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Joint House Bills Hold High School Teachers Accountable For Sexual Conduct With Students

Thomas Favre-Bulle
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The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
classroom.jpg
Credit Thomas Favre-Bulle / flickr.com/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/
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The Florida Channel

Two bills in the house would hold high school teachers accountable for sexual offenses against adult students. Current Florida law cannot prosecute a school authority figure who has a relationship with a student who is 18 or older. House Bill 515 makes such relationships second-degree felonies, while House Bill 1391 ensures school districts monitor offenders.  Rep. Amber Mariano (R-Port Richey), a sponsor of the bill, says this issue hits close to home.

“Last summer, a high school resource officer at my high school was fired for inappropriate text messages and conduct with students from that school. The investigation revealed he was using law enforcement databases to target high school students 18 years or older. Because the students were not minors, law enforcement wasn’t able to charge him with a crime for his sexual conduct with the adult students. This bill would fix that problem,” Mariano says.

Both bills have passed their second committee. 

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Andrew Quintana is a senior at Florida State University pursuing degrees in Communication Studies and Editing, Writing, & Media. Before entering WFSU's newsroom, Andrew worked with V89 Radio's News and Continuity department and interned as a staff writer for Haute Living Magazine. He enjoys Razzie nominated films and collects vinyls that are perfect for ultimate frisbee. Follow Andrew Quintana on Twitter: @AndrewLQuintana