Almot 50% of the poll says they shouldn't be punished. Seriously, wtf is wrong with you guys? Oh, because the kid enjoyed it/knew what he was doing/wasn't harmed/etc. that means they shouldn't be punished?
Yea, but if a male teacher was hooking up with a 16 year old girl, there'd be a [metaphorical] lynch mob out to get him, because he's a pervert who's abusing his position of power of the victim.
I'm a guy, and yea sure, if I had an experience like that, I'd probably be jumping for joy. But regardless, there are laws and they're there for a reason. It's horribly unfair that if a young male hooks up with teachers, the reaction is "lucky kid" for the student and sympathy for "making a mistake" or "having a lapse of judgment" for the teacher/s....and the teachers never ever get prison time either. They'll get fired, do a little community service, and then their name is forgotten in the community.
Reverse the genders, making it a female student and a male teacher, but with the same amount of consent between parties, and the student is now a "victim" who's been "traumatized" by a "horrible man", and for the male, he abused his power to take advantage of a "little girl" and you better believe the word "rape" is gonna get tossed around, heavily. The guy's life will be ruined, if he somehow manages to avoid jail time. Probably not, though, cause even the accusation of not only "rape" but "child molestation" (which would also be tossed around heavily) will earn him the ire of people's attention, before any investigation even begins.
If I was 16, would I wanna bang a hot teacher? Yea. But You have to be completely objective when it comes to enforcing the law. People's lives are affected here. And the fact that males teachers would get the shit end of the stick while female teachers get a slap on the wrist is disgusting to me. Treat everything equal.
edit: think of it this way. Guys who are thinking the teachers shouldn't be punished; how many times have you been to a mall or some other social area and thought to yourself "I wish girls were like that when I was that age" or something of that nature? Would you then try to flirt with her, take her out, and eventually have sex with her? No? Case closed.