Teachers, ACLU Fight Bill To Criminalize Teacher Sex With Students

Teachers' unions and the ACLU opposed legislation to criminalize sex with students 14 to 18 for education employees.

Providence, RI – Teachers unions and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are opposing legislation that would criminalize sex between school employees and students between the age of 14 and 18.

The age of consent is 16 in Rhode Island, according to the Providence Journal.

Rhode Island House Bill 5817 applies to any school employee, including bus drivers, vendors and school volunteers, who have supervisory authority over students.

Under the new law, those people would be charged with third-degree sexual assault if they engaged in sex with a student between the ages of 14 and 18.

Current state law says the charge of having sex with a child under the age of 14 is first-degree child molestation sexual assault, according to the Providence Journal.

While engaging in sex with a minor child is generally a fireable offense for a teachers in Rhode Island, it is not a crime if the student has reached the age of consent, the New Boston Post reported.

That means that a teacher fired for having sex with a 16-year-old student can simply move elsewhere and get another job teaching, Erika Sanzi, an education advocate and blogger, told the Providence Journal.

“The deterrent is, yes, they can be fired, but that means they can jump to anywhere else in the country and get another job preying on kids,” Sanzi said.

But the state’s two teachers’ unions and the ACLU are calling the bill unfair for singling out teachers and school employees.

The Rhode Island Federation of Teachers (RIFT) has objected to the bill because it criminalizes sexual misconduct by teachers and other school employees and doesn’t address all the other career fields that interact with juveniles, the Providence Journal reported.

“You should include all the adults who have employment or other types of authority over 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds,” James Parisi, a lobbyist for RIFT, wrote. “For example, why is a legislator having sexual relations with a page not included in the bill? What about store managers, athletic coaches, clergy and volunteers in community organizations?”

The bill’s sponsor, Rhode Island Democratic State Representative Alex Marszalkowski, said that only education employees were covered by the bill because children are forced to go to school and should be protected from sexual exploitation while they’re there, the Providence Journal reported.

The Rhode Island ACLU called “singling out teachers, school bus drivers, etc. … arbitrary and capricious” in its written testimony on the bill.

The group also worried that the legislation targeting school volunteers, citing the example of a volunteer coach who could be close in age to their students, according to the Providence Journal.

“While one may disagree whether this type of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ conduct is appropriate... it should not be a felony,” the ACLU wrote.

Marszalkowski said he’s willing to consider an amendment that would broaden who is included under the law, the Providence Journal reported.

“I welcome any criticism,” he said. “If there is a way to amend it so it’s more broadly defined but passes constitutional muster, I’m willing to do it.”

Comments (14)
No. 1-13
Thinblueline
Thinblueline

Makes sense....not!!

JBo
JBo

No surprise here...ACLU and teachers union.

From the opensecrets.com website list of Top Organization Contributors in 2018…

National Education Assn. Democrat/Liberal: $20,359,773 (98.7%) Republican/Conservative: $261,788 (1.3%)

American Federation of Teachers Democrat/Liberal: $19,981,092 (99.8%) Republican/Conservative: $6,500 (0.02%)

cspcapt
cspcapt

New slogan for teacher's union in RI A lay for an A

Browndog
Browndog

My God! This is just disgusting how they can figure out who gets to screw your children and at what age without your consent.

See what happens when you legislate God out of the schools and let the government take control of your kids "education"?

Trefflek
Trefflek

They probably feel they would lose way to many teachers if they pass this law. Heck they might lose union official

Gramercy
Gramercy

Charge the perpetrators! As custodial caregivers of our youth, counsellors for their concerns....and they want to violate them physically??? STOP! CHARGE!

vada
vada

Statutory Rape... If they negate that for teachers, how about the rest of the population?

retiredcop
retiredcop

I think they could revise this bill to make it more inclusive by stating those people in a caretaking role and define what a caretaking role is.

Bld54
Bld54

Do like they did in Utah. It's illegal to engage in sexual relations with a minor who is more than two years younger than you. This eliminates age of consent and exploitation by older teens or adults.

Skidoo
Skidoo

This comes as no surprise. Liberal teachers and the film industry have been sexualizing our kids for years and want to reap the bounty of their labors. Protect your kids, teach them why barriers between adults and children are necessary.

Stanracer
Stanracer

Isn't there already laws against entitled millenial female teachers sexually abusing students. If there isn't, there sure should be. This epidemic needs to be stopped.

RmdGRD
RmdGRD

The teachers and ACLU are truly missing the point, and they should be singled out. They're in a position of authority over them. It is the same as a jailer having sex with an inmate, they're in the position of authority over the prisoners. Hard to believe anyone would defend the teachers in something like this. Predators that teach have a captured audience. Here the law applies until the kid is 19, even though the age of consent in Mississippi is 16 years old also. Next these liberals will try to have it completely dismissed even is the child is 6 years old. What is the United States coming to?

HAWAIIBLUE
HAWAIIBLUE

Wtf? Why is this even an issue? “Singled out?” Is the excuse they are really using here? Does it even have to be spelled out? On a moral and ethical level, they have the nerve to argue on a play of words? It’s just enabling these teachers to take advantage of their students. What message are we sending to our children and society?