Teacher sex cases open wounds of racial tension

  • Follow Metro

CLINTON, S.C. - The arrest of two women teachers on charges of having sex with their male students has brought cries of lingering racism in one of South Carolina's most conservative counties and evoked some of the South's oldest and deepest-seated racial taboos.

  Associated Press
Associated Press

Both women are white. The boys - six in all - are black.

Some of the blacks who make up more than a quarter of Laurens County's 70,000 residents are upset over the handling of the two cases, particularly the release of the teachers on bail.

They say the cases reflect the way crimes by whites against blacks in the segregated South were treated less seriously than other offenses, and blacks who leveled accusations against whites were less likely to be believed.

"If this had been black teachers, they would not be out of jail right now," said Corinnie Young, a 49-year-old bookstore employee who is black.

Some blacks shudder to think what would have happened if the teachers were black men and the students were white girls.

"I can assure you if it were an African-American male who committed such an offense against a white female, history shows us that the charges, the punishment and the sentencing would be totally different," said state NAACP President Lonnie Randolph. "The system ain't blind when the perpetrator is an African-American male or female or when the victim is a white female."

Jerry Peace, the county prosecutor and a white man, said the teachers are wearing electronic tracking devices, and their release on bail - $125,000 for one, $110,000 for the other - was based not on race, but on the danger to the community and the likelihood that the defendants might flee.

In any case, it would be unusual for someone accused of such a crime to be held without bail. Deborah Ahrens, a visiting professor of criminal law at the University of South Carolina, said of the bail amounts for the two teachers: "For the clients that I've represented in the past that were up for similar offenses, that sounds about right."

Wendie Schweikert, a 37-year-old married woman who had been teaching elementary school in Laurens for more than a decade, was arrested last year after the mother of an 11-year-old boy accused her of having sex with the boy at school at least twice. Authorities said they found evidence bearing his DNA in her classroom. She is also accused of having sex with him in her car near a miniature golf course and arcade in Greenville, about 40 miles away.

Allenna Ward, a 24-year-old minister's daughter in her second year of teaching, was fired Feb. 28 after she was charged with having sex with at least five boys. Some of the alleged victims, 14 and 15 years old, were students at the middle school in Clinton where Ms. Ward taught.

Comments (79) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
kudzo-n-roses
2
Points
kudzo-n-roses 03/29/07 - 05:01 am
0
0
These women should be put

These women should be put under the jail and never see the light of day !!

pantherluvcik
628
Points
pantherluvcik 03/29/07 - 05:35 am
0
0
I'm 33 and I couldn't imagine

I'm 33 and I couldn't imagine what a 11 or 14 year old could do for me. I actually wouldn't want to imagine what they could do for me. These women are sick they need more than jail to help them.

patriciathomas
43
Points
patriciathomas 03/29/07 - 05:43 am
0
0
When the teacher is male and

When the teacher is male and the student is female the law and society both have a different point of view then when the teacher is female and the sudent is male. The black white issue addressed in this article doesn't wash. These adult women having sex with children is abuse by anyones defination and they both should be prosecuted. Then they need to receive psychiatric help. This could be another fine novel or made for t v movie about life in the south. Ain't civilization great.

betterme706
0
Points
betterme706 03/29/07 - 06:59 am
0
0
IT Has nothing to do w/race

IT Has nothing to do w/race the system in ga & sc are here for the sexual offenders NOT OUR KIDS this has been proven so plenty of times in the last few weeks thats why we have them all comming here espically to augusta GET these judges out of office or u sexual predators go prey on the judges family so we can see what the sentence will be then

LynxRHot
0
Points
LynxRHot 03/29/07 - 09:06 am
0
0
Why does race always have to

Why does race always have to be blamed as the cause of everything that goes wrong in society??? I am so sick of hearing the same excuse. These women are sick...regardless of their color. Any grown woman who would find sexual gratification from an 11-year old, or even from a teenager, is a nut. But I'm sure the boy's friends were giving him a high-five for hooking up with the teacher.

CINDYLOUWHO
0
Points
CINDYLOUWHO 03/29/07 - 09:34 am
0
0
unless u know the whole

unless u know the whole situation shut and go back to africa if u think it is so bad here! race race race is all u can think about when these boys have been hurt? that is a shame

KingJames
11
Points
KingJames 03/29/07 - 09:56 am
0
0
Please keep your back to

Please keep your back to Africa comments to yourself. I don't think this was a race issue with the kids and the teachers. I think it is a gender issue. Had the teachers been male they would have had a much higher bail to pay.

intheknow
16
Points
intheknow 03/29/07 - 10:27 am
0
0
cindylouwho, who sounds

cindylouwho, who sounds retarded. where are you from? the swamps? some trailer park?

