Teachers, Clergy, Schools and Paedophilia: Making a Mockery of the Duty of Care
This chapter moves between recent historical attempts to characterise teachers’ work in terms of codes of conduct and ethics and the litany of the sexual abuse of children by teachers, principals, counsellors and others in schools revealed in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse over the past sixty years or so in Australia. The question of how any of the abuse revealed was possible is raised and several causes are discussed. The emphasis of the chapter, however, is on the ethical expectations that come with being a teacher as seen in the aspirational nature of the codes of conduct and ethics and the teacher’s duty of care, among other forms of care. Given some of the Royal Commission’s recommendations, in particular regarding initial teacher education, it is argued that teachers and students of education should be required to take a semester-long course on ethical conduct with particular focus on what is implied in the teacher’s duty of care.
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