By condoning the irresponsible actions of Forrest, even going so far as to say he “would be proud to walk my daughter down the aisle with the man she loves”, and voicing his wish to visit this man in prison, he shows a complete lack of regard not only for the law on the age of consent (designed to protect young girls from exploitation), but also for the other victims of this distasteful situation.
Forrest is, by his own family’s admission, profoundly emotionally immature. He has also proven himself to be irresponsible and exploitative, as his behaviour both before and after the exposure of his relationship with this girl shows.
He may be immature, but he had the ability to plan his escape with his teenage idoliser in meticulous detail, in his concern to evade justice, for what he knew full well was a breach of the law, as well as a breach of his responsibility as a teacher of young, impressionable pupils.
There is nothing more appealing to a man with a saviour complex than a vulnerable young person. Forrest should have sought help for his own emotional baggage before embarking on a teaching career, since he has quite plainly allowed himself to fall into the role of this girl’s protector and confidante because of his own issues with low self-esteem and emotional neediness.
These situations arise frequently in schools, but most teachers have the maturity to handle them correctly, always being mindful of the vulnerability of young people.
What the apologists for Forrest (his family, and the girl’s father) fail to acknowledge – believing as they apparently do that this relationship is all about “love” – and looking forward to a future wedding, is that this man already has a wife.
Broughty Ferry, Dundee