Rose
17
Points
Rose 03/29/07 - 11:11 am
0
0
The boys have been hurt. They

The boys have been hurt. They are children.Forget about race. I will say this. It happened in a small town, and they are way back in time. It is not like Augusta or Atlanta.

CINDYLOUWHO
0
Points
CINDYLOUWHO 03/29/07 - 11:22 am
0
0
i'm just tired of black

i'm just tired of black people playing the race card. and no i'm not fromt eh swamps or some trailer park thank you very much

intheknow
16
Points
intheknow 03/29/07 - 11:37 am
0
0
And I doubt that anyone on

And I doubt that anyone on here is from Africa. So in your world only blacks use the race card?

peppernik
0
Points
peppernik 03/29/07 - 11:40 am
0
0
Does the "state NAACP

Does the "state NAACP President Lonnie Randolph" Have documented cases in reference to his race based statements. I think he owes the public an appology!

zambu_glenlivet
0
Points
zambu_glenlivet 03/29/07 - 12:04 pm
0
0
HEy Cindy, I'd love to visit

HEy Cindy, I'd love to visit Africa, Would you like to foot the bill? Can promise I'll stay though....I'm American!!
Anyway, I don't think this is a race issue. It's simply another situation that bears proof to just how sick and perverted society has become. Our children arenot safe anywhere. Hell, if it ain't the blacks playing the race card and complaining, its the white molesting the kids (LOL, J/K ..had to get back at CindyLOUWHO). What are we going to do about the judges who use poor judgement and sentence these monsters to house arrest....for example the MASON case in Aiken County and the case of the kid down in Brunswick?

freedom
0
Points
freedom 03/29/07 - 12:42 pm
0
0
All the comments about Black

All the comments about Black people playing the "race card" should be squashed. We have come a long way as a race; economically, socially, educationally....however, race does matter.....and we have been affected by ours for so many years. The NAACP president is correct........not being a hypocrite, like some of the comments I have read here...had those teachers been Black men and the students White girls....the words "having sex with" would have been substituted with "molested and raped". Even if the encounters had been consensual. Bail would not have been an option at all. And cindylou whoever you are .....you need to read and watch the myriad of newscasts, informative talk shows, documentaries on cable. there is so much to learn...about the world you live in....please stop letting "Jerry Springer" be your only source of current events.

CINDYLOUWHO
0
Points
CINDYLOUWHO 03/29/07 - 12:43 pm
0
0
i don't think it's fair for

i don't think it's fair for balcks or whites to play the race card. it just seems that lately blacks are playing it alot.

KingJames
11
Points
KingJames 03/29/07 - 01:21 pm
0
0
Has anyone else stopped to

Has anyone else stopped to think that the gender of the teachers played a part in how bail was set? Had the teachers been males (doesn't matter if they were black or white), then they would have been labeled as pedophiles, molesters, and rapists. Just look at the headline and you will see what I'm talking about. It's described as 'Teacher Sex Cases' but not as molestation. Everytime a woman is charged with this they usually get off easy. When a man is charged with this, it's usually much worse. There should be equal punishment under the law. This is a crime against children and should not be lessened by the gender of the perverted perpetrator. Race isn't the issue, but gender is. They should not have been allowed out on bail. The people of Clinton are behind the times in thinking that everything is a race issue, but I don't think most Augustans are that much more advanced in their thinking either.

3572
0
Points
3572 03/29/07 - 01:27 pm
0
0
I dont care what no one say

I dont care what no one say it is a color issue and if it had been 2 black men and 6 white girls they would have had to call in the national guard

3572
0
Points
3572 03/29/07 - 01:30 pm
0
0
Cindy i am black why would i

Cindy i am black why would i go back to africa and thats not where i am from are you one of those teachers that mess with the little kids

LynxRHot
0
Points
LynxRHot 03/29/07 - 01:58 pm
0
0
Many of you show your

Many of you show your ignorance and lack of education by the messages you type on this board. If you can't use proper grammar, please save the space for those of us who know how to communicate.

LynxRHot
0
Points
LynxRHot 03/29/07 - 02:02 pm
0
0
There will always be a double

There will always be a double standard when it comes to the equal treatment of men and women. As teenagers, girls are labeled as "easy" if they are sexually active. Yet teenage boys are expected to "be a man" and conquer as many sexual escapades as possible. I don't hear anyone complaining about the unfairness of that.

RETTA01
0
Points
RETTA01 03/29/07 - 02:10 pm
0
0
i think it is the race game

i think it is the race game look at the black child in texas that 6yrs in prison for pushing a hall monitor and that child is black. race should not play a part in our justice system a person should be punished for the crime they have commited and the punishment should fit the crime. having these teachers out on bail is a disgrace. it is a license for them to molest someone else child.

brownskin30434
2
Points
brownskin30434 03/29/07 - 02:12 pm
0
0
37 year-old teacher plus my

37 year-old teacher plus my 11 year-old child equals me in jail for a very long time.
This is not a story about race. This is a story about a child, no matter what color being abused by an adult who has been placed in a position of authority.

