To the left is Jeremy Forrest, a married thirty year old Maths teacher from Sussex in England and to the right is Megan Stammers, a fifteen year old pupil at the same Eastbourne school where Forrest once worked. But he will never work there again.
Effectively, he has abducted vulnerable Megan - even though it seems she went willingly with the fellow who gave her extra coaching in Maths before the summer holidays. They were seen holding hands on a cross-channel ferry last Thursday night and may still be somewhere in France together. Appeals have gone out but so far nothing has been heard of the pair apart from a phone call that Megan made to a friend to say that everything was okay.
But everything is not okay is it? Megan is still a minor, a child and Forrest is an adult - actually not just a man in the street but someone who was in the responsible position of educating other people's children. It was Maths he was meant to be focussing on not the possibilty of stealing away a gullible teenage girl from a broken home - a girl who no doubt harbours starry-eyed notions of love and romance.
I just hope that this story does not have a disastrous ending and that Forrest is duly arrested and Megan gets home safely.
As a teacher myself, there was always an invisible forcefield between me and the possibility of "special" attachments with any of my pupils. It was a line I could never cross even though through the years I taught many lovely girls - some of them eighteen year old sixth formers when I was still in my mid twenties. I knew I was at work, not at a nightclub and I also knew that some teenage girls will swoon about young men in authority - developing crushes and I wasn't about to take advantage of my position . I was there to teach them.
At one Sheffield school, the O level and CSE exams had just finished and there was a knock on the staffroom door. Muriel Stonehewer went to open it. "Two young ladies want a word Mr Pudding," said Muriel.
I went to the door to find two Year 11 girls who had been in my English class. The first girl - I can't remember her name - had brought me a small box of chocolates as a thank you gift. She said, "Ann Marie wants a word sir but you know she's shy." Ann Marie was a quiet dark-haired girl, quite pretty and she had always got on well with the tasks I had set. She was quite good at English.
"What is it Ann Marie?" I asked.
It was then that Ann Marie lunged at me. I was caught off guard and slightly lost my balance as she snogged my face - in that moment releasing a torrent of pent up teenage frustration. I managed to push her away, no doubt blushing like a ripe beetroot. It was hard to know what to say but Ann Marie gasped, "I love you sir! I've always loved you!"
"...But I'm a teacher Ann Marie! I - I can't have anything to do with you! Not like that!" I garbled before retreating to the staffroom where Auntie Muriel was most curious about what had just happened. Fortunately Mrs Stonehewer and I were on good terms - she was my "head of year" and she was level-headed. She knew exactly how some teenage girls can be with male teachers. and reassured me that everything would be all right. And I never saw Ann Marie again.
Of course, Forrest should have pushed Megan away too. Teaching isn't just about the delivery of information and the honing of skills. There are people in the equation and psycho-emotional human dynamics at play but the bottom line is that "we" are responsible adults, paid to do a job and "they" are just children entrusted to us by their parents - they are in our care simply to learn and ultimately to get through exams. It appears that Forrest couldn't see the wood for the trees and has taken advantage of a child who should have been able to trust him. As I say, let's hope she's okay and gets home safely.