Bill would make sex between teacher, student a felony

COLUMBIA - South Carolina teachers who have sex with students 16 and older could be sent to prison for up to 10 years under a bill set for debate.

The proposal would make it a felony for any school employee in a supervisory role to have sex with older students. Currently, teens can legally consent at age 16.

The bill by Republican Sen. Greg Ryberg of Aiken was to be discussed today by a Senate panel.

State schools Superintendent Jim Rex has pushed for tougher penalties against school employees who sexually abuse students. He has said that such cases represent a tiny fraction of the state's teachers but that any incident is an outrage.

A similar bill failed last year as House and Senate members couldn't agree on their different versions before the session ended.

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