Earlier this week, the tabloid New York Post put out the headline every paper dreams of:
PHOTO EXCLUSIVE! TEACHER’S PET! Caught in action with student
The photo exclusive showed a 26-year-old teacher named Julie Warning amorously smooching her 18-year-old student, Eric Arty.
Of course, the Manhattan Theater Lab High School teacher was in the wrong here. Arty is over the age of consent, but Warning is still his teacher at his school. She deserves to be fired. But what isn’t getting enough attention is the fact that Eric Arty and four of his classmates each put in $100 on a bet to see who could hook up with “Miss Warning” first.
Eric, the winner, walked away with a $500 prize — as well as a gold seal of douchebaggery from moi.
“He [Arty] would flirt with her,” a fellow student told the Post. “She would try to avoid it because she was his teacher. She was a nice teacher and didn’t want to report him, and she would throw him and his friends out of class for trying to flirt with her.” Another student explained, “[Arty] would go after class and basically try to seduce her. Don’t know if she knew [about the bet]. They were all trying to get with her. One of his [Arty's] friends flirted with her more than anyone — I thought he would be the one, but Eric came out of nowhere and got her.” All of this was going on for three months.
According to the Post, Warning never reported any students for flirting. But she had reported a 10th-grader in March 2011 for making lewd comments and inappropriately touching her. That kid got suspended. Yet it sounds like the young men at this school still saw her as fair game. What a crappy work environment for someone trying to be taken seriously in her career. I’ve worked with teens and tweens as well — two years as an America Reads tutor at a NYC public school in college, a summer gig teaching writing classes to teens at boarding school — and I can’t imagine working in conditions like that. There were definitely kids who flirted with me and you can bet I shut that down immediately. She didn’t. But it doesn’t mean it was her fault that they all conspired to do this together in the first place. They need to take some responsibility here, too. It takes two to tango. Or, in this case, six.
We’ll probably never know if/how Julie Warning tried to nip their behavior in the bud, or if she had the support system to do so. (I find it hard to believe if the students knew the guys were flirting with this teacher in class, other teachers and possibly the school administration didn’t have an inkling of it as well.) Unfortunately, this will probably stay a sensationalistic “hot for teacher” headline without provoking any real discussion about the guys and their bet.
Perhaps if Eric Arty is truly a gentleman, he’ll send over that $500 to “Miss Warning” to help out with rent. Thanks to him and his friends and her own bad judgment, she is about to lose her job.
Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter at @JessicaWakeman.
Image via CBS Local