Date a student, lose pension?
March 27, 2012
Teachers who get involved in relationships with high school students, even those 18 and over, would be stripped of their retirement benefits if a bill introduced by a Modesto lawmaker succeeds. [SacramentoBee]
Republican Assemblywoman Kristen Olsen introduced the legislation after learning of a 41-year-old teacher, James Hooker, who moved in with an 18-year-old woman who had been his student. Olsen called it “appalling” that current law provides no recourse against teachers who cultivate love relationships with students.
“My point is, whether you’re 18, 17 or 14, the fact remains that a teacher is in a position of authority and influence over that student, and therefore, it is highly inappropriate,” said Olsen. Her bill is expected to debut next week.
In 2010, San Miquel Superintendent Dean Smith agreed to resign rather than face termination for an inappropriate relationship with a former student who had his child not long after turning 18-years-old. An investigation discovered that Smith had utilized his position as an administrator to develop a relationship with a former student. The couple left the area after Smith’s resignation.
Pension and other retirement benefits could be stripped from a teacher following an administrative process, said Olsen. She said she is considering felony sanctions in cases where teachers romance students, even if the student has reached the age of 18.
She called her bill “a pretty strong and painful deterrent.”