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Why are student-teacher affairs illegal even when the student is over the age of consent?

I heard a story today about a teacher who was arrested for having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student. The age of consent in my state is 16. That should be legal given that the male student was over the age of consent, and therefore can make that decision. Why is that illegal, and if it is, what's the point of having an age of consent if it isn't applied equally?

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