An Alabama Republican is backing off a bill he co-sponsored that would require educators to spend an hour every year being trained not to have sex with their students.
State Sen. Cam Ward was behind the Educator-Student Interaction Training Act until he was met with blowback from members of the Senate Education Policy Committee who found the idea ridiculous.
Committee Chairman Dick Brewbaker (R-Montgomery) abstained from voting on the bill and promised to do the same before the full Senate. Brewbaker, a former teacher, said the bill is insulting to teachers, according to Decatur Daily:
The whole thing is absurd. We’re to the point where we have to tell teachers to keep their hands off of students? I mean, come on.
I knew to leave the people in the little desks alone. Teachers who have inappropriate relations with students aren’t doing it because they don’t know it’s wrong.
If the bill were to have passed, it would require teachers to attend an hour of training each year covering "appropriate" and "inappropriate" interaction with students, including sexual or romantic, social media exchanges, meeting students outside of school, and the use of physical restraint in the classroom.
Ward is now stating that his intentions were not to make teachers "look bad" and said via Twitter: "I won't move bill any further. Thought I was helping educators who came to me. Won't do any further. My apologies."
As the New York Daily News notes, Alabama is distinguished as being the state with the highest level of sexual relations between teachers and students: "In the month since the bill was first introduced, at least one Alabama school worker was either arrested or convicted for having sex with a student each week."