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Home » Criminal Law » Alabama Establishes Bill To Remind Teachers Not To Have Sex With Their Students

Alabama Establishes Bill To Remind Teachers Not To Have Sex With Their Students

A smiling teacher writes "I will not have sex with my students" repeatedly on a chalkboard.Alabama lawmakers are working on a bill geared toward ensuring that teachers know not to engage in inappropriate relations with students. Before delving into the implications of what’s being popularly interpreted as a “Hey Teachers! Don’t Have Sex With Students!” bill, it seems important to address the probable background of this story and others like it.

Sometimes I wonder if we underestimate the impact that social media — and really, the internet in general — has had on humanity. By “we” I do mean everybody, in America and everywhere else, because ONE of the major consequences of the internet’s presence in society is an increasingly hypersensitive awareness of… well, everything.

But it’s not just the internet on its own. The smartphone revolution is still in an infant stage, yet already its effects are palpable. Nowadays, a whole lot of people are walking around with magic little boxes in their pockets. Has there been any other point in human history when society at large had limitless information at its fingertips, as well as the power to communicate across vast distances, and record video of anything at a moment’s notice? Don’t forget all that other stuff our smartphones (and laptops and tablets) can do.

Thinking about these kinds of things is certainly a rabbit hole, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be considered. The unprecedented state of today’s social atmosphere might offer clues as to why ideas that seem like common-sense (such as teachers not having inappropriate interactions with students) are all of a sudden being addressed as though their sense isn’t common at all.

Without Further Ado: Senate Bill 274

The primary goal of the newly proposed Senate Bill 274 is to establish and enforce a training program, which would become mandatory for all teachers in the state of Alabama. The name of this program pretty much speaks for itself: the “Educator-Student Interaction Training Act.”

What it boils down to is an hour-long training session that teachers would be required to attend on an annual basis. If Senate Bill 274 passes, the Educator-Student Interaction Training Act would go into effect during the 2016-2017 school year.

Here’s what the prospective program would address:

  • Sexuality and romance between teachers and their students;
  • Appropriate use of physical restraint (of students, on behalf of teachers);
  • Interactions and relationships between students and teachers on social media;
  • Any communication or interactions that take place outside the school environment.

I don’t think there’s any argument against the importance of these issues — but that’s not to say that all Alabama educators and lawmakers are “on board” with the new bill. One committee chairman in the Senate Education Policy Committee, Dick Brewbaker, was once a teacher himself and believes that the proposed legislation is an insult to teachers:

“The whole thing is absurd. We’re to the point where we have to tell teachers to keep their hands off of students? I mean, come on. […] Teachers who have inappropriate relations with students aren’t doing it because they don’t know it’s wrong.”

Even so, Brewbaker also admitted that there is some signifcance to the apparent increase of inappropriate student-teacher relationships in recent years. Key word — “apparent.” While Brewbaker is certainly not denying that more incidents have been reported, he seems doubtful that this information should be taken at face value:

“There are a lot of things in society that we used to not have to worry about that we do now… technology has changed. It’s just the times we live in.”

Basically, Brewbaker is wondering whether the increase in reports of inappropriate student-teacher relationships is due to the fact that there has actually been an increase in such interactions, or if there are just more reports because technology has allowed us to give them more attention. Don’t assume this means he’s shrugging it off, though — “either way, it isn’t good.”

So, What To Expect?

There’s really no telling, honestly. Senate Bill 274 hasn’t been passed, yet, but it has cleared it’s first hurdle in the Senate Education Policy Committee. And while some members weren’t entirely sold on the idea, like Dick Brewbaker, there was enough approval for it to pass.

And honestly, there doesn’t seem to be too much at stake here, if the bill is approved. What seems to be most at risk is the time and dignity of educators who would be required to fulfill the obligations of Educator-Student Interaction Training Act. One hour out of an entire year of hours might not appear to be a big deal at first, but I’ve got a feeling that this isn’t the only training that teachers are required to do regularly. Assuming that the lessons of this training are, in fact, common-sense to most educators, there’s probably a solid argument against adding more tedium to an already tedious, difficult, and often thankless job.

All in all, it’s an awkward crossroads for everyone involved. Certainly victims of inappropriate teacher-student relationships, not to mention their families, will continue to call upon Alabama’s education system to take some sort of action. But the question remains: does Senate Bill 274 address the core of the issue, or does it, with the best of intentions, distract from it?

Dealing With Inappropriate Teacher-Student Interactions

All the laws in all the world won’t stop bad people from behaving badly. Regardless of whether Senate Bill 274 passes, or is effective in addressing the issue of inappropriate teacher-student relationships if it does, those willing to disregard the law are not going to disappear off the face of the earth. And if you or a loved one winds up dealing with these types of issues, it’s important to know how to respond constructively.

One thing that should never be underrated is the significance of legal representation. Without a decent attorney, even the undeniably innocent run the risk of facing disaster in the courtroom. Many an undeserving victory has been celebrated by a bad person with a good lawyer.

At Turner Law Offices, P.C., our team of attorneys has years of experience working with clients across a wide range of cases related to statutory relationships and sexual abuse — whether between educators and students, or anyone else. The sooner you seek representation and take action, the better your chances of achieving a satisfactory resolution, so don’t wait! Call today, or go online to set up your free initial consultation, and meet with a skilled lawyer who’s ready and waiting to guide you toward the justice you deserve.

(615) 259-2660

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