Bill addresses sex offenses in Florida schools

Bill with tougher penalties headed to governor

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - School employees and volunteers who commit sexual offenses against students would face tougher penalties under a bill being sent to Gov. Rick Scott.

The Senate passed the bill unanimously on Wednesday. The idea behind the legislation came from students at Armwood High School in Hillsborough County as part of the "It Ought to be a Law" competition.

The bill (HB 485) would enhance penalties by one degree if sexual offenses are committed by a school employee or volunteer against a student under the age of 18. For example, if an offense is normally a second-degree felony, it would become a first-degree felony.

The measure was sponsored by Republican Rep. Jake Raburn of Lithia and Sen. Kelli Stargel of Lakeland.

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