It is concerning that we even have to say this, but it is absolutely never okay for teachers to date their students. Even college professors dating their students is pretty not-okay. Yes, even teaching assistants at colleges and universities should not date students — though albeit that’s SLIGHTLY less taboo. While the age difference can certainly be problematic, the real problem is that the uneven power dynamic just makes any romantic/sexual relationship wholly inappropriate.
While it seems like this should be an obvious statement, TV shows continue to use storylines about students dating their teachers. Like, all the time. And terrifyingly, it is almost always a high school student dating their “hot” teacher. Yikes! No matter how hot this teacher might be, a schoolgirl crush is all that this should ever become. Why does television think it’s okay to continue showing young viewers this in 2017? No matter how “cute” the couple might look together (and it is confusing considering most of the actors are well into their twenties), we should not be acting like this is NDB!
16. Brooke Davis and Nick Chavez – One Tree Hill
When it comes to One Tree Hill, you know things are bad if Rachel Gatina has to be the voice of reason. Brooke met Nick online and – shocker – she lied about her age when they met in person at a bar. Double shocker – Nick wound up being her teacher the next day. That is, of course, after they had sex in a classroom the night before after Brooke claimed she *used* to be a cheerleader at that school.
Even though it is wildly inappropriate, they agree to keep seeing each other. Rachel winds up tricking the teacher into meeting with her privately so she can threaten him to break up with her friend or else she’d go to the principal and tell him what was going on. Nick doesn’t break up with Brooke because of that, in fact, she dumps him when she realizes that he cheated on her with one of the models from her fashion show. Literally, WHY?!
15. Miss Natalie French and Xander Harris – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
So, to be fair, Miss French was a literal predator. Unlike all the others on this list, she is actually a insect-like creature that lures her prey and she does the “hot teacher” act to get virgin men into her home. Creepy. Given the nature of what the characters deal with on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this is not out of the realm of weird things. Miss French, A.K.A She-Mantis, invites her male students over to her home hoping to reproduce, then kills them. The weird part is that no one raises their eyebrows at this attractive younger teacher asking her students back to her bachelorette pad for home lessons.
Xander is one of her targets and he’s excited about the prospect of ~getting intimiate~ with Miss French. Instead, She Mantis drugs him and attempts to literally mate with him before Buffy barges in, slays and saves the day. This relationship, though it only lasts one episode, is pretty bizarre.
14. Angie and Chris Miles – Skins
Skins is one of those shows that really pushes the line, but this time it went way past it. It’s not uncommon to see male high school students lust after their attractive, young teacher… which is exactly what happens when Angie becomes Chris and his friends’ psychology teacher.
Angie’s first mistake was going to a party with her students. But rather than reflect on her actions and decide that this kind of fraternization isn’t exactly the best idea, she has sex with him on a field trip to Russia. Naturally. Not only is she sleeping with her student, but Angie was engaged to another man, though she was separated during the Russia trip. There’s a lot of back and forth in this teacher-student duo: will they be together? Will they realize it’s actually so messed up? In the end, Angie winds up calling things off over voicemail… after getting Chris to cheat on his girlfriend. Lovely.
13. Pacey Witter and Tamara Jacobs – Dawson’s Creek
We’ll admit that we have a soft spot for Pacey, considering his parents weren’t around to guide him and teach him that any teacher who wants to date her high school sophomore student is a little disturbed. Tamara is 36 when she meets Pacey and finds herself immediately attracted to him, “for his maturity.”
She flirts with Pacey, then seems to get a conscience again for a little while, tries to ward him off after that, until ultimately giving in to their relationship. It’s not until Tamara is actually brought to court over the rumors about her having a relationship with a student that she decides to ends this tumultuous affair. And even then, Pacey lies to keep Tamara safe, rather than realizing he needs to be the one protected in this situation.
12. Joey Potter and Professor David Wilder – Dawson’s Creek
Dawson’s Creek clearly didn’t get enough of the teacher dating a student drama, they went for round two. This time it was Joey who got into the messy relationship! Basically, all of the girls at Joey’s college have a crush on Professor Wilder, but Joey just can’t keep up with his course. When she tries to drop it, he sees the “potential in her,” A.K.A. he’s into her. He pushes her to stay in the class and they grow closer in the process.
