Sen. Jones: teachers should not be allowed to take advantage of students

LANSING — A loophole in state law allows unscrupulous teachers to take advantage of students, said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

“Students, no matter their age, are under the care and custody of their teachers and administrators,” Jones said. “There should never be fear that when a student attends school, they are in danger of being taken advantage of by someone with authority. Teachers are in positions of trust and that trust should be held sacred.”

Last December year a 28-year-old male Ionia High School teacher took a student to a Kalamazoo hotel for sex the day after her 18th birthday. Despite being 18, the student was not set to graduate until June 2011.

An investigation was conducted by the Michigan State Police, but the Ionia County prosecutor is unable to prosecute because the victim was one day past her 18th birthday, even though she was a student.

Jones has requested legislation that would make sex between a student (regardless of age) and a teacher, substitute teacher or administrator at the school where the student is enrolled a second degree Criminal Sexual Conduct offense.

According to Jones, everyone who hears about the situation is flabbergasted that the prosecutor is unable to prosecute the teacher.

“As a parent and a former sheriff, I’m outraged this teacher willfully broke that sacred trust with a student,” Jones said. “I’m working hard to change Michigan law and ensure this type of behavior will not go unpunished again.”