Predatory Teaching Pt. II

Remember my post about Kelsey Peterson, the predatory teacher who after sexual assaulting her 13 year old student for a period of at least a term crossed not only state but national borders in a desperate attempt to avoid prosecution and continue her access to a child? Remember how authorities refused to return young Fernando to his parents in the U.S. or even inform them he had been found because he had no documentation? If not, read here.

. . . it gets worse . . .

Kelsey Peterson is now claiming that she was battered by Fernando and he demanded that she take him on the multi-state, multi-nation escapade in order to return to Mexico. We are to believe that a 13 year old math student physically threatened and abused 25 year old teacher into sexually violating him and then kidnapping him. We are supposed to believe that it was not her suspension by the school administrators and the sudden warning that her activities were under investigation that made her kidnap the only witness to her sexual predatory behavior and flee the country the very next day but her fear of further physical threats and potentially beating at the hand of a 13 year old kid.

Why should we believe this? White innocence. Brown guilt.

Can teenagers batter? of course they can and sadly, do. However, the definition of a batterer is someone with power and control. How could newly 13 year old Fernando have had the power or the control over his 25 year old teacher? How exactly did he force her into purchasing a phone for him and then force her into calling him for sex regularly against his parent’s will, his friends and colleagues concern, and school board policy? And what kind of logic prompted 13 year old Fernando to give up his home, nation, and possibly get other members of his family deported just so he could menace a teacher he had daily access to in his math class?

The sickest part of this story is not that it relies on the myth of the black rapist to deflect the very real presence of a white one. Nor even the fact that Peterson is using feminist theory of domestic violence in order to deflect her own sexual violence against another. The sickest part is that some media pundits have already weighed in on the side of the teacher, citing criminal activity of illegal immigrants to back their decision.

I find myself once again turning to James Baldwin, this time in his work “Down at the Cross” in The Fire Next Time, where Baldwin introduces and expands on both the idea of white innocence and the sexual predatory nature of racism aimed at young men of color. In these troubled times it is worth a new read. It is also worth all of us crying out for Fernando who has lost so much already while his teacher still retains her innocence.

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