Rather than spending time pontificating about what would have happened if the perpetrators have been Black males, maybe someone should spend some time trying to prevent this type of thing from happening. Maybe someone should come up with some type of training to help people identify individuals that are guilty of this type of crime.

RETTA01
0
Points
RETTA01 03/29/07 - 02:19 pm
0
0
You hit the nail on the head

You hit the nail on the head grace whitfield

APINGA
0
Points
APINGA 03/29/07 - 02:48 pm
0
0
I just want to know where

I just want to know where these Teachers where when I was in school......talk about getting a education

fedupcitizen
0
Points
fedupcitizen 03/29/07 - 03:09 pm
0
0
AMEN Grace. I agree 100%

AMEN Grace. I agree 100%

KingJames
11
Points
KingJames 03/29/07 - 03:25 pm
0
0
Grace you are right about

Grace you are right about that. An ounce of prevention is much better than a pound of cure. But, the only problem with trying to identify an individual that might be guilty of this type of crime is that one might cross the line into stereotyping and profiling. BOEs wouldn't be able to afford the lawsuits. What really needs to happen is that teachers and other adults in positions of authority should have so much fear of any questionable behavior that they are almost afraid to be left alone with a student. I learned quickly as supervisor in the Navy that I should always have someone of my paygrade, but opposite sex, with me when dealing with young sailors with problems. The same should apply to teachers when dealing with students on a one-on-one basis. There should always be another teacher of the same gender as the child there as a witness to the goings on. That way there will be no doubt that nothing happened. The parents should also play a role in any one-on-one sessions so they can better understand what is going on with their children.

justus4
120
Points
justus4 03/29/07 - 03:27 pm
0
0
Uninformed poor
Unpublished

Uninformed poor people...Whites have a poor history of equal justice and must be forced to do the right thing. They are unable to apply justice equally and the evidence is clear. The parents MUST contact their lawyer/US Rep. and have this decision reviewed. Whites can only be persuaded thru force; the judge is typical, in that, he is using his office to obstruct justice for the victims. Remember Medgar Evers, Goodman, Chaney, all killed by whites, with NO justice. This MUST not continue!

LynxRHot
0
Points
LynxRHot 03/29/07 - 03:30 pm
0
0
We can't be too careful these

We can't be too careful these days. As adults, we have to take every precaution necessary to guard our own lives as well as the lives of our children. Because of the evils in society, we have to cover our butts even when it seems unnecessary. For example, my husband will not allow other children to come inside our home to play with our children unless I am home. He takes every step necessary to insure that he is not put in a questionable situation. My father deals with individuals who need counseling, and he will not counsel a child or a female without the presence of another female. If teachers would take these same precautions, a lot of this sexual stuff would be eradicated.

KingJames
11
Points
KingJames 03/29/07 - 03:44 pm
0
0
Dwise99, it's not wise to say

Dwise99, it's not wise to say that everything is racially motivated, or that there will always be an automatic miscarriage of justice for whites while blacks are railroaded and treated harshly by prosecutors and judges. Everything doesn't simply come down to race, and to think so is racist. You do mention some good points about parental options in this case. Comparing this case to murders during the Civil Rights Movement, however is merely a misguided attempt to promote division among the races. As a young black man who has lived out of the south for quite sometime now, I can tell you that crime is the same everywhere you go. Punishments may vary, though. Although I don't agree with the decision to free these ladies, I think the judge set bail (not bond) pretty high. The fact that they paid it and got out was legally fair. Once again, I don't think it was morally fair that they are out. Everyone should really save their "race cards" for the verdict and sentencing. If these teachers walk away with a slap on the wrist, then you can cry about it not being fair because they are white. I will still say it was because they are women.

Curmudgeon
0
Points
Curmudgeon 03/29/07 - 03:47 pm
0
0
I'm not sure why anyone even

I'm not sure why anyone even brought up what would have happened had these been black male teachers and white female students. What an inflammatory and irrelevant thing to throw into the issue. It is still the female teacher thing. I think the racial issue here might end up being that these teachers do get a harsher punishment. These teachers keep getting off easy because the men making the decisions have their private teacher fantasies. However, I think these same men will resent the fact that two white women preferred their black male students to the white ones. Let's also give a nod to the concept of innocent until proven guilty. The reasons these teachers are out on bail is that they are not perceived as a flight risk or a danger to anyone. Bail is not punishment.

Back to Top
loading...
Search Augusta jobs