Teachers occupy an interesting gender space in the mainstream media. As institutional caretakers of the young, teachers—-male and female—-are often cast into a mothering role. And like mothers’, the sexuality of teachers is thoroughly socially policed.

Media gawkers are both fascinated and horrified by the sexuality of teachers. Like mothers, teachers are expected to remain publicly nonsexual—-and when they’re not, their sexuality is fetishized. (See: pornography’s teacher-student fantasy; MILFs).

Often, the horror part is for good reason—-in the case of student sex abuse allegations, for example. However, the the fascination part often extends far beyond sex crimes. A current search for “teacher” in Google News turns up as many sex-related teacher pieces as it does educational inquiries (also popular: dead or dying teachers). Are all of these cases really that bad? Or does the occupation of “teacher” guarantee another level of juiciness in the story?

REALLY BAD: The Hutchington, Kansas High School basketball coach sentenced to one year of “community corrections” for having sex with a 16-year-old female student.

PRETTY BAD, BUT ACCIDENTAL: The teacher who unintentionally spliced six seconds of the teacher performing a sex act into her elementary-age students’ homework DVD, then called each household asking that the evidence be returned or destroyed.

NOT THAT BAD—-HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK THOUGH—-AND ACTUALLY WORKED!: The West Yorkshire High School teacher suspended for using a self-penned “racy” novel—-including “underage drinking, hints of drug use and ‘pupil fantasies'”—-to entice her male 15 and 16-year-old students to read. The novel was later discovered on the Internet.

TERRIBLE, BUT NOT EVEN A TEACHER ANYMORE: The former Physical Education teacher in Birchington, Kent found guilty of running a brothel.

MEH: The teachers who “friend” their students on Facebook.

FEELING REALLY BAD FOR THIS GUY RIGHT NOW: The teacher who intentionally mock-married a fourth-grade student in a “brief playground ceremony” complete with “graduation gown and a clown tie” for the adult groom and a “sheet” gown for the prepubescent bride. The educator has since fallen “sick with regret” over the incident.

Photo by ne*