While it’s always nice to get a little extra help when you’re struggling with a class — a teacher shouldn’t only want to help a student one-on-one because he’s trying to sleep with her. The two start seeing each other and even though it is brief, and it all made us feel icky.
11. Paige Michalchuk and Matt Oleander – Degrassi: The Next Generation
On Degrassi: The Next Generation, they ran through just about every possible storyline, so it comes as no surprise that one of the students began dating a teacher. Just because Matt was a student teacher and not a full-blown one, doesn’t make it okay, BTW.
Paige and Matt had to go to great lengths to hide their relationship, seeing as it was illegal cause she’s a minor at the time. When Manny exposed the illicit affair, Matt tried to lie and say Paige was stalking him, but he eventually admits the truth. SOMEHOW, Paige wasn’t offended by this and began to publicly date Matt. He wound up dumping Paige, proving what we knew all along: this guy’s a creep.
10. Kelly Kapowski and Professor Jeremiah Lasky – Saved by the Bell
There were quite a few things wrong with this relationship, aside from the reason we’re all here today. Saved by the Bell: The College Years only lasted a season and this gross misconduct between a teacher and a student hopefully was part of the reason for that. Kelly began dating her anthropology professor Jeremiah Lasky, because no one could resist his charm. They kept their relationship a secret, which again, should have been a huge red flag.
When Zack catches them in the act, things get even messier! Jealous, because he couldn’t seem to let go of Kelly, Zack goes off and tells everyone about their secret. Not to help his friend, but to get back at her. Ugh.
9. Dan Humphrey and Rachel Carr – Gossip Girl
Can we discuss how this relationship is inappropriate for a much weirder reason than what we first think? Obviously, we dislike Rachel for dating a student. But what makes this one totally mind-screwing is the fact that Blair Waldorf goes to Gossip Girl to report the rumor that Rachel is dating a high school student, Dan Humphrey. Not to ruin it for those of you who didn’t catch the end of GG, but Dan IS Gossip Girl.
So, Dan went ahead and spread the rumor about himself. You can argue that he had to do it, or else Blair would have thought something was fishy with the gossip leak. But in reality, Dan probably wanted to get himself some points for looking “cool” by sleeping with a teacher, since that is a sad standard that people keep continuing on TV. One thing’s for certain: Rachel really shouldn’t have gotten on Blair’s bad side.
8. Serena Van der Woodsen and Ben Donovan – Gossip Girl
Serena Van der Woodsen was a bit troubled, especially on those first few seasons of Gossip Girl. It doesn’t help that she had a romantic relationship with an adult who should have been looking out for her best interests. We learn about Ben and Serena’s past when Serena goes to therapy. Their relationship took place when she was in boarding school, after being sent away.
Ben was her English teacher and they both had a mutual attraction but Ben doesn’t act on his feelings, even when Serena throws herself at him. However, rumors about them put Ben in a lot of trouble and he is sentenced to time in prison, though he doesn’t have to go on the sex offender registry. (We don’t think this actually happens IRL.)
Turns out, Serena’s mother was behind it all and even forged her daughter’s signature to put him behind bars. Once Serena found out the truth, she sought out Ben to apologize, and despite all of this, they actually start dating. WHY?! Gossip Girl was pretty absurd at times, but this storyline was truly ridiculous and almost insulting to viewers who were still keeping up with this damn show.
7. Ross Geller and Elizabeth Stevens – Friends
Ross was *literally* the worst on Friends. We’ll say it: He did not deserve Rachel in the end, but that is beside the point. What is really not right about Ross dating one of his students is that fact it stemmed from a teacher evaluation. One (immature) student felt it necessary to voice their admiration for Ross on paper. That was Elizabeth, a college student many, many years his junior. Just remember that episode where she and her friends are having a water gun right? Elizabeth was way too young for Ross. She was also way too laid back for uptight Professor Geller, but again — besides the point.
On top of the age difference, Ross made the relationship even more inappropriate when he tried to hold his early-20s girlfriend from normal experiences for people her age because he was made uncomfortable by them. When she went to Florida with her friends for Spring Break, he showed up (unannounced) to keep her from meeting guys her own age. That’s manipulative and it ain’t cool, people!
6. Taylor Townsend and Dean Jack Hess – The O.C.
As if a teacher sleeping with a student isn’t bad enough, a dean sleeping with a student is even worse. When Jack Hess came to Harbor High School, he was appointed dean and was meant to deal with the aftermath of the shooting. But it seems the man got a bit distracted after getting involved with a student.
