Saturday, December 26, 2009

Amanda Duboise Watkins - "girlinterrupted"

Amanda Duboise Watkins' Facebook address is girlinterrupted1. The 38 year-old Watkins was certainly interrupted last Saturday night when she was found having sex with a 15 year-old male. Watkins is, or perhaps more correctly was, a teacher at Sheffield Junior High School; her male companion had been her student the previous year. What would possess an attractive married woman with multiple degrees, not to mention a young daughter, to risk everything for a few moments of sexual passion with someone who's hardly more than a child? While many apparently see humor in this, it is no different than an older man taking advantage of a younger female student. These relationships are taboo for a reason, but are seemingly becoming more and more commonplace. Could anyone have foreseen this kind of deviant behavior from Watkins?

Amanda Duboise is a native of Phil Campbell in Franklin County. After graduation from high school, she attended Northwest Shoals Community College before advancing to the University of North Alabama where she met her husband Carter Watkins (pictured), a Florence native who graduated from Hibbett Middle and Coffee High Schools. Carter Watkins also majored in journalism and is currently employed as WHNT's Chief Photographer for the Shoals Bureau. Together, Carter and Amanda reside in Forest Hills with their daughter Grace Anne and dog Toto.

Perhaps their marriage looked idyllic only from the outside. Sheffield Superintendent Richard Gardner reported that he had spoken with Watkins over an incident two years ago. Gardner did not specify the exact nature of the problem, but did state that it was not sexual in nature. Now Amanda Duboise Watkins has been released from the Muscle Shoals Jail on $15,000.00 bond, while also having been placed on paid administrative leave at Sheffield Junior High.

Photos of Watkins show her wearing a cross; she lists her favorite Bible verse as "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength;" two of her Facebook organizations are I Love Jesus and I'm Proud to be a Christian. Here, in her own words, is the vision Amanda Duboise Watkins had of herself:

Before entering the world of education, I worked as a reporter and freelance writer. My original degree from the University of North Alabama was in journalism. I have always loved reading and writing. I worked as a freelance reporter for the Times Daily, a staff writer for the Franklin County Times and wrote various freelance articles for a few magazines. I even worked at WVNA Radio in Tuscumbia. I decided to go back to obtain my masters after the birth of my daughter. It is a decision that changed my life. I absolutely love what I do. Today's young people are our future. We need to do all we can to make a positive impact on their lives and their educational experience. Every student has his/her own unique talents and abilities. Teaching allows me to help students make those discoveries or further develop ones they have already uncovered for themselves. Helen Keller once said, "Its a terrible thing to see and have no vision."

Now, unless offered a plea, Watkins will be branded a sex offender and never teach school again. She also may be required to serve time in prison. Her family deserved more, and certainly the young man she seduced deserved and expected more, as did his family. Teacher sex is a crime--a crime no less serious because the offender may manage to plead to a lesser offense. If our children aren't safe at school, how can we expect them to be safe anywhere?