Governor Murphy signed into law a a bill making it illegal for teachers, school bus drivers, and other supervisors to have sex with students even if they are over 18.

Under the new law, which takes effect immediately, "a teaching staff member or substitute teacher, school bus driver, other school employee, contracted service provider, or volunteer" would be guilty of a new second-degree crime if he sexually penetrates a student who is between 18 and 22-years-old and has not received a diploma." The bill apparently was designed to protect children with special needs, many of whom do not graduate until they after they turn 18.

While I can understand where they are coming from for minors, when it comes to those over 18, I couldn't disagree with this more. At what point in New Jersey is an adult an adult? If 18 is the legal age, then you should be able to make your own decisions about who you want to have sex with regardless of how you know them. They say the law is to protect those with special needs and while I can understand the sentiment, I ask if their rights are being compromised as well.

Now I'm not advocating that teachers and school workers start dating students, but once you're of legal age, where you can vote for who you want and are legally and criminally responsible for your actions, you should be able to make your own decisions as to who you want to have sex with.

Having said that, if you feel that a teacher or school worker is taking advantage, or assaulting you then there are laws that deal with that. I'm all for the sexual assault victims' bill of rights. But what if there's an actual solid relationship based on love?

There are young men and women who enter the education profession right out of college in their early 20s. You could be talking about as little as a 5-year difference in age. What if a school worker honestly fell in love with an adult student who hadn't graduated yet? What if they wanted to get married? He'd have to either quit his job that would one day be tenured with incredible job security to support a family or risk going to jail because the state of New Jersey doesn't think you should be a couple.

This law to me is just another decision that's being taken away from an 18-year-old "adult." If you're 18 in New Jersey, you can't drink, can't smoke and now they get to decide who you can have sex with.

I believe that if an 18-year-old is old enough to be considered an adult in the state of New Jersey, then they should be old enough to make their own decisions as to who they want to have sex with. If they feel the sex is not their decision, they we go to the laws that are in place for that.

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