State Senator Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) has taken an important step in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Illinois students by filing legislation aimed at preventing inappropriate relationships between teachers and students.
Senate Bill 2823 makes it illegal for any teacher to engage in sexual activity, whether consensual or nonconsensual, with a high school student even if that student is 18 or older.
“It is our responsibility to create an educational environment that protects students from potential harm and fosters trust,” said Sen. Bryant. “Individuals with custodial authority in other areas of work, like corrections, face criminal charges for the abuse of that authority, no matter the age of the victim. The same should apply in our school system.”
Senate Bill 2823 builds upon existing Illinois law to further protect students from potential abuse of power. Teachers who violate the proposed law would face a Class 3 felony for their first offense and a Class 2 felony for subsequent offenses or if multiple victims are involved. Additionally, Senate Bill 2823 mandates the inclusion of individuals who violate the law in both the sexual predator and sex offender database, ensuring public awareness and continued monitoring.
“This legislation sends a clear message that any inappropriate relationship between a teacher and student will not be tolerated,” continued Sen. Bryant.
The initial idea behind this legislation came from Sen. Bryant’s Youth Advisory Council, which is made up of local high school students throughout the 58th Senate District. During the Senator’s fall Youth Advisory Council meeting, the students proposed the creation of legislation meant to stop inappropriate relationships between teachers and students, regardless the age of the student.