One of those cases about human sexuality and employment where the initial reaction might well be, well, what have they done? Closer examination leading to the thought that they’ve done quite well even if for the wrong reasons. For they’ve decided this case on the basis of sexual orientation – fair enough in one manner as that was what was claimed – when it should perhaps have been decided upon gradations in chronophilia. Paedophiles are not ephebophiles and vice versa isn’t true either. Sure, one person can be both, just as the one person can be neither. But the presence or not of one tells us absolutely nothing about the presence or not of the other.
Thus this ends up in the right place:
A gay headteacher has won a sex discrimination case against the primary school which sacked him for having sex with two 17-year-olds he met on the dating app Grindr. Matthew Aplin, 42, who was principal at Tywyn Primary School in Sandfields, West Glamorgan, was openly gay according to a new court ruling. But while police and his local authority bosses decided no criminal offence had been committed the school governors decided to dismiss him. He challenged their decision but in the end resigned, then claimed he was a victim of constructive dismissal and mounted an employment tribunal claim on the basis he was a victim of “unfair dismissal and sexual orientation discrimination.”
The tribunal pondered whether a bloke having it off with two teenage – the age of consent in Britain is 16, so as long as it was consensual this is legal – girls would have been fired, a woman with two teenage boys. They decided no, the firing was because it was all gay and thus icky and all that. So, it’s about sexual orientation and thus discrimination on those grounds.
OK, maybe. I can imagine school governors being unhappy with the head teacher being promiscuous on a dating app whatever their orientation. That might be more than a little old fashioned but perhaps concerns about fit and proper do still exist.
I can also grasp that if he’d been teaching in a secondary school then matters would have been different. There is that duty of care thing meaning that teachers shouldn’t be shagging pupils. So, a taste for ephebes – teenagers in the 15 to 19 sorta range, usually legal, past puberty but still, umm, soft and young – might well disqualify from teaching secondary school. On the basis of not quite laying out whole generations of sweeties for those with a taste for sugar.
But he’s in a primary school. Meaning that any chronophilia that put them at any risk would have to be paedophilia. And there simply is no connection at all to being sexually attracted to the pre-pubescent and the post-pubescent. Some might be attracted to both, many are to neither. But they are very different forms of sexual taste.
Thus, even if we dismiss – or prefer to ignore, whatever – the sexuality discrimination part here the basic finding that the activity shouldn’t have led to a firing seems reasonable. A primary school teacher with a taste in legal adolescents isn’t a sexual danger to his pupils of whatever sex or gender those pupils might be.
Of course, the danger with this line of reasoning is that we don’t employ it elsewhere when considering the same subject. At least one footballer has served time for rather more than just cuddling up to a 15 year old, that being ephebophilia rather than what everyone’s been calling him, a paedophile.