SACRAMENTO - Today, Assembly Bill 1861 by Assemblymember Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto, to deter inappropriate teacher-student relationships and stop predators in schools was killed by the Assembly Public Safety Committee.
Olsen's bill would have made it a felony for a teacher to have a romantic relationship with a student at the same school, regardless of the student's age. Additionally, teachers convicted of a work-related felony would have lost their pensions.
"Today's vote is a win for predators and union bosses, and a loss for parents and students," said Olsen. "We need to do everything we can to protect our children, and to ensure schools are a safe and secure learning environment. AB 1861 would have been a strong deterrent for those who would take advantage of their position of authority, and engage in a romantic relationship with a student."
Recent cases at Enochs High School in Modesto and at Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles, have highlighted the growing problem of teachers, administrators, or other school employees engaging in sexual acts, relations or inappropriate communications with their students.
Tammie Powers, mother of a Modesto student who was taken advantage of by her high school teacher, testified in support of AB 1861.
"This bill is not a knee-jerk reaction to a sensationalized case," said Powers. "This bill is an afterthought that would bring California up to date with the many other states that already have similar laws on the books. Today's vote may be a setback, but I will continue fighting to make sure schools are safe from predators."