What Is the Punishment for Teacher-Student Relationships?

Relationships between teachers and students are important, teachers are educators and mentors for teenage students in such vital stage in their lives. There are occasions when the relationship lines become blurred and misconduct takes place, changing both the teachers’ and students’ lives forever.

Student Teacher Sex Misconduct Involving Underage Students

According to many states, employees of public or private primary and secondary schools cannot engage in sexual contact and/or intercourse with a student – regardless of the student’s age. It is illegal. In California, student teacher sex law applies to employees that include security, cafeteria workers, office workers, and other faculty.

A teacher who is charged with misconduct could also be charged with other crimes which involve the minor. Crimes such as child pornography, sexual assault, and indecency with a child.
These additional charges mean additional punishments for the act, such as more years in prison and having to register as a sex offender.

Facing Penalties for Inappropriate Teacher-Student Relationships

It is a second-degree felony for a teacher to have improper relations or an inappropriate relationship with a student. The punishment for this felony is 2 to 20 years behind bars in prison, and a fine of $10,000 max.

Teachers will have to face other consequences after being convicted of a felony. Such consequences like having a permanent record will include:

  • Being required to register as a sex offender.
  • Losing the right to own a weapon, such as a firearm.
  • Losing their teaching license.
  • Losing their right to vote.
  • Being denied a visa, citizenship, or permanent residency.
  • Losing child custody and/or visitation rights.
  • Having a difficulty being able to find and obtain employment in the future.

Law Controversy

Concerned parents, individuals, and other groups have voiced their belief that student teacher relationship law concerning inappropriate teacher-student relationships can be taken advantage of far too easily. A student and a teacher close in age, for example, an 18-year-old student and a 23-year-old educator, can be in a relationship. If the two are in separate school districts, it would not be illegal.

State laws are designed to punish those who abuse their power, but the law has punished individuals that are both at least 18 years of age and who are in consenting relationships. A felony charge or conviction in these relationships has ruined relationships and affected the families and friends of those involved. The scandal and convictions, even after innocence has been proven, affect the lives and education careers of those involved.

Sexual Misconduct Accusation Defense

When being charged with sexual misconduct or any improper conduct with an underage student, or any other offenses, there are two possible defenses that can be brought up:

  • That the offender was married to the enrollee at the time of the offense.
  • That the offender was not more than 3 years older than the enrollee at the time in which the offense occurred and that both were in a relationship before the offender became an actual employee of the school.

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