BIRMINGHAM - AL -

With the recent arrest of Catherine Bell and allegations of inappropriate, sexual relationships between teachers and students, many people are now asking "Why does this happen?"

"Like everybody else, we wonder 'What's wrong with that person'," Therapist Steve Moore said.

Moore is with The Moore Institute.

He says, over time, we hear about more and more teachers being charged with having sex with students. Why? He argues the more we hear it, the more some people view it as normal.

"Maybe it's sort of a subtle, subconscious permissiveness," he said. "With the idea being that once you're exposed to it, instead of it being in the back of your mind as a remote thing that's never really possible...now that you've seen it out in the open, it makes it more possible."

In the past year a handful of these stories have been out in the open:

Former Spain Park High School teacher Stephanie Millard.

Ashville High School volunteer and Assistant Coach, Raymond Mitchell.

Chelsea High School teacher John Noles.

Thorsby High School teacher Jennifer McNeill.

Alabaster teacher Daniel Acker.

Cleburne County High School teacher and basketball coach, Bronson Ward.

And, just this week, former Assistant Principal at Pelham High School, Catherine Bell.

"It's the fantasy of equality," Moore said.

Moore says today's teachers tend to be more friendly with students. For some that causes a misconception of equality.

"People begin to see, a teenager for instance, as their equal," he said. "And they begin to see that person as an actual, possible partner."

Moore believes another factor might be social media.

"Social media, certainly, created both a connection and the illusion of connection among people," he said. "Who, otherwise would not be connected."

Add that to the easy access of pornography, Moore says it increases the level of fantasy.

A fantasy that some people...turn into reality.

Alabama State Board of Education CFO, Ed Richardson, says he is not aware of any official policy banning students and teachers from interacting on social media, but he says it is "discouraged," depending on the topic.

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