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Legislature okays tougher penalties for teachers who seduce students

These days, the story is about Polk County's Jennifer Fichter. But perhaps the most notorious name among Florida teachers arrested for having sex with a student belongs to Hillsborough County's Debra Lafave.

Four students from Hillsborough's Armwood High School asked Florida lawmakers to increase the penalties for school workers who take advantage of the youths in their schools.

On Wednesday, the Legislature obliged, with the Senate unanimously approving the Stop Harassing Underage Teens Act. The bill, which already passed the House, would reclassify the level of sexual offenses "committed by an authority figure of a school against a student of the school." For instance, a first-degree felony would be reclassified to a life felony.

Students told First Coast News their goal is to keep kids safe.

"It's an amazing feeling because we as students obviously see that there's a problem. And if we see there's a problem as students in a public school, you know it must mean something that we're trying to get this done," said Elyse Chinowth, one of the Armwood students.

The bill now heads to Gov. Rick Scott.

Legislature okays tougher penalties for teachers who seduce students 04/30/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 11:49pm]
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