A school, or any educational institute for that matter, is traditionally, ideally, supposed to be a place where you can send your kids with a certain peace of mind, and feel safe in the process. Certainly, every parent wishes that their children would be educated – learn about the ways of life, learn how to forge successful careers, and how to be responsible, civilized human beings.
The reality however, often proves to be drastically and tragically different, particularly in modern times. The disturbing rise in the number of school shootings is but one example of how things go wrong where they never should, as attested by 28 such incidents having taken place by the end of May 2014 alone, resulting in 16 deaths and 34 people being injured.
The Kathryn Ronk Alert
There are significant other dangers present at modern day schools too, as highlighted by Kathryn Ronk, a Spanish teacher at the Bishop Foley High School, who followed in the footsteps of the now infamous Mary Kay Letourneau and Debra Lafave. On June 25, the 29 year old teacher was charged with five counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct, after the police alleged that she had engaged in ‘multiple acts of sexual penetration with a 15 year old student.’
The Story Unfolds
The Madison Heights Police Department first began investigating Ronk after the student’s parents filed a complaint, with the cooperation of school president Rev. Gerry LeBoeuf, on May 16. According to the police, the teacher-student affair began in January and lasted until April, and included other sexual acts in addition to sexual intercourse. Some of these encounters allegedly took place inside Ronk’s classroom, both during breaks and at the end of the formal school day.
Following the complaint, Ronk was terminated from her position at the school, a position she had occupied since August, 2013 while even her name was removed from the school website. On 30th June, 2014, Ronk was charged with one additional count of furnishing alcohol to a minor, one count of possession of sexually abusive material featuring a child, and three counts of first degree sexual conduct.
The Repercussions of the Case
Ronk, married since 2011 with no children, was released from police custody on 25th June, after having posted $50,000 of her $500,000 bail. She was ordered by the court to wear an ankle GPS tether however, and is due to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on 9th July.
However, regardless of the case’s outcome, the repercussions of such incidents are highly disconcerting, and should be treated with the utmost severity. For consider the effects that events like these can have, not just upon the people involved, but on the community, and on the country at large. First, there is the young victim and his family, and the trauma they have suffered, and must continue to suffer through the case proceedings.
Secondly, there’s the impact of such news on the school, its faculty, and on the other students. Young students should not ideally be exposed to something like this, and it is certainly not something parents expect when they send their children to school.
Lastly, there’s the trauma, the embarrassment, and the humiliation that Kathryn Ronk herself, and her family must undergo. Her name and pictures have been plastered across the pages of every newspaper and tabloid, while some websites have even extracted and posted pictures from her Facebook. Furthermore, it would be safe to assume that she will never be employed as a teacher again, and it would be a miracle if her marriage somehow survived such scandal.