His relationship with Taylor is inappropriate, given his position of power and her need for approval from a parental figure. Summer was the only one who realized what is going on between Taylor and Jack and at first, no one else believed her, not even Seth. Once Summer got evidence and sought out the help of one Mr. Sandy Cohen, she concocted a plan to get rid of the crooked dean of students. Rather than have this man humiliated for his actions, they let him leave to save his career. Probably to go to another school and be a complete perve with another student. What a shame.
5. Noah Puckerman and Shelby Corcoran – Glee
Who came up with this insane relationship? Did they need to make the reveal of Rachel’s biological mother that much more dramatic by having her get involved with one of Rachel’s fellow Glee members? After all of the Rachel drama, Shelby winds up adopting Puck and Quinn’s baby, Beth.
When she comes back to town, she lets Puck see Beth and the pair falls in love. They might sing songs to each other to try and ease audiences into it, but this whole thing is an absolute mess. Shelby seems to realize this, but of course, she sleeps with Puck before calling it quits. What complicated webs we weave.
4. Frank Rossitano and Lynn Onkman – 30 Rock
Now, this relationship goes to show how damaging a student sleeping with a teacher is in the long run. Frank is described as immature on the show, and he blames this on the fact he slept with his teacher when he was 14. The relationship messed him up and he never seemed to grow up after finish eighth grade. Lynn went to prison for her relationship with 14-year-old Frank, but when she is released, the two of them reunite. She calls him out for still acting like a child, so he tosses all of his toys in a deep fryer at her job to prove he’s ready to be an adult.
…And then they get together. What the hell?
3. Lip Gallagher and Helené Runyon – Shameless
If you are coming to Shameless for the moral compass, you might be in the wrong place. The show is incredible and every single insane storyline is why we keep going back for more. But it also shows us a perfect example of a really messed-up teacher-student relationship. When Lip thinks he is going to be kicked out of school, he, instead, is talked into giving Helené oral sex. The two start having a sexual relationship that leads to them having feelings for each other. But Helené is actually married, though her husband enjoys watching her have sex with other people. The twists keep coming!
Surprisingly enough, or not, the couple doesn’t break up due to the inappropriate nature of their relationship, but because Lip’x ex-girlfriend Mandy wants to get back at him and leaks a nude photo of Helené, which leads to her getting fired. THIS SHOW.
2. Archie Andrews and Miss Geraldine Grundy – Riverdale
Damn you, Archie, can’t you stay away from the drama for longer than five minutes? We know you’re not as interesting as Jughead, but sleeping with your teacher was not the way to make life more interesting. Especially considering you start your affair the summer after your freshman year in high school! Jeez!
As with most of the teachers on this list, Miss Grundy is young and attractive — much unlike the comic book character that she’s based on. Because she’s not that old, Archie seems to think that it’s totally okay to start sleeping with his teacher. The only reason he actually winds up telling anyone is that they happened to hear a gunshot the day that Jason Blossom went missing, and he had to clear his conscience of that. Typical Archie, TBH.
After Betty’s mom confronts Miss Grundy and they agree to let her leave town with her reputation unscathed, we, the audience, get to see that Geraldine wasn’t just a one-timer — she was an actual child predator. She used her good looks to lure teenage men into her web. But that didn’t turn out very well with the Black Hood, did it?
1. Ezra Fitz and Aria Montgomery – Pretty Little Liars
This relationship is Not Okay. Capital N. Capital O. It’s so sick. Ezra and Aria met in a bar (yeah, first red flag) where Aria pretended she was a college student. But of course, soon thereafter they see each other again — at Aria’s high school, where Ezra is a new teacher and she’s sitting at a desk in his classroom. They act on their feelings for each other, even though they are wildly inappropriate. Seeing as there are actual murderers on Pretty Little Liars, the writers must have thought a teacher and a student dating couldn’t be that bad, since as Mr. Fitz isn’t that much older than Aria. But IT IS.
To make matters worse, Ezra knew how old Aria was when they first met… because he was stalking her best friend Alison, and he went to that bar on purpose. Despite all of that, Ezra and Aria wind up together in the end and get married, ultimately trying to validate this messed up, really wrong relationship for all of their viewers. WTF.