Republican Senator Greg Ryberg of Aiken says he is pleased with the recent passage of his bill to make it a felonious act for a school employee to have sexual relations with a student who is 16 years of age or older. Ryberg says that though a student is legally of the age of sexual consent, it should be illegal for someone in a position of authority at that student’s school to use that authority to persuade the student to consent to sex. “I know of no parent that believes a sexual relationship between a teacher and a student is consensual, regardless of the age of the student,” said Ryberg.
He says this bill is to protect students from predatory teachers. “Many times, if the sexual act does occur, it’s because of the intimidation of a person in a position of authority intimidating a student!,” said Ryberg.”It protects the students of our schools and if we’re not about the safety of our children, you know, we’ve made a gross error.”
Ryberg thanked Senator Brad Hutto of Orangeburg and Senator Glenn McConnell of Charleston for helping move the bill to passage.
Senator Ryberg explains the punishment his bill outlines for a teacher who is having sex with a student the teacher is directly responsible for. “The bill is, if the teacher has sex with a student, there are prison penalties involved.
“If they’re over 18 and it’s a direct report felony, that being a person the teacher has had some supervisory or teaching responsibility for, that would be a felony.”
Having sex with a student the teacher is not directly responsible for is still a misdemeanor and can carry jail time, according to Ryberg.
The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.