Teachers are in unique positions of leadership and influence. Because of this, there are a number of precautions that are taken to ensure the safety of children in their care. While the focus of safety may be on young elementary school children, the safety of high school children is equally as important.
Given this backdrop, teachers accused of inappropriate relationships with students may experience a great deal of turmoil in their lives even before they are charged with a crime. It is not unusual for teachers in these situations to be reassigned to non child-facing positions or to be placed on administrative leave.
Aside from the professional upheaval, teachers accused of having such relationships face severe criminal consequences. Under Michigan law, it is a crime for a public (or private) school teacher to have sexual contact with a student. Specifically, teachers are not allowed to have sexual relationships with any student who has not reached the age of majority (age 18). If a teacher breaks the law in this regard, he or she could be charged with criminal sexual conduct (CSC).
There are varying degrees of CSC depending on the unique circumstances involved. For instance, if the child victim is under 16 years of age, the teacher involved could be charged with first degree criminal sexual conduct.
As we have noted before, those accused of sex crimes may, through no fault of their own, have to prove themselves innocent instead of the state proving them guilty. This is why it is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend accusations of inappropriate relationships with students.