Lawmaker Wants Felony Charges, Pension Cuts For Teachers Who Date Students

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A California lawmaker wants to ensure any high school teacher who engages in a romantic relationship with a student would face a felony charge even if the student is legally an adult.

KNX 1070’s Ron Kilgore reports the legislation stems from a romance between a 41-year-old Modesto teacher and his 18-year-old student.

Assembly Bill 1861, which was introduced by Rep. Kristin Olsen, would strip teachers of their pensions and retiree health care in addition to outlawing any dating situations regardless of age.

Known also as the Safe Student Act, the bill would make it a felony for a public school employee who begins an sexual relationship or who has excessive or inappropriate communication with a student of any age.

Olsen said she was shocked after learning that teacher James Hooker left his wife and children to move in with student Jordan Powers earlier this year — and even more startled to learn that there was no law on the books prohibiting such a relationship in California.

The two later insisted their relationship did not become sexual until Powers turned 18 years of age.

“Clearly teachers, principals, or other school employees at a school are in a position of influence and authority over their students, and it’s a violation of trust and a clear abuse of power to take advantage of that position and engage in a romantic relationship with a student,” said Olsen.

She said the bill is part of a package of proposals in response to allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct at Miramonte Elementary and other schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

More from Ron Kilgore
  • RICH

    i agree with this law for UNDERAGE students but once a person is 18> you can not and should not tell them whom they can be romantic with. if you outlaw a high school teacher from having a relationship with his/her adult student on the basis of ABUSE OF POWER and such bull then you may as well do the same for a college professor who does the same thing i mean comeon if you can’t date your high school teacher at age 18 why can you date the college professor at 18? it might be a breech of school rules i can live with that but making it a felony GET REAL

  • the voice of reason

    I agree with RICH. Once you’re an adult, it’s your own damn business…not the government’s.

  • John Fibgrove

    I agree with both of these comments, I understand the need to protect students and I agree with that. But as of now our laws state that at age 18 you are a legal adult.

    At 18 you are allowed to smoke, you are allowed to vote, you will be charged as an adult for crimes committed.

    So, at 18 you are not allowed to chose whom you date or form a relationship with?


    Pay attention to the ballot on Nov 6th and look out for Rep. Kristin Olsen. Don’t vote this person back into office!

  • sinking california

    if a student commit certains crimes at the age of 16/17…the DA will try them as and adult.
    so now ..when you are a grown person…someone one else wants to run your well. seems like shari laws american styles.

  • Pat

    What a totally useless law. It’s not a crime if the person is over 18. That person is now an adult. Now whether it is professional or not is another matter. Many companies have rules against dating co-workers, so maybe something like that is more appropriate. But certainly not a felony. Get real.

  • Mike

    I wish the politicians in Sacramento would spend their time and energy trying to tackle real problems. This is a huge waste of taxpayer money. The government needs to butt out of people’s personal lives once they are adults – period! If someone is legally an adult and they choose to make a bad decision – let them live with the consequences. That’s why they call the age of 18 the ‘age of emancipation’! Vote this self-righteous, unproductive person out of office.

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