Peoria, Ill — Raymond Teller, a 59-year-old teacher at Oak Hills Middle School, requires his fourth-period English class to study a play that praises statutory rape, according to several students.
The play, which students say was written in England nearly a thousand years ago, is about a man who sleeps with a 13-year-old girl from a rival family.
While Teller was previously thought to be a normal, even cool teacher, his reputation has undergone a rapid transformation. Students now believe he’s just a sick old pervert.
“He said we’re supposed to relate to the adolescent victim and greasy rapist in the play,” said Ashley Morgan, 14, who moved to Illinois from Florida last year. “Is Mr. Teller out of his freaking mind? If I start going out with a 23-year-old dude, the cops will lock him up, if my dad doesn’t get to him first — even if the dude does speak in iambic pentameter.”
What is most alarming was Teller’s announcement last week that for extra credit, students could dress up as the play’s titular couple and perform scenes in front of the class.
At least half a dozen students think they should report Teller to the principal, while some think they should directly inform the police. Only one student believes Teller should be left alone.
“He’s just a horny old kook a couple years from retirement, so leave him be,” said Brian Franck, 15, who has openly wondered if Teller will let them watch a 1968 film version of the play that is rumored to have a topless sex scene.
It is largely expected that if the students ever get around to reading the whole play, they will also object to the violent murders written into the story, and in particular to the romanticized suicide in the final act.